Red Robin's New Menu Features All Things Barbecue

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews is rolling out a new warm-weather-inspired menu lineup that brings to mind all things barbecue, with its focus on smokehouse brisket smothered in the restaurant's beloved Whiskey River BBQ sauce, on the one hand, and tangy citrus flavors, such as lemonade and pineapple upside down cake, on the other. It's a move that some may see as unexpected in light of Red Robin's recent decision to slow down its rollout of Donatos pizza items on its menus, per Nation's Restaurant News (NRN).

Despite that, the addition of Donatos pizzas to the Red Robin menu at 198 of the chain's more than 520 restaurant locations has boosted the chain's sales by $14.4 million, Red Robin President and CEO, Paul Murphy, said earlier this month. "The company felt it unwise to add new guest initiatives in restaurants that were still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic staffing levels," Murphy explained (via NRN). What might distinguish Red Robin's decision to introduce six new menu items at this juncture is that whereas the addition of pizza to the Red Robin menu can be seen as genuinely novel (and therefore, potentially risky, or notwithstanding the success it has actually enjoyed thus far), the new menu items featuring all things barbecue aren't so much new as riffs on existing fan favorites. 

Red Robin's Whiskey River BBQ sauce is central to its new menu items

Red Robin is "bringing the brisket this spring with a new menu lineup featuring the brand's well-known Whiskey River BBQ sauce," the family-friendly casual dining restaurant announced via press release. The new lineup features two items for which fans of the chain's Whiskey River BBQ sauce are sure to be rolling up their sleeves: the Smokehouse Brisket Burger and the Smothered BBQ Brisket Chips. 

The new Smokehouse Brisket Burger features both a fire-grilled burger and chopped smoked brisket, along with bacon, Provolone, roasted jalapeños, dill pickle planks, onion straws, and chipotle aioli on a toasted brioche bun. The Smothered BBQ Brisket Chips feature Red Robin's "Yukon Chips topped with beer cheese sauce, chopped smoked brisket, hardwood-smoked bacon, diced red onions, dill pickles and drizzled with Whiskey River BBQ Sauce." Served with Red Robin's trademarked "Bottomless Steak Fries," these two menu items alone may be enough to bring in all the diehard fans of all things Whiskey River BBQ — but "without any of the work" involved with actual barbecuing. 

To literally sweeten the deal, Red Robin is also introducing a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Milkshake, a Freckled Lemonade Cake (the "freckles" being white chocolate flecks), Sunset Lemonade, and a Tequila Sunset cocktail. Of course, if fruity desserts aren't your favorite, there's always this dessert that a full 28% of Americans surveyed by Mashed say is the absolute best dessert to order at Red Robin.