Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Rob Corliss
May 18, 2021

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Pimento cheese has been establishing its status outside of its Southern lineage and crushing the old adage: “One taste and you’ll be hooked.” Chefs are expanding its versatility and consumers are embracing its comforting charm. A savvy approach sees pimento being incorporated into mainstream menu formats wherever cheese plays a strong role. This strategy allows operators to maximize comfort while creating something new and unique.

We put together recipe builds and in-market menu examples that are refreshingly unexpected, leveraging pimento cheese’s star power and crave factor.

“Try This”

Pimento Carnitas Poppers: Fresh mammoth jalapeño peppers halved and stuffed with pimento cheese and shredded carnitas; baked

Baja Pimento Lasagna: Lasagna sheets layered with ricotta-pimento cheese blend, seasoned ground beef and chorizo crumbles, red tomato sauce and salsa verde; baked

Pimento Elote Salad: Classic chilled street corn salad mixed with Cotija-pimento cheese

Pimento Juicy Lucy: Charbroiled hamburger stuffed with smoked pimento cheese, topped with white American cheese along with lettuce and tomato on a toasted brioche bun

Southern Chopped Salad: Mixed greens, pulled BBQ chicken, pimento cheese, black eyed peas, blanched green beans, fresh raw corn kernels, chopped tomato, peppered bacon, glazed pecans, citrus-ranch dressing


Pimento Cheese Beignets: Buttermilk dressing, pickled green tomato, smoked paprika
Cotton, Monroe, La.

Say Cheese: Deep-fried pimento cheese balls with a spicy pepper jelly
Sugar Hill Cidery; Norton, Va.

BBQ Pork & Pimento Cheese Wontons: Sriracha aïoli and cabbage confetti
Steel Magnolias; Valdosta, Ga.

Southern Comfort: Smoked pimento cheese and whiskey bacon marmalade served with a grilled baguette
Fado Irish Pub; Columbus, Ohio

Lodge Meat Loaf: Baked and then grilled meat loaf topped with caramelized onion, roasted mushrooms and housemade pimento cheese, served with sides of mashed red skin potatoes, green beans
Stone Mountain Grill; Charlotte, N.C.

Loaded Pimento Pizza: Pimento cheese, garlic salt, roasted chicken, spinach, red peppers, mozzarella, jalapeños and bacon
AJ’s Pizza; Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Pimento Cheese BLT: Our traditional or spicy pimento cheese, crispy bacon, fresh lettuce and sliced tomato
Chicken Salad Chick, based in Atlanta

Hot Alabama Chicken Sandwich: Pulled rotisserie chicken, cayenne Buffalo sauce, pimento cheese spread, fried green tomato and Alabama white barbecue sauce on a buttered local roll
The Rotisserie Shop; Kennesaw, Ga.

Pot Roast Patty Melt: Pimento cheese, onions, mustard green salsa verde
Southern National, Mobile, Ala.

Tangy, creamy pimento cheese plays perfect counterpoint to a unique savory, spicy marmalade featuring smoked pulled pork.Photo credit: Smithfield Culinary

Tangy, creamy pimento cheese plays perfect counterpoint to a unique savory, spicy marmalade featuring smoked pulled pork.



About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.