Kinda Cuban Showcases Pork at Tropical Smoothie Cafe

New pork items may become part of permanent menu.

It's the details that distinguish Tropical Smoothie Café, which is known for its premium meats and cheeses, healthy food options, and its unique menu items, including the new "Kinda Cuban" pork sandwich.

"Less than a year ago, we didn't have any pork on the Tropical Smoothie Café menu, other than slices of ham on some sandwiches," says Paul Perfilio, national foodservice marketing manager for the Pork Checkoff. "The 'Kinda Cuban' is a fun, cool concept that is opening the door for more pork items at Tropical Smoothie Café, which is a good partner for us."

When Tropical Smoothie Café launched its new line of Bistro Sandwiches, the Pork Checkoff supported the "Kinda Cuban" sandwich, a Cuban-style sliced pork loin with Swiss cheese, signature Bistro Sauce, field greens, tomatoes and banana peppers on a toasted ciabatta roll. To promote the sandwich, the Pork logo is included on menu boards and printed menus at the nearly 300 Tropical Smoothie Café locations nationwide.

The "Kinda Cuban" is meeting expectations for sales, says Barbara Valentino, vice president of marketing and communications for the Tropical Smoothie Franchise Development Corporation. "We certainly appreciate any help we get to assist us in bringing new, innovative products to market, and the National Pork Board helped us with our new sandwich line."

Tropical Smoothie Café is also testing a line of grilled flatbread sandwiches and has a pork-inspired Caribbean Luau in the lineup. This item, which features savory Cuban pork, Jamaican jerk sauce, pineapples, melted mozzarella and crispy romaine lettuce served on a toasted flatbread, will debut at all Tropical Smoothie Café locations around March 1. "We will launch it as a limited-time offer and gauge the success to see if it hits our permanent menu," Valentino says.

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