One of the coolest little things we started a couple years ago is what we call Great Tastes of Young’s. Running two restaurants, catering and group picnics means we create and find a lot of new flavors and menu items each year – to add to our regular menus and to create specials (what we call limited time offers, or LTO’s). Having a bunch of new items to put on our menus keeps it fresh for us and our Guests.
Five or six times a year, we invite seven to ten of our managers, leaders, chefs, cooks, and servers to prepare potential menu items for each other to try. We look for inspiration from just about anywhere. Guest suggestions, something we tasted elsewhere, a favorite recipe from grandma or just try something that seems like it would work.
We all taste and evaluate each new item, and then score each item on appearance, taste, texture and Wow factor. We give a number score to each prospective new item, and make comments. Then we rank them from the highest scoring on down. It’s not really a competition, but we are always anxious to learn who had to top scoring menu items!
Many delicious items on our current menus at The Dairy Store, The Golden Jersey Inn, Group Picnics and Catering came from this creative and fun project. Ones you might recognize are Buffalo Style Breaded Cheese Curds, Ma Ma’s Chicken & Dumplins, Sweet Chili Breaded Cheese Curds, Loaded Pork Chop, Sweet Corn Bake (a group picnic and catering menu item), Italian Omelet, Buckeye Bullshakes and Chocolate Bread Pudding.
At our latest Great Taste of Young’s – held Monday Feb 15, 2016 – we all liked a creation by our Golden Jersey Inn chef – Ben Kress – look for Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops as a weekly special soon, and maybe a spot on the main menu! We also liked a Chicken Taco Bowl, Breakfast Banana Split and Szechuan Spicy Breaded Cheese Curds. As you may be able to tell – we enjoy the trials and tasting of figuring out new menu items!
Sometimes a new item becomes popular and then earns a spot on the permanent menu. And sometimes we think a new item is fantastic – but our Guests disagree. That’s a good reason to keep on experimenting! Look for some new ideas coming over this year that feature our newest cheese – Gouda. We tried several sandwiches with this mild, softer cheese late last year and are looking forward to introducing it as an ingredient this year at both restaurants. Enjoy!