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Denny’s: The Breakfast of Middle-earth

The Exchange

This Nov. 6, the most important thing you can do isn't to vote. It's to make like Bilbo Baggins and get to Denny's.

Gollum from The Hobbit: Credit AP

Denny's (DENN), the Spartanburg, S.C.-based restaurant owner, is entreating you to Middle-earth with foods inspired by the upcoming movie "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," and you don't even have to trek to Rivendell.

In one of the more curious, or at least amusing, restaurant and movie tie-ins, the diner chain known for the Lumberjack Slam and Moons Over My Hammy is giving us humans a chance to ostensibly eat in the spirit of those small folk from the Shire. Now you can experience what the locals might cook up for you if you were in the neighborhood. Gollum here could stand to put on a little weight;  take him with you.

Denny's is offering up 11 new items on its breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, with options including the Hobbit Hole Breakfast and Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet. For creative eaters, there's the Build Your Own Hobbit Slam. If you go for the latter, you can get Shire Sausage and Pumpkin Patch Pancakes. There wasn't word on whether the restaurant plans to give out Stings instead of knives with your meals. The YouTube video below shows you where this is going.

"We are delighted to partner with Warner Bros. Pictures to bring the captivating spirit of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' to life in our diners nationwide," Frances Allen, chief marketing officer of Denny's, said in a prepared press release statement explaining the deal. "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."

Lest you think this is only about food, it isn't. Get a "Hobbit-inspired" entree and you'll come away with a pack of trading cards, of which there are 12 in all. You can also get special codes that will provide access to online content and games.

The Hobbit Denny's Menu: Credit GrubGrade.com

(Promotion for the Denny's Hobbit menu: Courtesy of GrubGrade.com)

Tie-ins of course have been around for years, and if we're honest with ourselves, they usually make no sense whatsoever. They basically help with the marketing of some movie and are only good for filling the kitchen cabinet with a cup or two you already don't have room for.

But they're not all Burger King and "Star Wars" glasses. For at least three or so decades, we've gotten the opportunity to pick up a host of things good for losing in the garage closet or one day putting on eBay (EBAY). Back in the mid-1980s, Hardee's capitalized on the Gizmo craze with "Gremlins" movie records.  E.T. was into Reese's Pieces. McDonald's (MCD) tied up with the blockbuster "Jurassic Park" in 1993, and more recently Subway for some reason did a deal with "Land of the Lost." 7-Eleven promoted -- why not? -- the first of the modern "Sherlock Holmes" movies. You've seen TV and had fast food. You know the list of these things goes on and on.

Like the hugely popular "Lord of the Rings" series, this movie version of "The Hobbit" is directed by Peter Jackson, and it's the first in a planned trilogy. The initial movie is due in theaters Dec. 14.

So ahead of that, put on your mithril and feast. If you see these guys, let us know.

Wizards at Denny's. Screenshot from YouTube video promotion for The Hobbit.

(Screenshot from YouTube video. Denny's "Inspiration" commercial)

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