food

We Need These Retro Fast Food Menu Items Back

food, we need these retro fast food menu items back

Gone but not forgotten

Do you pine for the McPizza? Do you dream about eating the KFC Double Down? How about Burger King’s crinkle-cut Satisfries? Over the years we’ve lost some incredible fast food items and we’ve not forgotten them in a hurry. People have made Twitter accounts in their memory and even signed petitions asking for them back. Here are the old-school gems we miss the most, from the 1970s to more recent years.

a pizza sitting on top of a wooden table

1979: Taco Pizza, Pizza Hut

Back in the 1970s, in Pizza Hut’s dine-in restaurants’ heyday, the restaurant launched a Taco Pizza. The best of both worlds, it was a regular pizza topped with ground beef, tomatoes and lettuce, and covered in zingy taco sauce. The catchy advert said it all, it was a “pizza-looking, taco-tasting pizza”. And we really need it to return for those days when we can’t decide between the two.

a hand holding a hot dog

1980s: Cheesarito, Taco Bell

Part of Taco Bell’s original menu, the Cheesarito was melted cheese, scallions and taco sauce rolled up in a soft tortilla. In simple terms, it was a grilled cheese burrito, so it’s a mystery to fans why it was discontinued when we know Taco Bell has all the ingredients in its kitchen. But here’s a secret – you can trick them into making it for you. Order a bean burrito without the beans, add extra cheese and taco sauce, and there you have it.

a cake sitting on top of a table

1984: McDLT, McDonald’s

Let’s be clear, we don’t want Styrofoam packaging to make a comeback but we love the sentiment behind the McDLT which graced menus in the mid-1990s. The beef patty was kept separate from the lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickle and sauce, so the meat stayed hot and the salad was kept from going soggy. It was discontinued in 1998 as it was bad for the environment.

a close up of a sandwich and a cup of coffee

1986: Seafood Salad, Taco Bell

Out of all the Taco Bell items that have been discontinued, none is talked about quite as much as the Seafood Salad. It was released in the 1980s to compete with the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish and other “healthier” options on rival burger chains’ menus. Consisting of shrimp, whitefish, snow crab, black olives and salad leaves, it sounds exciting compared to the primarily ground beef-based menu today.

a box of doughnuts on a table

1987: Burger Bundles, Burger King

You might recognize these little beauties but know them as a different name. In 1987, Burger Bundles arrived – three or six sliders in a single box. But they quickly disappeared, replaced by Burger Buddies, which came in pairs. After vanishing again, they returned in 2004 as Burger Shots. A single patty with mustard, ketchup and pickles, on six joined buns for tearing and sharing. We don’t care what it’s called or in what iteration, we just want it back.

food, we need these retro fast food menu items back

1980s: McDonald’s Pizza, McDonald’s

It might feel like a faint memory but from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, McDonald’s introduced pizza to menus at select stores in the US and UK. It came with toppings such as cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and onion, but was eventually phased out due to issues such as slow cooking times. However, people still miss it and there was much excitement when it briefly returned to a couple of stores in the US in 2017.

a hand holding a box of donuts

1990: Mighty Wings, McDonald’s

Though bone-in chicken isn’t usually what McDonald’s is known for (McNuggets is what most head to the chain for), in 1990 it launched Mighty Wings. The crispy chicken wings were sold up until 2003 and we still miss them. They returned briefly in the US in 2013 with spicy breading but customers didn’t get on board.

a close up of a sandwich

1991: McLean Deluxe, McDonald’s

Amazingly the McLean Deluxe, which joined McDonald’s menus in the US in 1991, was 91% fat free. It contained 0.3oz (10g) of fat compared to the Big Mac’s 0.9oz (26g). What’s more, it was astonishingly technical, binding water to beef with seaweed extract to make it juicy. Unfortunately it flopped and was dropped in 1996. We guess the majority of people don’t head to McDonald’s for low-fat options.

a close up of a hot dog

1993: McLobster, McDonald’s

This fancy fast food item was introduced onto American McDonald’s menus in 1993. It was a lobster roll with shredded lettuce and lobster sauce, served seasonally. Sadly, due to supply issues, you can now only get this taste of luxury at McDonald’s restaurants in Canada and New England in the summer when lobsters are abundant.

