Eggs over Everything

Already known for anytime pancake breakfasts, IHOP is hoping that putting eggs on burgers will move the brand to a lunch destination while capturing some of that “better burger” magic.

The Orange County Register reported that IHOP isn’t stopping at simple fried eggs for topping burgers. The Denver Omelet Burger, for example, is piled with two slices of grilled ham and a green pepper and onion omelet.

Burger concepts overall grew 15 percent in 2015, outpacing fast casual at 11.5 percent growth and quick-service chain growth at 4.5 percent, according to Technomic. But even though top-loaded burgers are not new to menus, notes Steve Solomon, culinary consultant for the American Egg Board, they are relatively new to national chains. He’s been watching eggs appear on upscale burgers from coast to coast. At FLIP Burger in Atlanta and San Diego, the Chorizo burger wedges a fried egg, hash browns, Spanish paprika, Manchego cheese, almond romesco and smoked mayo between buns. Asian influences and eggs are piled on a burger at bopNgrill in Chicago, where the kimchi burger is topped with fried egg, bacon, caramelized kimchi, Cheddar, cabbage and kimchi mayo.

Burgers are just the start, however. “As more nontraditional operators enter breakfast from pizza to casual dining, we’ve seen lunch and dinner ingredients, formats and techniques increasingly impacting the daypart,” says Solomon, who lists unlikely ingredients like quinoa, kale, trout, bourbon and burrata as foods he has seen used with eggs. “Upscale and independent restaurants have led the way here,” notes Solomon, who sees pizza, salads and ramen bowls often topped with eggs—poached, baked or simmered.

At Zero in San Francisco, squash, squash blossom, eggs and goat cheese are just a few of the offbeat pizza toppings. For the egg, “the continued interest in spicy, bold flavors has finally hit,” says Solomon.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:
•    Fried eggs added to the list of burger toppings and sandwich options
•    Breakfast-style pizzas offered all day
•    Signature deviled egg recipes for salad bar offerings

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