Tucson stands as a truly unique city for food lovers. As one of only two official UNESCO City of Gastronomy here in the United States (the other being San Antonio), locals and visitors alike can find not only some of the best Mexican food in North America but a selection of other tastes. It is what has made Tucson a destination for food lovers from around the world.
It’s also made Tucson a destination for major food chains to test new recipes and services.
Earlier in the year, Taco Bell deployed a subscription service here (and only here) in Tucson, where members could stop by and receive a taco every day of the month. And while there is no word yet as to whether Taco Bell will roll out the subscription to other areas of the country, there is another major food chain that is now testing the Tucson waters to see if new products might work on a grander scale.
Carl’s Jr. (or Hardee’s, depending on what area of the country you are in), is offering a brand new menu item known as Tender Bites. These are basically chicken nuggets, made with their hand-breaded chicken batter. The food is bite-sized and easy to consume as a snack or even a main meal, and it is being offered in Tucson for testing purposes (it will also be available in the select markets of Knoxville, Palm Springs, and Sacramento).
Currently, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are planning on keeping the menu item here in Tucson through the close of 2021. There is no word yet as to whether it will be around past New Year, although as a test menu item, even if the food sells well, it will eventually be removed as Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s decide whether it is an item to spread nationwide or to kill it.
The restaurant chain is not new to testing out new menu items as select destinations. The restaurant pair is also testing out what is marketing as a Candied Bacon Angus Thickburger, which features candied bacon, a fried egg, and served on a bacon biscuit. It is currently being tested out in certain locations in Springfield, Illinois, and Bakersfield, California.
Back here in town, if you are a fan of the Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s fried chicken sandwich and are interested in sampling it in a more snack-friendly form, stop by your nearest location. Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s did not announce specifics to which local venues will have the test kitchen item, but if your local restaurant isn’t offering the Tender Bites they will be able to point you in the direction of a location that is.