11 Secret Menu Items at Your Favorite Family Restaurants

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Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Photo credit: Red Lobster/facebook.com

UNDERCOVER MENUS

When it comes to menu options at your favorite chain restaurants, there's often more than meets the eye. Whether it's a tasty variation on a classic dish or secret items ordered only by those in the know, most chain restaurants are happy to let diners deviate from the standard options to order off-menu meals that are often surprisingly delicious. To help liven up your dining experiences at your favorite family restaurants, we've compiled some of the best secret menu items and hacks.
Five Guys Patty Melt
Photo credit: Glenn A./yelp.com

FIVE GUYS: PATTY MELT

Few people go to Five Guys for the grilled cheese sandwich, but it's fortunate that some do because it means the rest of us are able to order a patty melt — essentially a cheeseburger on toast. Order it with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese to complete this classic American sandwich.
Panera Frozen Caramel Cookie
Photo credit: Mita S./yelp.com

PANERA: ADD A COOKIE TO YOUR FROZEN CARAMEL

Looking for some extra flavor in your frozen coffee at Panera? Order a Frozen Caramel or Frozen Mocha and ask an employee to blend one of Panera's cookies into the coffee. It's not an official secret menu item, but Panera employees have said it's not too much trouble to whip up this cold, sweet treat.
Chipotle Quesarito
Photo credit: Peter K./yelp.com

CHIPOTLE: QUESARITO

The quesarito is essentially a burrito wrapped in a cheese quesadilla. This secret menu item might sound simple in nature, but Chipotle employees have reported that it's relatively difficult to make compared to other items. That's probably why the chain recently began charging an extra $3.50 for this calorie-heavy combination, which is best to order when the restaurant isn't busy.

IHOP Onion and French Fry Omelet
Photo credit: Daniella C./yelp.com

IHOP: ONION-AND-FRENCH-FRY OMELET

Eating a super healthy meal probably isn't your main goal when you dine at the International House of Pancakes. So, why not go all in and order an omelet made with french fries and onions? Sure, it's a far cry from the fruit bowl, but this custom combination is a cinch for the cooks to fry up for your early morning indulgence.

Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread Club
Photo credit: Elizabeth S./yelp.com

THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY: CLUB SANDWICH WITH BROWN BREAD

One of The Cheesecake Factory's most popular items is completely free: brown bread, referred to as wheat bread within the company. Given to diners before their orders arrive, brown bread has become so popular the restaurant now offers it in some grocery stores. At most restaurant locations, you'll have no problem requesting your sandwich be made with this soft, sweet bread instead of what's listed on the menu.
P.F. Chang's Mongolian Chicken
Photo credit: Sara R./yelp.com

P.F. CHANG'S: MONGOLIAN CHICKEN

It's no secret that Mongolian Beef, a classic Chinese-American dish featuring a savory brown sauce and chili peppers, is one of the most popular menu items at P.F. Chang's. But what many folks don't realize is that you can ask for this dish to be made with pan-fried chicken instead of beef. A P.F. Chang's chef told us this is one of the most popular substitutions that diners request, and it's no problem for the kitchen.
Starbucks French Press Coffee
Photo credit: Starbucks/facebook.com

STARBUCKS: FRENCH PRESS COFFEE

Starbucks offers many secret and seasonal menu items, but one of the best ways to hack the menu is to ask for coffee made with a French press. Many coffee aficionados prefer this brewing method because it doesn't use paper filters, which can change the taste of coffee by absorbing fats and oils. Most Starbucks will brew coffee with a French press upon request, but just know that it'll take longer and cost more than a regular coffee.

Red Lobster biscuits
Photo credit: Red Lobster/facebook.com

RED LOBSTER: SHRIMP PO' BOY

One of the most beloved menu items at Red Lobster is the Cheddar Bay Biscuits, which are delicious on their own but also go well with other dishes. Next time you're ordering shrimp at Red Lobster, consider asking for some cheddar biscuits so you can make yourself a simple, cheesy shrimp po' boy.

Starbucks Puppuccino
Photo credit: Mita S./yelp.com

STARBUCKS: ORDER A PUPPUCCINO FOR YOUR DOG

Starbucks' Puppuccino might sound like a fancy coffee drink for dogs, but it's really just whipped cream in an espresso-sized cup. The best part about this simple, non-caffeinated treat is that, unlike many secret menu items: It's free.
Olive Garden Pink Sauce
Photo credit: Cristine B./yelp.com

OLIVE GARDEN: HALF-AND-HALF PASTA SAUCES

Can't decide whether you want red or white sauce with your pasta at Olive Garden? Get the best of both worlds by asking for a combination of both — sometimes called "pink sauce." Chain Italian restaurants like Olive Garden typically have basic pasta sauces ready to go at all times, so it's usually not too much trouble to ask that the cook combine two sauces.
Blueberry milkshake at Red Robin
Photo credit: Blueberry milkshake at Red Robin by Debs (ò‿ó) (CC BY-SA)

RED ROBIN: SPLIT A MILKSHAKE

Famous for bottomless fries and gargantuan burgers, Red Robin doesn't skimp on portion size, and milkshakes are no exception. When you order a milkshake at Red Robin, you essentially get two shakes: one in a glass and another in a metal cup, amounting to about 1,000 calories. If that sounds like too much ice cream, ask for your milkshake in two glasses so you can easily share it with a friend.

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