You've heard of secret menus at restaurants and coffee shops but how do you get "in the know" to order something off of them?

Secret menus can be really fun. They're the customer favorites that didn't make it onto the actual written menu and they oftentimes have unique names that only the customer ordering it and the barista/worker knows how to make. It's a great way to build customer loyalty and a lot of businesses in the Quad Cities and Illinois have them.


You may be new or a regular at a place and not aware that they have a secret menu. Luckily for you, there are ways you can figure it out. ChowNow and Toast both have suggestions on secret menu hunting.

1. Look For Clues

Keep an eye out for literal clues. Look for subtle accents (like sketches or pictures) in the eatery that might give a nod to something on the secret menu. One of my favorite coffeehouses does that.

2. Pay Attention To Their Online Order Menu

Some businesses will have a dish labeled as a 'secret menu item' on their Doordash or Grubhub listing. Oftentimes, it's a spin on a popular drink or dish that they already serve.

3. Ask Around

The existence of secret menu items is often spread through the good old word-of-mouth tactic. Ask if your friends or coworkers have been there. If they're pretty familiar with it, they may recommend getting something off of the secret menu.

4. Ask The Barista/Worker

You could just flat ask the one helping you if they have a secret menu and/or if there's anything on it that they would recommend.

5. Social Media

One of the best ways to learn about secret menu offerings is to keep a close eye on the business's social media pages. They might post something in their Insta story, make a TikTok about a limited secret menu item, or toss a hint on their page about it.

You don't have to feel left out if you want to order from a secret menu!

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