New items on Wendy’s menu — including Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich, Italian Mozzarella Hamburger, Garlic Fries and Peppermint Frosty — shown on Wendy’s website (left) rivals menu items from a local Wendy’s. The new items were released to the public Nov. 15.

Wendy’s released a series of new items on Nov. 15, and I made it my mission to try them and determine if they’re worth purchasing. After my visit, I can confidently say that these items are a hit or miss. 

I was most excited to try the Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich — crispy chicken, a fried mozzarella patty, a slice of aged Asiago cheese and marinara sauce wedged between a garlic knot bun. To my surprise, the sandwich maintained its stature and looked mostly identical to the advertisement despite being wrapped in foil. 

The sandwich itself was heavenly, and all of the components complemented each other very well. The fried mozzarella patty stole the show with its golden crunchy exterior and soft, milky interior. The marinara sauce had a pleasant flavor that didn’t overwhelm the sandwich. The thin layer of herby tomato sauce combined with the fried chicken tender was a match made in Italian American heaven.

Although the sandwich felt shockingly gourmet for a fast-food restaurant, no sandwich is without a flaw. My two issues are that the Asiago cheese gets lost among the sea of flavors, and the bun doesn’t live up to its full potential. If Wendy’s ditched the slice of cheese and amped up the flavor profile of the bun by several notches, the sandwich could be on the same level as the iconic Popeyes chicken sandwich.

Wendy’s also offers the Italian Mozzarella Hamburger, an unsatisfying rendition of the Italian sandwich with beef instead of chicken. It may be tempting if you prefer something meatier, but I was repulsed by the questionable merging of hamburger meat and marinara sauce. 

After devouring my chicken sandwich (and throwing away the burger), I moved on to the new garlic fries. They were neither exceptional nor mediocre — just regrettably average. While the garlic flavor was strong, it felt inauthentic. Adding Parmesan could’ve helped tone down the strange taste of the seasoning. Ranch sufficed as a dipping sauce, but I think introducing a new sauce, like a truffle aioli of some sort, would take the fries to a new realm of tastiness.

To wash down my rollercoaster of a meal, I tried the Peppermint Frosty. It sounded like an ice cream lover’s dream, yet I was left utterly devasted by the off-putting mint flavor. The frosty has a friendly, soft pink color with an atrocious mouthwash-esque taste. As someone who loves mint-flavored food, I thought with each bite I could somehow rewire my brain to enjoy it, but the frosty and I miserably failed.

I soon discovered after my dining experience that my feelings towards the sandwich and frosty were not shared among everyone.

When I asked an employee named AJ about the popularity of the new items, they paused for a moment, dumbfounded.

“Yes,” AJ said, wide-eyed as if they were remembering in horror how many sandwiches they’d prepared. “It’s been really popular.”

The employee raved about the Peppermint Frosty, comparing it to a candy cane.

“Peppermint frosty is my favorite new flavor of frosty,” AJ said. “I can’t believe it topped my favorite, which was chocolate.” 

When I asked about their opinion on the sandwich, they were passionate about their distaste for it.

“Marinara sauce belongs on pizza,” the employee said.

Our widely differing opinions go to show that the new Wendy’s menu items are truly a hit or miss; some love it, and some hate it. Enjoy at your own discretion. Overall, I think it’s worth a shot.

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