Eat like Bilbo Baggins

Written by Gretchen McKay on

hobbit menu

Hobbits might be small, but as readers of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy novels can tell you, they have pretty giant appetites: As written in "The Lord of the Rings," Middle-earth's diminutive race would eat six meals a day, if they could get them.

Modern-day Americans like to stuff themselves silly, too, especially at Denny's, one of the country's largest full-service chain restaurants. Since opening as Danny's Donuts in Lakewood, Calif., in 1953, the casual eatery has grown to include more than 1,680 locations across the U.S., drawing millions of customers each year. 

Still, it's kind of hard to connect the dots between Hobbits and a Grand Slam Breakfast, don't you think?

Not if there's a Hollywood connection.

Last week, to coincide with the much-anticipated theatrical release of Peter's Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the first movie in a planned "Hobbit" trilogy, the restaurant chain trotted out a special "Hobbit" menu. TheHobbit5 small

One of my twin daughters is a rabid Bilbo Baggins fan, so after some Christmas shopping at the mall, we drove with her sister 25 minutes to the closest Denny's (there are 16 Pittsburgh-area locations) to give the limited-time, Middle-earth-themed menu a whirl. All I can say is, Mr. Baggins and company must have iron-clad stomachs.

The menu, available through Jan. 14, includes such gut-busting delights as "Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet" (cheddar cheese-topped pot roast),  "Gandalf's Gobble Melt" (turkey and stuffing on grilled potato bread) and the "Hobbit Hole," which pairs fried eggs, bacon and hash browns with grilled cheddar bun halves. That last one clocks in at 1,160 calories, 660 of 'em from fat, in case you're wondering.  The "Ring Burger" -- served with wavy-cut fries -- is an even bigger heart-attack-in-the-making, packing more than 1,400 calories into its grilled cheddar bun.

And Hobbits supposedly live 100 years or longer? Not a chance with this menu. 

hobbit slamCalling it "disgusting," my non-fan daughter opted for a chicken sandwich, which she not only devoured but also declared "delicious." My fan daughter and I also played it relatively safe, building "Hobbit Slams" with eggs, toast and hashbrowns. I added a "Shire" sausage and have to admit, it was pretty darn tasty.

All items on the "Hobbit" menu are $10 or less, and come with one of 12 limited-edition trading cards.

Gretchen McKay photos, top and bottom; movie still from Warner Bros.


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