And the winner is?
Red Robin also decided to resurrect the Chili Chili Cheeseburger, my number two favorite: a burger slathered with Cheddar cheese, onions and decent house chili. This burger is available now, and again, I recommend ordering it with extra onion straws for maximum delish-ability.
Because the contest was so popular -- 250,000 votes -- Red Robin will also be bringing back the three runners-up: the Honey Mustard Chicken Burger, One Great Chicken Sandwich and the Santa Fe Burger, with their releases staggered through 2013. And all of those will no doubt be even better with extra onion straws as well.
I'm also happy to see the artichoke and spinach dip make a comeback (why the spinach-licking hell it got canned in the first place I dunno). Sure, every restaurant on planet Earth has some variation of this dip, but Red Robin's version is warm, super-creamy, an adequate portion size and comes with soft wedges of focaccia as well as chips. The bread works better, so I hope the chain works out a better focaccia-dip ratio this round.
I'm pretty psyched to try the new pretzel bites, too. Despite the fact that TGI Friday's and Applebee's have had these for a while now, I'm forgiving Red Robin for coming to the pretzel-party late, and embracing the fact that the crew showed up at all.
But trend-jacking also has a dark side, now in the form of Red Robin's new Irish Beer Shake, made with Guinness Draught, Jameson Irish Whiskey and chocolate ice cream. I tried one. It tasted like a drink I had probably made in college, after I was already pretty drunk.
Will adding extra onion straws help the beer shake? I doubt it, but Red Robin still has an entire menu of gourmet burgers, bottomless steak fries and non-beer-adulterated shakes to keep me interested.