In honor of the company’s expansion into Canada 20 years ago, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill (or Neighbourhood, as it’s styled in Canada) has announced that it will introduce exclusive new items to the Canadian menu “that celebrate the tastes and heritage of the country.”
The exclusive items, chosen from 52 recipe submissions, include the winner and two runners-up. Additionally, Applebee’s will add more dishes that “celebrate Canada,” including a Poutine Burger and Nacho Burger with “Mexi-ranch sauce.”
You might be surprised to find out, though, that the winning entry has little to do with Canadian cuisine. Created by chef Dennis Herbert of Ajax, Ontario, the winning submission was a California Chicken Melt which is described as “A unique twist on a west coast [sic] sandwich. A grilled seasoned chicken breast topped with sautéed red onions, melted Swiss cheese, fresh avocado and arugula. Served with sliced tomato and zesty lemon basil mayo on toasted Marble Rye bread.”
The two runners-up that also made the exclusive Canadian menu were a Fiesta Lime Chicken Rollup, again featuring Mexi-ranch sauce, and Applebee’s Homestyle Shepherd’s Pie.
“It is difficult to overstate how excited we are to begin rolling out these delicious new menu items,” announced chef Mike Futris, Applebee’s International Chef. “All of the winning entrées were initially crafted in the home kitchens of our Ontario chefs and that homemade flavour stands out in a uniquely enjoyable way.”