Bizarre and beloved McDonald's menu items you may never see again

William Wei/Business InsiderMcDonald’s has tried offering some pretty strange foods in the past.


The McDLT was reportedly first introduced to customers in 1984. The name — similar to that of the well-known BLT sandwich of bacon, lettuce, and tomato — stands for McDonald’s, lettuce, and tomato.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderThe McDLT advertised as a fresh sandwich.

Source: BuzzFeed


The McDLT was a way for the fast-food chain to offer customers the freshest version of its burger possible: It was essentially a deconstructed sandwich served in styrofoam to keep the hot parts — the patty — hot and the cold parts — the lettuce and tomato — cold.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderHere you can see the cold ingredients on the left and the hot ingredients on the right.

Source: Reader’s Digest, Business Insider, Smithsonian


Environmentally-conscious customers — and environmental activists in general — didn’t like the fact that the burger was being served in styrofoam. Because of the packaging backlash, the item was discontinued from US restaurants in 1991.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderThe styrofoam container is pictured above.

Source: Business Insider


McDonald’s took another stab at revamping its original burgers in 1991 when it announced the McLean Deluxe — a proposed healthier alternative to the regular McDonald’s hamburger.

Al Freni/Contributor/Getty ImagesAdvertisements said the McLean Deluxe was 91% fat free.

Source: Business Insider


It was marketed as being low fat with a patty made using beef, water, and a seaweed extract called carrageenan. The water replaced the original patty formula’s fat content and the carrageenan was used to bind the water to the beef.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderYou can see the breakdown of the patty here.

Source: Business Insider


The on-trend, lean burger wasn’t much of a hit when it came to orders, though. It was pulled from US menus in 1996.

Star Tribune via Getty Images/Contributor/Getty ImagesThe McLean didn’t look much different from a regular McDonald’s hamburger.

Source: Business Insider


But with one item out, another was tapped in: The Arch Deluxe was put on the menu in 1996. It was marketed as the adult option on the fast-food menu. The sandwich came on a bigger bun …

McDonald’s/Business InsiderYou can see the seam in the bun and the dripping special sauce here.

Source: Business Insider


… and was advertised as gourmet. It didn’t hit the predicted $US1 billion sales mark and was pulled from US menus after roughly one year.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderCommercials made the sandwich look like it was crafted by gourmet chefs.

Source: Business Insider


Previously failed attempts at amping up traditional burgers didn’t stop McDonald’s from trying again and again. A collection of burgers called the Angus Third Pounders first appeared on the menu in 2009.

Jamie Rector/Stringer/Getty ImagesTwo of the burgers are pictured here.

Source: Huffington Post


Reportedly a victim of high consumer price, the line was cut from the US menu around 2013. The lineup featured options with bacon and red onion, swiss cheese, and a more classic version with red onions.

Jamie Rector/Stringer/Getty ImagesThis version featured swiss cheese.

Source: Huffington Post


McDonald’s didn’t just experiment with burgers, though. The chain put Mighty Wings on its US menu in 1990 and took them off in 2003.

William Wei/Business InsiderOne order was a box of five bone-in wings.

Source: The Street


After being regionally tested around 2013, the wings re-appeared on menus across the country but quickly proved to be a failure yet again. The Street cites high prices and high levels of heat in the breading as reasons why customers weren’t buying this bone-in chicken option.

Desiree Navarro/Contributor/Getty ImagesCelebrities celebrated the return of the Mighty Wings.

Source: The Street


Another premium fried chicken option hit the US menu in 2002: Chicken Selects. The price was slightly higher than other menu items, but The New York Times reported they were extremely popular. The challenge, according to The Times, was that McDonald’s couldn’t keep up with demand.

Tim Boyle/Staff/Getty ImagesChicken Selects came in a standard order of three strips.

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times


The Selects, which were chicken tenders made with all-white meat chicken breast, were pulled from the menu in 2013. They came back for a brief time in 2015, but haven’t been on offer since.

Tim Boyle/Staff/Getty ImagesA sign for chicken selects in 2004 pictured above.

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times


McDonald’s began offering Buttermilk Crispy Tenders in the US in 2017. One reviewer said they’re basically “Chicken Selects 2.0,” but the company has said it’s made improvements regarding the quality of the meat and the sauce options.

Dennis Green/Business InsiderButtermilk Crispy Tenders pictured here. They are available in a 10-piece order.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider


Rather than abruptly pulling the three-piece order of Selects from nation-wide menus, though, McDonald’s tried to ween customers off of them by subtly replacing the option with Snack Wraps — a small wrap made with a single chicken select.

Johannes Simon/Staff/Getty ImagesOriginal snack wrap not pictured above.

Source: The New York Times


The Times reported that the Snack Wrap took off in Europe, which prompted McDonald’s to develop a larger, more substantial version. Enter: the McWrap.

Vince Talotta/Contributor/Getty ImagesThere were several different versions of the McWrap released.

Source: The New York Times


McDonald’s tried to bring the newer, bigger wrap to the US, but it didn’t go over well with the American audience. It took roughly 60 seconds to assemble, whereas McDonald’s hamburgers take closer to 10 seconds. Not only did people refrain from ordering the McWrap, but experts say the wait time contributed to McDonald’s actually losing out on existing customers, who likely weren’t there for the wrap at all.

Mike Blake/ReutersPrep time slowed down the drive-through process.

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times


McDonald’s has had several versions of wrapped meals on its menu over the years …

Johannes Simon/Staff/Getty ImagesDifferent global markets also feature unique versions — like the chicken wraps seen here in Munich, Germany, in 2008.

