This week I reached out for a Bacon Beef 'N Cheddar Sandwich from the roast beef king of fast food, Arby's, with 3,350 restaurants across America and around the world.
No doubt 'bout it, Arby's has become the innovative leader of the drive-thru industry, cranking out interesting new menu items like a runaway locomotive. Check out their recent debuts: Deep Fried Turkey Sandwiches, Smokehouse Chicken Sandwiches, the Arbynator (beef and fries sandwich), Bourbon BBQ Sandwiches, Greek Gyros, and Market Fresh Sandwiches like Pecan Chicken Salad and Turkey Avocado.
And that was just last Tuesday. (Actually Tuesday morning — between 10 am and 10:15 am. Time to give the geniuses in R&D a vacation, Arby's.)
Here's the Bacon Beef 'N Cheddar breakdown: Thinly sliced roast beef, Cheddar cheese sauce, pepper bacon, and red ranch sauce on a toasted onion roll.
Total calories: 520. Fat grams: 25. Sodium: 1,530 mg. Carbs: 46 g. Dietary fiber: 28 g. Protein: 2 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $4.99.
But Arby's is offering the Bacon Beef 'N Cheddar at 2 for $6. Seems everybody's got a 2 for $6 deal going, but this one really saves you serious coin. (C'mon, let's you and me go grab a couple Bacon Beef 'N Cheddars...I'll pay for the second one.)
This honking big sammie didn't take a whole lot of creativity. Arby's stole a page out of Taco Bell's book, digging in the back of the fridge, pulling out things already there, throwing them in a Yahtzee cup and — alert the media — we have a new Bacon Beef 'N Cheddar Sandwich.
Arby's isn't taking too much a risk with its thinly sliced roast beef. Thinly sliced? Try closely shaved. You can read this review through a slice of Arby's roast beef. But it still tastes pretty darn good. Arby's roast beef is a mashup of real roast beef hunks stuck together so it cooks up extra juicy. It's lean, no slimy fat around the edges.
You can't go wrong throwing bacon on a sandwich. Butter is a legacy, but the saying should be, "Bacon makes it better." You could take an old soggy moccasin from summer camp, cover it with bacon, and it'd go for $5 in a drive-thru.
The sandwich comes with red ranch sauce but the smart condiment play is a packet of Arby's Horsey Sauce, a mild, creamy horseradish spread. It's not prime rib with horseradish, but close your eyes and dream big.
I like that Arby's keeps this sandwich simple, just bacon, beef, and cheese. They're really just upselling its classic Beef 'N Cheddar sandwich, which put Arby's on the map (specifically two exits down the highway).
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know in the comments or on Twitter.