What would Bilbo order?

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2012 - 4:00 PM
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A scene from "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Say you suddenly get a hankering for some good, old-fashioned Middle-Earth cooking. What's a hungry J.R.R. Tolkien fan to do?

Head for a Denny's, apparently.

As part of a promotional deal tied to the Dec. 14 release of the movie "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the restaurant chain is offering Hobbit-themed additions to its menu, including Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet, Gandalf's Gobble Melt and Radagast's Red Velvet Pancake Puppies.

Promotional deals between Hollywood and chain eateries are common, but they typically involve the toys in children's meals and placemats covered with advertising. This includes 11 entrées and side dishes (largely variations on existing items) that will be available through at least early January.

"We were inspired by the imaginative world of Middle-Earth and wanted to offer fellow fans an equally inspired food experience to share in the excitement and anticipation for the upcoming debut," said a statement issued by Francis Allen, Denny's chief marketing officer.

This isn't a first for restaurants or Tolkien; in 2001, Burger King introduced a special dipping sauce, Lord of the (Onion) Rings, in connection with the first movie in that trilogy. The reception of the sauce was so-so, but the movies were immensely popular.

It's enough to make a hungry Minnesotan wish that a clever marketing executive had picked up on some of our locally made movies. Then we could have dined on such mouthwatering offerings as Duck a L'utefisk ("The Mighty Ducks"), the Turbo Manwich ("Jingle All the Way") and Wood Chipper Ground Chuck ("Fargo").

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