Source: Business Insider


… including chicken fajitas. The chain tried to make a foray into Tex Mex cuisine, but pulled the fajitas in the ’90s, according to Business Insider.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderThe fajitas were made with peppers, chicken, and cheese, and they were served with a packet of salsa.

Source: Business Insider


In addition to tortillas, McDonald’s has also been known to cloak some meals in bread. In 1993, McDonald’s baked French bread, stuffed it with different filling combinations and called it McStuffins.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderAds for McStuffins said the bread was baked on-site every day.

Source: Business Insider


There were several flavour varieties including pepperoni pizza and chicken teriyaki. Eat This, Not That reported that they weren’t popular with customers and were taken off of US menus in less than a year.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderThey looked like Hot Pockets.

Source: Business Insider, Complex, Eat This, Not That


McStuffins wasn’t the first time pepperoni was used at McDonald’s — the late ’80s saw the addition of McDonald’s Pizza to US menus.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderFunnily enough, it wasn’t called McPizza.

Source: Business Insider


But competition in the fast-food pizza business was fierce, and legacy companies like Domino’s and Pizza Hut ultimately remained on top.

Sunday Alamba/AP ImagesDomino’s, seen here, was one of the restaurants that dominated fast-food pizza.

Source: Business Insider


Cosmopolitan reported that long prep time was to blame for the mass discontinuation of McDonald’s Pizza in 2000. But two locations held onto the menu item until 2017, when corporate finally called for the official end to the chain’s attempt at pizza.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderMcDonald’s Pizza featured different toppings.

Source: Cosmopolitan, Grub Street


While adding pineapple as a pizza topping for McDonald’s may have been worth a try, the Hula Burger — a sandwich featuring a slice of grilled pineapple and two slices of cheese — did not. This sandwich was first introduced in the ’60s.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderThe Hula Burger is pictured here.

Source: Business Insider


The sandwich was supposed to solve the problem of slow business on Fridays in Catholic areas of the US where customers abstained from meat for the day.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderIt was essentially a pineapple and cheese sandwich.

Source: Business Insider


One Cincinnati McDonald’s proposed the Hula Burger and another meatless option, the Filet-O-Fish, as a solution. The two sandwiches were pit against one another, and ultimately the fish variation sold more than the pineapple.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderThe Hula Burger (left) and the Filet-O-Fish (right).

Source: Business Insider


The Hula Burger was discontinued immediately, and the Filet-O-Fish is still on the menu today.

Hollis JohnsonFilet-O-Fish pictured here.

Source: Business Insider


Another fleeting, mainly-meatless menu item was the McSalad Shaker — the line of salads made its menu debut in 2000. McSalad Shakers were essentially to-go salads that were served in a plastic cup.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderCustomers could shake up the ingredients with one hand.

Source:

Business Insider


It came in three different varieties: chef salad, grilled chicken Ceasar salad, and garden salad. All of them were discontinued in 2003 to make room for a regular salad-in-a-bowl option.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderChef salad (left), grilled chicken Ceasar (centre), and garden salad (right).

Source:Business Insider, Fandom


Onion Nuggets — the non-meat precursor to Chicken McNuggets — made their menu debut in the 1970s. It’s not clear when or why they were discontinued, but they haven’t been spotted on a McDonald’s US menu in a while.

McDonald’s/Business InsiderChunks of onion were battered and fried.

Source: BuzzFeed, Business Insider


Chicken McNuggets, though, proved to be enough of a hit that they’re still around today. In 1998, McDonald’s ran a special promotion in the US for Disney’s then-new movie “Mulan.” The chain sold Szechuan McNuggets with Szechuan dipping sauce.

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderA Chicken McNugget dipped in Szechuan sauce is seen here.

Source: Business Insider


The themed-meal was a limited-time offer in honour of the movie, but customers loved the sauce and wanted more.

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderThe sauce worked its way into the hearts of customers.

Source: Business Insider


McDonald’s brought back the sauce for one day in 2017, but couldn’t quite nail the ratio of supply to demand. There wasn’t enough to go around, which led to bidding wars and even riots. By the time they made enough in 2018, customers seemed to have lost interest, according to Business Insider.

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderSzechuan sauce pictured here.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, Business Insider


The McDonald’s stateside graveyard also includes well-known options like the Super Size — the biggest size option for certain menu items like fries and drinks — the Big N’ Tasty burger …

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesSuper Size fries, seen here, were the largest size customers could order.

Source: Business Insider, Huffington Post, Complex


… and Orange Hi-C soda.

McDonald’sThe McDonald’s menu online shows that the drink is unavailable nation-wide.

Source: Business Insider, Huffington Post, Complex


But it also features some more bizarre attempts at variety like McSpaghetti — which is still available in the Philippines …

imwaltersy/ShutterstockMcSpaghetti, seen here, is no longer available in the US.

Source: Popsugar


… Eggs Benedict McMuffin, and even McSoup.

Hollis JohnsonRegular Egg McMuffin pictured here. The Eggs Benedict McMuffin was similar but featured hollandaise sauce.

Source: Business Insider


There are some McDonald’s legends that have gone by the wayside. But others, like the original Dollar Menu, have gotten a bit of a face life and reappeared — McDonald’s menus now feature a $US1, $US2, $US3 Dollar Menu. As the chain has proven, just because a menu item has been discontinued, doesn’t mean it’s gone for good.

Jeff Greenberg/Contributor/Getty ImagesMcDonald’s value menu was called the Dollar Menu.

Source: CNN

Jessica Tyler contributed reporting on an earlier version of this article.

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