a sandwich sitting on top of a table

1997: Big n’ Tasty, McDonald’s

This Whopper-like burger from McDonald’s joined menus in California in 1997 and nationwide in 2000. Not to be confused with the UK’s Big Tasty, the Big n’ Tasty was a quarter-pound beef patty with tomato, lettuce, onions and “new sauce” in a sesame seed bun. It was moved onto and off the dollar menu, eventually culled in 2011. Variants on it can still be found in other countries around the globe, such as the Philippines.

a close up of food

1998: Cini-Minis, Burger King

Anyone growing up in the 1990s will remember Cini-Minis from Burger King, “the best part of the cinnamon roll (the center) in every bite”. Launched in 1998, a pack of four cost 99 cents (80p) and came with a little pot of icing. When they were discontinued in the 2000s, it’s understandable fans were extremely upset, even creating an online petition which had 2,722 supporters demanding their return. And they did briefly in the US in 2018 but are sadly lost again.

a piece of food on a plate

2010: Ribs, Burger King

An amazing thing happened at Burger King, in the US, in 2010. It introduced pork ribs as a promotional item and they were an incredible success. Despite the McDonald’s McRib flopping – it was really just a pork patty – and Burger King ribs costing over $7 (£5.60) for an order, people were willing to pay. That’s because they were smoky, slow-cooked and meaty. In fact, Burger King ran out before the promotion was due to end. So why haven’t they made a comeback yet?

a close up of a plate of food

2010: The Double Down, KFC

One for the fried chicken fanatics, in 2010 KFC USA released The Double Down. It was a sandwich with fried chicken pieces in place of a burger bun and bacon, cheese and sauce in the middle. It also appeared on UK menus twice in 2018. It’s a wonder it doesn’t become a permanent fixture, considering how excited people were for it.

a bowl of food on a plate

2012: Bacon Sundae, Burger King

As part of Burger King’s US summer menu in 2012, it introduced the Bacon Sundae – vanilla soft-serve ice cream topped with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and thick-cut, smoked bacon. A 500-calorie treat, it was described by some as a monstrosity, but equally adored by fans for its sweet and savory combination.

a slice of pizza on a paper plate

2013: Grilled Stuft Nacho, Taco Bell

When the Grilled Stuft Nacho arrived on Taco Bell menus in late 2013, it quickly became one of the rare limited-edition fast food items people actually love. A flour tortilla stuffed with beef, cheesy jalapeño sauce, sour cream and red peppers, in the shape of a nacho. It inspired love letters and petitions, and returned briefly to fans’ delight in 2015.

a pile of fries next to a cup of coffee

2013: Satisfries, Burger King

We love crinkle-cut fries and in 2013, Burger King restaurants in the US added Satisfries to its menu. Light and crunchy, the fact they were 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than regular fries was merely a bonus. Sadly, not everyone agreed and the following year they were slowly phased out.

a hand holding a hot dog on a bun

2014: The Waffle Taco, Taco Bell

In an attempt to battle McDonald’s when it came to fast food breakfasts, Taco Bell released The Waffle Taco in 2014. It was a waffle wrapped around a sausage patty or bacon, with scrambled eggs, cheese and a side of syrup. One of the first breakfast items ever debuted by Taco Bell and surely the most delicious, it was sadly discontinued in 2015.

a hand holding a hot dog on a bun covered in toppings

2014: The Biscuit Taco, Taco Bell

After The Waffle Taco vanished in 2015, Taco Bell tried out something new with The Biscuit Taco, which was a taco shell made of flaky biscuit and filled with fried chicken, sausage or eggs, bacon and cheese. It also had a jalapeño honey glaze, mixing sweet with heat, and patrons loved it. You can find recipes for how to recreate it online.

a cut in half sandwich sitting on top of a paper plate

2015: French Toaster, Sonic Drive-In

At the start of 2015, Sonic Drive-In released the limited-edition French Toaster. The whopping sandwich featured sausage or bacon, egg and American cheese between two pieces of French toast. Available all day, it came with a side of syrup and was the ultimate weekend indulgence.

a sandwich sitting on top of a table

2016: The Whopperito, Burger King

It shouldn’t have worked but it really did. In 2016, Burger King in the US started selling the Whopperito, a Tex-Mex burger. It had all the Whopper ingredients – beef, onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese and pickles – minus mayo, plus spicy cheese sauce, in a flour tortilla and people utterly loved it.

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