Carlsbad chain Islands Restaurants introduces healthier, customizable menu

The new Ghost Pepper Fries at Islands Restaurants.
(Courtesy photo by Timm Eubanks)

Islands Restaurants, the 39-year-old Carlsbad chain known for its Hawaiian-inspired burgers and skin-on French fries, is rolling out a new menu it calls “Clean and Customized.”

The new menu makes the fries an optional side dish that diners can now customize with different seasonings and toppings, including the new Ghost Pepper Fries and Truffle Fries. But the bigger change at Islands that will be gradually introduced over the next year is a commitment to serving only hormone- and antibiotic-free proteins and no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Company president Michael Smith said that with guests increasingly interested in eating healthier foods, the company decided to use its downtime during the pandemic to map out plans for the “100% clean” menu at its 44 restaurants.

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Kragen writes about local restaurants for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at