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The Case of the Disappearing Menu Items

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Some restaurants promote dishes and drinks with much fanfare, even before opening. And then they go away.

Shake Shack's Fresh Cut Fries
Shake Shack's Fresh Cut Fries
Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

They garner plenty of buzz, sometimes even before the restaurant itself opens. Fast-forward to a week, a month or a few months later, and they've disappeared.

Call them disappearing menu items. Sometimes they're not quite as big of a seller as restaurant expected — other times there are problems with the dish that need to be fixed before they might reappear on the menu. Here are three well-publicized dishes that didn't end up lasting at D.C. restaurants.

The place: DBGB Kitchen + Bar

The dish: The Crabbie Burger

Where did it go? A spokeswoman says, "Chef Ed Scarpone is always looking at new and exciting ways to present dishes. The [Crabbie] we featured for opening was a limited item." A chatter in Todd Kliman's chat had heard from a waiter they were reworking the dish, though, so perhaps a reappearance could happen at some point.


The place: Shake Shack

The dish: Fresh-cut fries

Where did they go? Shake Shack admitted back in August that their new fries did not get the reception they were hoping for (the restaurant's former crinkle fries also had more of a passionate following than they might have realized). "We didn't fully appreciate the simple, tactile pleasure and the emotional attachment our fans have to the crispiness, the ridges and pure joy that these fries bring to guests of all ages," the CEO said. A spokeswoman confirms the crinkle fries are back at all locations starting this week.


The place: Chaplin

The drink: laughing-gas cocktail

Where did it go? Unclear. Eater noticed the drink was not on the restaurant's menu last week. Multiple inquiries to the restaurant and the Wilder brothers, who designed the place's drinks menu, were not returned. Tipsters tell Eater they couldn't even order the drink during the first couple weeks of service. Dumpling shooters, for better or worse, remain on the menu.

Noticed any other disappearing menu items? Report them missing in the comments.