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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, April 11

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Restaurant Mon Aug 13 2007

Hacking the Menu

That there are "secret" menu items and other "menu hacks" at fast food joints and chains is pretty common knowledge now — but what about stand-alone restaurants? At a recent outing with friends, we discovered that the Daily Bar & Grill will substitute its tasty tater tots for the tortilla chips in their excellent nachos. Deeelicous, to say the least.

What secret menu hacks have you come across at local restaurants?

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Jamie / August 13, 2007 12:13 PM

At Jury's their standard chicken breast sandwich comes with rosemary sauce. They will do a BBQ chicken breast sandwich on request.

Jessica / August 13, 2007 12:20 PM

Also on the tater tot note, tater tots aren't on the menu at Hot Doug's (other than as part of the kids' meal), but you can order them for the same price as fries. I know there are lots of fans of Doug's fries, but I'm not one of them, and I was thrilled to discover I could get tater tots with my meals instead.

cliff / August 13, 2007 12:34 PM

One Saturday at Hot Doug's I asked if I could get "Duck Tot's" instead of the "Duck Frites". Unfortunately, he shot me down due to "the cost of the duck fat and the way we have to keep changing it out..." or some other nonsense.

But I still wonder how those tots would've tasted in that decadent rendered duck fat...

I bet if enough of us kept asking for it, he might accomodate us.

Fuzzy / August 13, 2007 1:20 PM

My favorite sandwich is the jibarito at Rudy's Taste (it's a Puerto Rican sandwich with flattened, fried plantains instead of bread). They've got chicken and steak jibaritos listed on the menu, but they have pork for their Cuban sandwiches, so I like to get a pork jibarito.

n / August 13, 2007 2:18 PM

My experience waitressing at a storefront middle-eastern place in high school, and ordering vegetarian versions of other dishes at Chinese restaurants, is that pretty much everything is customizable if you ask nicely.

Fuzzy / August 14, 2007 9:19 AM

I thought of another one on the way to work this morning:

At Pot Belly you can get a Peanut Butter Chocolate shake/smoothie that's not on the menu -- they use the real peanut butter from the PBJ sandwiches (and they'll probably charge you extra for it) and it's incredibly rich.

sarah / August 15, 2007 1:58 AM

To echo N, I work at a coffeeshop and not only do we experiment anytime we have 5 minutes, if you're nice, we'll experiment for you. Sometimes customers actually come up with the best things.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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