Fast food restaurants have been experimenting with their menus for as long as they’ve existed, doing everything from changing their names to coming up with contests that will lure more customers to their door. But not every new scheme or addition to the menu ends up being a success, as the long list of McDonald’s items that are no longer available shows us.
Some ideas sounded delicious in theory, but failed in execution, while others were foiled by external forces like nationwide recession and a burgeoning environmental movement. Yet we can’t help but drool a little over some of the McDonald’s foods of yesteryear. McNuggets are great, but what if they were actually made from onions? And we all love American cheese on our burgers, but cheddar cheese sauce sounds even better.
Nevertheless, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to order most of these foods from McDonald’s again, no matter how tasty they sound.
The McDLT had a lot in common with other burgers. It featured a quarter-pound beef patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and other toppings. But what made it really unique was the packaging.
McDonald’s decided their burgers would be better if the beef could stay hot while the cold toppings (especially veggies) could stay cold. They invented a special polystyrene container that separated the bottom bun and beef patty from the top bun and toppings, with the plan being that the customer would then assemble the two halves when ready to eat.
Sadly, not even a spirited commercial featuring pre-Seinfeld fame Jason Alexander could spark long-term interest in the burger. McDonald’s says it was discontinued due to concerns over the environmental impact of polystyrene (Styrofoam). The rest of their items are traditionally served wrapped in paper, or in cardboard boxes, and without the special container there was no way to keep the cold and hot halves of the McDLT separate from one another. A McDonald’s grillmaster also explained that it was hard to keep both sides at temp while they awaited customers, and without the gimmick it was just another sandwich. Thus, the burger was discontinued in 1991.
When it comes to food kids love, pizza and Happy Meals are pretty common picks. So it’s no surprise that, at least for a time, McDonald’s decided to start selling pizza.
Originally added to menus in Canada, the McPizza made its way to the USA in the ’80s and was sold nationwide. Unfortunately, because it took so long to make (and because it was much pricier than a hamburger), McPizza was removed from most locations by the late ’90s.
But not all of them! Until 2017, two McDonald’s locations (one in Pomeroy, Ohio, and one in Spencer, West Virginia) were still selling pizza, but they were asked by corporate to remove it from the menu. Now, there’s only one location left to get a taste of McPizza in the USA, and that’s in Orlando, Florida.
Known as "Epic McD" and the "World’s Largest Entertainment McDonald’s & PlayPlace," the Orlando restaurant sells family-sized and personal pizzas, along with other rarely seen items like ravioli. There’s no telling how long it’ll be before they’re asked to remove these fun foods from their own menu, so if you’re intrigued you should start planning your Orlando road trip now.