25 Fast Food Menu Items We May Never Get Back

Discontinued fast food items
Discontinued fast food items - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Fast food is so much more than just burgers and fries. Companies invest millions into research and marketing to get our attention and are always trying to invent something new to compete for diners' dollars. While some novel dishes turn out to be wild successes, others fall short and are buried in the proverbial graveyard of gastronomic follies. Many discontinued fast food menu items reflect broader food trends, like the low fat craze of the 1990s and the low carb diets of the 2000s. And while some of these dishes have cult followings, others were quietly wiped away from our collective culinary memory without a trace.

Most people have probably seen dozens of culinary inventions appear and disappear from fast food restaurants. If you've felt the pang of disappointment when you see that your favorite sandwich or burger is no longer on the menu, then this article is for you. Read on to find out about 25 fast food items we may never get back.

Read more: 19 Popular Pizza Chains, Ranked From Worst To Best

McDonald's McDLT

McDonald's McDLT sandwich
McDonald's McDLT sandwich - McDonald's (via Mike Mackler/Facebook)

Have you ever stopped while eating a burger and thought, "I wish the ingredients in this burger were different temperatures"? Neither has anybody else, which is why the McDonald's McDLT was so odd.

This failed McDonald's burger with the hot side and cold side served separately required a special polystyrene packaging that was not exactly eco-friendly. One side of the package contained a burger patty and a bottom bun while the other had a top bun, lettuce, and other toppings. With the McDLT put to rest in 1991, seemingly never to return, it remains one of the less commendable McDonald's experiments.

Wendy's Fresh Stuffed Pitas

Wendy's pita sandwich
Wendy's pita sandwich - Wendy's (via @JRLiveNow/X, formerly known as Twitter)

When you think of Wendy's, a pita bread stuffed with lettuce and chicken is hardly the first thing that comes to mind. But in an attempt to offer something different to the customer base, Wendy's added its fresh stuffed pitas to the menu in 1997. Offered in four varieties (ranch chicken, classic Greek, garden veggie, and chicken Caesar), these pitas were marketed to women in particular as a healthy, fresh alternative to greasy burgers.

But despite the fact that people generally loved the pitas, this item met its end in 2000. If you're one of the many die-hard fans of the fresh stuffed pitas, a quick Google search shows that there are several copycat recipes available online.

Arby's Pizza Slider

Arby's pizza slider
Arby's pizza slider - Arby's (via @SteveBishopV100/X, formerly known as Twitter)

Although Arby's isn't famous for its mastery of classic Italian flavors, this fast food joint released the pizza slider in 2017. The tiny sandwich, which only cost $1, was part of a daily offering of sliders that the company put on the market -- and while some of them survived to the present day, the pizza slider did not.

Composed of pepperoni, salami, cheese, and roasted garlic marinara sauce, the pizza slider was served on a bite-size bun. Unfortunately for those interested individuals looking for a taste of Italy at Arby's, the pizza slider was discontinued in 2021.

Burger King's Cini-Minis

Burger King Cini-Minis
Burger King Cini-Minis - @yaolsa/X, formerly known as Twitter

As a society, we've all pretty much agreed that the middle of a cinnamon roll is the best part, right? Which is perhaps why Burger King introduced Cini-Minis in the late '90s. So beloved was this sweet breakfast item that a 2016 Change.org petition dubbed "Demand Burger King bring back Cini-Minis" has received over 5,500 signatures.

While many items on this list lasted only a few years, Cini-Minis were around for a whopping 18. In 2018, die-hard Cini-Mini fans rejoiced when the franchise brought them back ... but for just about a month.

McDonald's McSalad Shakers

McDonald's McSalad Shakers
McDonald's McSalad Shakers - McDonald's (via @AbriannaBurton/X, formerly known as Twitter)

It was the new millennium, and salad was all the rage. McDonald's came up with the idea of putting greens and toppings in a plastic cup with a lid so you could shake everything up with dressing to get all the ingredients coated. Thus, the McSalad Shaker was born.

The three varieties included grilled chicken Caesar, chef (which had ham, turkey, egg, and cheese), and garden for the vegetarians. Once customers chose a dressing, they could pour it in and shake it up. The McSalad Shaker only lasted three years. While it was replaced by another salad line, some McDonald's enthusiasts are still keen to revive the old DIY treat.

Pizza Hut's Bigfoot

Pizza Hut's Bigfoot pizza
Pizza Hut's Bigfoot pizza - Pizza Hut (via @GregBruhl3/X, formerly known as Twitter)

Do you believe in Bigfoot? How about the Bigfoot pizza from Pizza Hut? Arguably barely more credible than its mythological namesake, this massive rectangular pizza pie measured one foot wide by two feet long and was sliced up into 21 slices.

The Bigfoot made its appearance during the early '90s and -- thanks to a massive advertising campaign -- helped earn Pizza Hut a whopping $5.7 billion in 1993. You could get up to six toppings on your Bigfoot. The Meaty Madness option, for example, was topped with pepperoni, ham, beef, and pork. Unfortunately, cooking up a Bigfoot order was considered a "logistical nightmare," per YesterYear Retro. The massive, rectangular pies often resulted in messy presentation and leftover dough that was later thrown out. They were unsurprisingly discontinued.

McDonald's Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich

McDonald's chopped beefsteak sandwich
McDonald's chopped beefsteak sandwich - MrClassicAds1980s/YouTube

The year was 1979. President Jimmy Carter was in the White House, inflation was in the double digits, and McDonald's released the chopped beefsteak sandwich at select locations. This oblong sandwich was made with beef, slivered onions, and steak sauce on a French roll. It was meant to pair with McDonald's onion nuggets, which were also lost in the sands of time.

But timing is everything. The economic headwinds of the late '70s made this relatively expensive sandwich a hard sell, especially considering diners could only order it after 4 p.m. Still, many lament the end of the chopped beefsteak sandwich.

Burger King's Shake 'Em Up Fries

Shake 'Em Up Fries
Shake 'Em Up Fries - Burger King (via @dinosaurdracula/Instagram)

Who doesn't love a little DIY? Well, apparently enough people to make Burger King's Shake 'Em Up Fries a thing of the past.

With this 2002 kids' menu item, customers would take regular fries, put them in a bag with "as much delicious cheese flavor as you like," according to a commercial that aired at the time, and shake it. But unlike powdered, processed cheese to a french fry, Shake 'Em Up Fries didn't stick. This item was shaken off Burger King's menu shortly after it was released.

McDonald's McPizza

McDonald's pizza box
McDonald's pizza box - McDonald's (via @AnitaCoffeee/X, formerly known as Twitter)

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that's ... McDonald's? While there are many fast food franchises that specialize in pizza, McDonald's wanted a slice of the market in the late '80s when it unveiled the McDonald's pizza, aka the McPizza.

The pizza was axed from the menu because the oven meant to heat the pies took up to 16 minutes for a single pizza, far too long for McDonald's customers used to a quick bite. While there is still one location in Orlando where you can order a McDonald's pie, the item has been otherwise discontinued.

Wendy's SuperBar

Wendy's SuperBar buffet
Wendy's SuperBar buffet - ewjxn/YouTube

Where did Mexican and Italian cuisines collide headlong with an all-you-can-eat salad bar? At the Wendy's SuperBar in the late 1980s. For one low price, customers could fill up on DIY tacos, pasta, and veggies. It seemed too good to be true, which is perhaps why it didn't last.

After several years of the SuperBar, Wendy's noted that customers were taking "all-you-can-eat" a little too seriously. It stopped turning a profit -- plus, the buffet proved difficult for employees to maintain. By 1998, the beloved SuperBar was no more.

McDonald's Arch Deluxe

McDonald's Arch Deluxe
McDonald's Arch Deluxe - McDonald's (via @GoodFoodMusic/X, formerly known as Twitter)

Of all the flops that McDonald's has undergone through the years, the Arch Deluxe may well be the single biggest. McDonald's head chef Andrew Selvaggio created the burger in 1996 for a sophisticated clientele with a sharp palate. Unfortunately, after spending about $200 million on advertising, the Arch Deluxe never took off.

Although it boasted stone-ground mustard, bacon, and a bakery-style roll, McDonald's is just not the place for a luxury dining experience. The Arch Deluxe was not without its fans, but there were not enough to save the sandwich from extinction, a fate which befell it in 2000.

Taco Bell's Waffle Taco

Taco Bell's waffle taco
Taco Bell's waffle taco - Taco Bell (via UberFacts/X, formerly known as Twitter)

McDonald's has the Egg McMuffin and Burger King has the Croissan'wich, so Taco Bell wanted its moment in the morning sun, too. The waffle taco featured a crispy waffle taco shell that held sausage or bacon, eggs, and cheese and came with a side of syrup. This sweet and savory concoction was released in 2014 alongside a roster of new items that constituted Taco Bell's new breakfast menu -- which has since included another type of breakfast taco with scrambled eggs, cheese, and protein wrapped in a toasted tortilla.

While other items (like the breakfast Crunchwrap) survived, the waffle taco lasted only a year before it was discontinued in 2015. Maybe the world just wasn't ready for a waffle taco.

Wendy's Frescata Sandwiches

Wendy's Frescata sandwiches
Wendy's Frescata sandwiches - Analog Memories/YouTube

When you think about deli sandwiches, Wendy's is not the first name that comes to mind. The chain is known for serving up other fast food hits like the Baconator and bowls of chili con carne. Wendy's tried to change that in 2006 with the introduction of the Frescata sandwich. This line featured four options to choose from, including black forest ham and Swiss and roasted turkey and Swiss.

The reason Wendy's Frescata sandwich was a failure was because, unlike sandwich giant Subway, Wendy's doesn't specialize in cold cuts. These sandwiches didn't last long and were last seen in 2007.

McDonald's Hula Burger

McDonald's Hula burger
McDonald's Hula burger - McDonald's (via @Snack_Memories/X, formerly known as Twitter)

If it seems wild to you that McDonald's once released a hamburger that had a slice of pineapple instead of a meat patty, you're not alone. The rise and immediate fall of McDonald's Hula burger hardly seems surprising in hindsight.

The vegetarian burger alternative was created with Catholics, who didn't eat meat during the Lenten season, in mind. During the 1960s, when the Hula burger briefly hit menus, McDonald's also released the Filet-O-Fish. The restaurant's McPlant burger also failed to impress following its short-lived 2022 rollout. But the Filet-O-Fish, of course, has endured until this day as a staple of the McDonald's menu for anybody who is avoiding beef or chicken.

KFC's Double Down

KFC's Double Down
KFC's Double Down - KFC (via @OrdinarySausage/X, formerly known as Twitter)

If you were on the internet in 2010, you remember KFC's Double Down sandwich. Instead of bread, the bacon, pepper jack cheese, and sauce that made up the inside of the Double Down were placed between two pieces of deep-fried chicken. You can practically hear the collective gasp coming from cardiologists across the country.

At the time of the Double Down's debut, the high-protein, low-carb Atkins diet was having a moment. But that seems like no excuse for this overly meaty fast food item to come into existence. It packed a whopping 540 calories and 30 grams of fat. That said, the KFC Double Down certainly brought diners comfort and joy before its 2014 discontinuation -- and it was still popular enough to be resurrected for a short time in 2023.

Pizza Hut's Triple Deckeroni

Pizza Hut's Triple Deckeroni
Pizza Hut's Triple Deckeroni - Analog Memories/YouTube

For people who loved pepperoni pizza, 1997 was a great year. That's because Pizza Hut launched the Triple Deckeroni pizza, which was essentially a pizza on top of a pizza. Let's go through this dish's layers: A thin layer of crust was covered in cheese and pepperoni, which was covered in another layer of crust that was topped cheese, sauce, and pepperoni.

This hot, cheesy pile of pizza lasted for about three years, when it received the Insider pizza revamp. But the Insider was then discontinued in 2002, thus ending the Triple Deckeroni dynasty. Pizza Hut has not disclosed why the pizza was discontinued.

McDonald's McLean Deluxe

McDonald's McLean Deluxe
McDonald's McLean Deluxe - McDonald's (via @Snack_Memories/X, formerly known as Twitter)

If you remember the early '90s, you'll recall that fat was the dietary enemy on everybody's mind. It seemed like restaurants were coming out with low-fat versions of everyday foods, and McDonald's was no exception. In 1991, the company unveiled the McLean Deluxe and promoted it as a low-fat alternative to its famously fatty and popular burgers.

The issue with that? Fat is delicious. Food scientists were brought in to help formulate the new patties using seaweed-derived compound chemicals called carrageans as a fat substitute. The experiment was a fantastic flop, and it ultimately left the menu in 1996.

Pizza Hut's P'Zone

Pizza Hut's P'Zone
Pizza Hut's P'Zone - Pizza Hut (via @FLOOKLYN/X, formerly known as Twitter)

While some of the items on this list seem like they never stood a chance, Pizza Hut's P'Zone, a calzone wrapped in parmesan encrusted dough paired with a marinara dipping sauce, seemed like a pretty good idea. And after the P'Zone was revealed during the 2002 Super Bowl, it proved wildly popular.

In fact, the P'Zone was so popular that it even came back for an encore in 2019, before disappearing again into pop culture history. Options available included the meaty (ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni, beef, and pork), supremo (sausage, onions, and green peppers), and pepperoni.

Domino's Oreo Dessert Pizza

Domino's Oreo dessert pizza
Domino's Oreo dessert pizza - @ChaseAndDogs/X, formerly known as Twitter

If you showed Domino's Oreo dessert pizza to an Italian, they'd likely scratch their heads and wonder what this sweet pie has to do with the word "pizza." Still, we know that Oreos are widely accepted as a smash hit cookie -- so why didn't this pie take off following its 2007 launch?

The cookie crust was covered in crumbled Oreos and a vanilla sauce, and customers generally reported that the whole affair was just too sugary. Also, the size of the dessert meant that diners had to commit to a whole pizza pie of dessert rather than a smaller portion.

Domino's Baked Apple Oven Dip

Domino's baked apple oven dip
Domino's baked apple oven dip - @dominos/X, formerly known as Twitter

Several fast food forays into dessert territory have ended in quiet tragedy. Domino's unveiled its new line of oven-baked dips to pair with bread twists in 2021, which featured two cheesy dips and the sweet baked apple oven dip. Its cheesy brothers survived, but the baked apple oven dip went extinct after about a year.

While some discontinuations result in public outrage, the disappearance of this gooey, sugary dip exited the menu without much fanfare. That's probably because several customers reported that it just wasn't very good. The bottom line: If you're craving that comforting apple pie flavor, eat an apple pie.

Burger King's Whopperito

Burger King's Whopperito
Burger King's Whopperito - TheStreet/YouTube

The Whopperito is exactly what it sounds like. In 2016, the ingredients of Burger King's signature Whopper (ground beef, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions) were wrapped in a warm tortilla and smothered with creamy queso sauce to create the Whopperito. Neither a burrito nor a burger, the Whopperito's search for culinary identity didn't even last a year before it was removed from menus.

It's not exactly among Burger King's coveted secret menu items, but if you were a big fan of the cross-genre concoction, you can still order a Whopper in a tortilla. The caveat: The queso sauce (a melted cheese sauce that was an essential Whopperito component) is no longer made at Burger King, so you won't get the true Whopperito experience.

Burger King's Fire-Grilled Ribs

Burger King's fire-grilled ribs
Burger King's fire-grilled ribs - mayormccheese9359/YouTube

It seems obvious that slow-cooked ribs shouldn't be on a fast food menu, but it didn't seem that way to Burger King executives in 2010, when the company released its fire-grilled ribs. While some reviews of the ribs were relatively positive, others complained that the ribs were tough and dry. Customers also reported that the ribs were disappointingly tiny and offered at a higher price point than most other menu items.

Unfortunately for lovers of Burger King's ribs, they never caught on. And if you take one glance at the sad-looking charred chunks of ribs, you can see why.

Pizza Hut's Priazzo

Pizza Hut's Priazzo
Pizza Hut's Priazzo - Scott Andrew/YouTube

With 1 pound of cheese and a height of 1 ¼ inches, Pizza Hut's Priazzo was a behemoth when it hit the menu in 1985. The pizza pies were made with two crusts, which sandwiched cheese and a range of toppings, which were then topped with cheese and tomato sauce. They were even baked in specially made pans that could accommodate the massive pies.

Unlike many of the items on this list, the Priazzo was a smash hit when it first came out, earning Pizza Hut hundreds of millions of dollars. While we can't know for sure why customers eventually lost interest in the Priazzo (theories range from its unwieldy size to its long cooking time), it was last seen in 1993.

Taco Bell's Caramel Apple Empanada

Taco Bell's caramel apple empanada
Taco Bell's caramel apple empanada - @MaraliGrace/X, formerly known as Twitter

As seen in our own ranking, not all fast food desserts are created equal, and some can even go horribly awry. Fortunately for Taco Bell, this was not the case for the caramel apple empanada. But this dessert was mysteriously discontinued in 2019, even though it had been a popular menu item for 15 years.

When you opened one of these delicious dessert empanadas, it would steam invitingly, offering the sweet smell of apples mixed with the hot, bready scent of the dough. Furious fans of the caramel apple empanada have called for its reinstatement, but so far to no avail.

Chick-Fil-A's Cinnamon Cluster

Chick-fil-A's cinnamon cluster
Chick-fil-A's cinnamon cluster - Chickfila/YouTube

Pushed together in an attractive formation and drizzled with icing, Chick-fil-A's cinnamon clusters were a beloved item on the chain's breakfast menu from 2005 until 2016. They were made with eggs, butter, and a blend of cinnamon and vanilla.

The company never said why they were knocked off the menu. However, Chick-fil-A released a tear-jerking YouTube video, complete with dramatic music, to bid this beloved breakfast item farewell. For now, breakfast diners will have to make do with the other offerings on the franchise's breakfast menu.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.