By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Chicken sandwiches have some hot competition in a seasonal surf vs. turf menu battle.
As the Easter season begins with Ash Wednesday, fast-casual restaurant chains have released specialty seafood-forward menu items to help reel in practicing Christians during Lent. The six-week period between Ash Wednesday and Easter includes abstaining from eating meat on the holy days of obligation and Fridays.
McDonald’s has been a popular Lent option with its Filet-O-Fish sandwich. Now, more competitors are wading into the waters, which has created a bit of a surf war online.
Check out all of the Lent-friendly menu items that are available now nationwide:
“Lou Groen opened the first McDonald’s in the Cincinnati area in 1959 and began investigating a cost-effective fish recipe to help satisfy customers who abstained from eating meat on Fridays in observance of Lent,” a McDonald’s spokesperson told ABC News. “Groen finally convinced McDonald’s to test a breaded whitefish sandwich and on Good Friday in 1962, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich appeared on the menu in selected locations against Ray Kroc’s ‘Hula Burger’—whichever sandwich sold the most would win a place on the permanent menu. The Hula Burger sold 6, Filet-O-Fish: 350. The sandwich was officially put on the menu in 1963.”
The fast-food chain upgraded its rollout with a riff on the popular TikTok sea shanty trend.
For a limited-time, two seafood sandwiches, the King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe and a crispy-fried fish sandwich, are back on the menu.
The Southern fast-food chain has again released its Bojangler fish sandwich, an Alaskan Pollock filet dusted in Bo’s famous seasoning and topped with a slice of American cheese and creamy tartar sauce.
Buffalo Wild Wings
The popular wing restaurant will offer a beer-battered fish sandwich topped with shredded iceberg lettuce and tartar sauce and a side of coleslaw from Feb. 17 through March 29 for dine-in and online orders.
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s
Carl’s Jr. added a beer-battered fish sandwich that is topped with creamy tartar sauce and shredded lettuce on a toasted plain bun for $3.29 at participating locations.
Hardee’s crispy beer-battered fillet is also topped with tartar sauce but swaps leaf lettuce and a seeded bun for the same price. Customers can get two sandwiches for $5.
Seafood doesn’t have to just come in fish sandwich form.
“Whether observing the Lenten season or if you’re just an avid seafood fan, Del Taco is upping its season crispy shrimp and crispy fish game with an array of new seasonal seafood menu items,” the company said.
New items include honey mango crispy jumbo shrimp tacos, 2 for $5, and a new “epic” crispy fish and guacamole burrito made with Alaskan Pollock, romaine and iceberg lettuces, fresh guacamole, diced tomatoes, crispy tortilla strips and creamy avocado Caesar dressing all wrapped in a warm, oversized flour tortilla.
Additional items include crispy jumbo shrimp tacos, sold 2 for $5; a crispy jumbo shrimp burrito; and beer-battered crispy fish tacos, sold 2 for $2.
Del Taco is offering customers a free small drink with the purchase of the crispy fish and guac burrito through Feb. 19 and buy one, get one free crispy jumbo shrimp burrito from Feb. 24 through Feb. 26.
The fast-food spot that started the popular chicken sandwich trend last year has entered a new arena with a Cajun flounder sandwich now available in restaurant and for delivery nationwide for only $4.49.
Unlike the majority of Alaskan Pollock varieties at other restaurants, Popeye’s version is made with Pacific flounder and seasoned with a blend of the Louisiana-rooted brand’s Cajun mild and spicy seasoning. The fried filet is served on the same buttery, toasted brioche bun with pickles that fans will recognize from the chicken sandwich, along with tartar sauce.
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