Restaurants target nostalgia, escape with summer treat promos

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Chains market sweets as exotic adventures abroad or nostalgic trips to the past

Escape is what’s for dessert this summer, as chains market sweets as exotic adventures abroad or nostalgic trips to the past.

Frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles is taking the latter approach with its June flavor of the month, Frosty Root Beer. A soft-serve version of a classic root beer float, the 22-unit chain based in New York City recommends pairing the yogurt with vanilla Clodhoppers candy.

“America’s love for root beer floats inspired us to develop our own frozen yogurt version that tastes just as good as the original recipe we all drank growing up,” 16 Handles founder Solomon Choi said in a statement. “Reinventing this nostalgic summertime beverage into a soft-serve indulgence is our way of surprising and delighting our customers with better-for-you old-fashioned flavors.”

The yogurt is 112 calories per half-cup serving. 16 Handles frozen yogurt sells for 52 cents per ounce.

Dairy Queen is also looking back in time with its summer promotions. The quick-service chain is tapping into nostalgia for the turtle — a chocolate, caramel and pecan candy — for its June Blizzard of the month flavor. The blended treat is made with pecans, caramel, brownie pieces and vanilla soft-serve ice cream.

The Minneapolis-based chain also is introducing a “Royal Shake” flavored with Oreos, as that cookie celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. It also has introduced mint chip and Caramel Cheesequake flavors to the Royal Shake line at its more than 6,000 locations worldwide.

Blizzard prices vary by location, starting at about $2.50 for a mini size and about $4 for a large. The Royal Shake items start at $2.99 for the smallest 12-ounce size, to $4.49 for the largest 32-ounce size.

Marble Slab Creamery and sister concept, MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream & Treatery are offering customers a taste of escape with the Destination Everywhere Celebration, which evokes flavors of a different part of the world each month.

In June the Atlanta-based concepts take guests to Asia with the Mango Fusion “Favorite Combination” — mango lychee ice cream mixed with strawberries, mangoes and strawberry topping. The chains also are offering coconut sorbet in June and “sushi cupcakes” made with coconut flakes and gummy candy. The cupcakes are shaped to resemble pieces of seaweed-wrapped sushi, with cupcake wrappers as the seaweed and coconut as the rice.

July takes Maggie Moo’s and Marble Slab guests to the South, with a “Favorite Combination” of peanut butter Fluff ice cream, chopped peanuts and bananas — a play on the peanut butter and banana sandwich allegedly enjoyed by Elvis Presley. Also available in July, the 50/50, a sorbet push-pop made of half frozen lemonade and half frozen iced tea — the chains’ version of the classic Arnold Palmer drink.

August will feature the flavors of Italy, with the Amaretto Fig Adventure Favorite Combination made with amaretto ice cream, chocolate chips, almonds and fig topping.

The flavor of a lemony Italian liqueur is part of the chains’ Limoncello with Forest Berry Swirl Sorbet that month. Guests also can order the Leaning Tower of Pizza, a dessert pizza spread with sweet cream ice cream and topped with strawberry topping, sliced marshmallows and green gummy bears.

There are approximately 500 Marble Slab Creamery and MaggieMoo’s locations worldwide.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional prices for Dairy Queen's Royal Shake items.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary