Breakfast at McDonald’s Has Always Been Special

I took my family on vacation this past week, and on the drive out of town the first morning, my mind started wandering while I was driving. The sun was up in the blue sky on a warm summer day, and I was headed down the highway. So my mind wandered back to many of the trips I took as a kid with my dad.

I’ve probably explained before but my dad traveled a lot when I was young, and in the summer, I would go on trips with him if he was only going to be gone for a couple of days. There was nothing quite like climbing into the front seat of his truck and pulling out on a sunny summer morning and hitting the road for the day.

It was the trips where we headed north that I really enjoyed, and that’s because we’d always stop at McDonald’s for breakfast. Now back in the mid to late 80s, the closest McDonald’s was 40 miles up the highway. While we had a McDonald’s just 12 miles south of us, we never stopped at it when we’d go south. But when going north we’d always stop. Can you imagine in today’s world not having a McDonald’s closer than 40 miles away?

The ad above represents the breakfast I remember from those days. Back then, they didn’t have biscuits on the menu yet, only the English muffins. I remember getting the Big Breakfast and enjoying the toasted English muffin with grape jelly. And I remember sitting there with my dad talking about the things we’d see along the route of the trip and feeling a lot bigger than I was. After breakfast was over I’d grab an extra coffee stirrer to play with in the truck, and we’d climb back in, push the Willie Nelson tape into the 8-track player, and hit the road again, with smiles on our faces.

Breakfast at McDonald’s always feels special to me. Even if I’m just hitting the drive-thru on my way to work in the mornings, there’s still a little magic in it thanks to those special stops years ago. And those are the memories that came back to me as we were rolling down the highway on vacation last week.

I’ll give you one guess as to where we stopped for breakfast.

Taco Bell’s Texas Taco Sandwich of 1995

The Texas Taco Sandwich hit the market in 1995 with a fun commercial starring Jack Palance. Palance was coming off a resurgence thanks to the movies City Slickers and City Slickers II, so he lent credibility to Taco Bell’s latest offering with a Texas flair. I was driving by the time this came out, so as soon as I saw the first commercials, I was making my run for the border to try one.

It featured Taco Bell’s traditional taco profile of seasoned ground beef or chicken, lettuce, and cheese, but also added diced tomatoes and a “special southwest sauce”. Some folks say they remember, and others theorize, that the southwest sauce on this was the same sauce used on the Bacon Cheeseburger Burrito that was also released in 1995 as part of another promotion. The real focal point of the Texas Taco Sandwich though was the shell. It was advertised as “Texas flatbread”, which was unique for the time since it was thicker than a tortilla shell. I personally can’t confirm this, but I believe it was an early version of the Gordita shell they would debut in 1998.

The Texas Taco Sandwich was a unique item that captured my attention, as well as my taste buds while it was on the menu. I do seem to remember it being larger than the later Gordita, but it probably had to be since it was marketed as being associated with Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas I hear.

Pumpkin Spice Frosty

The 2023 Halloween junk food season is a good one so far. I highlighted a variety of our finds last week, but the hunts continue so there is probably another couple of those posts to come. But for this post, I want to focus on a single item…the new Pumpkin Spice Frosty from Wendy’s.

I didn’t have to seek this one out…it came to me. About three weeks ago, our friend Tony from Retro-Daze posed a question to everyone in the TRN Clubhouse. He asked if anyone had heard anything about a Pumpkin Spice Frosty. Until I read his question I had not. But I have an inside source as my youngest daughter works at Wendy’s. I immediately went to her and posed the same question. She gave me a look and said that she really wasn’t supposed to say anything. I kept staring at her until she said she didn’t know, but that a button for a Pumpkin Spice Frosty had appeared on the cash register. That was all the confirmation I needed.

I told her that when they were available I’d like to try one. Then a couple of days later the official news broke that it was indeed a thing. Fast forward to this past Sunday when she came home from work with a sample size of the new fall treat for me to try.

I want to say something before I go any further. I’m a guy who feels like there is only one kind of Frosty, and that’s the original chocolate version that we all grew up with. A few years ago they started rolling out vanilla and strawberry options, but to me, those aren’t Frostys. The only thing I have to say to defend this position is that I’m old, stubborn, and set in my ways.

Anyway, I gave this new Pumpkin Spice Frosty a try and it’s not bad. It’s certainly good enough to have another before the season is over. Mine was a little melted by the time it reached my hands so that may have something to do with my feelings on it. As in, it’s good, but not over-the-moon good. I still prefer the chocolate.

But at the same time, it’s good enough that it’s worth going to get one if you like pumpkin spice things in general. I just wish they would call their non-chocolate creations something besides a Frosty. That name should be reserved for the original. And if you want to know more about what I think about Wendy’s and its offerings through the years, you can check out my post The Things I Miss About Wendy’s. Everyone else on the internet has, and you should too.

Hardee’s Fried Chicken of the 90s

Hardees Fried Chicken

Like most other American households in the 1980s, when my family wanted fried chicken, we got it from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not KFC, but Kentucky Fried Chicken. We weren’t all metro back in those days using just the initials to identify the fast food chain. Other than the price, not much has changed from then to now. You can still get an 8-piece bucket of chicken, along with two family sides, and four biscuits. It’s an American staple at this point.

But then in the early ’90s comes Hardees with their fried chicken offerings. The chain had purchased the Roy Rogers chain and started using their recipe to sell fried chicken in a good deal of their locations. Not having a Roy Rogers anywhere close to here, we were totally unfamiliar with their brand of chicken.

Coupon for Hardee’s Fried Chicken Family Meal, Johnson City Press 1995

My family was a little skeptical in the beginning for a couple of reasons. One was the fact that here is this burger chain selling fried chicken all of a sudden. It was as foreign of a concept as Kentucky Fried Chicken starting to sell Big Macs would have been. And two, how is anyone going to compete with the Colonel’s secret blend of herbs and spices? Well, the answer to that part is they couldn’t, but Hardee’s could certainly compete with the Colonel’s extra crispy recipe. The chicken at Hardee’s was of the extra crispy variety, which I loved, but the bigger draw was the biscuits.

The biscuits at Hardee’s have always been at the top of the fast food biscuit world, and because they were now selling fried chicken, you could get their signature biscuits at any time during the day. It was almost like a little slice of heaven had fallen to earth. But the chicken and biscuits combo proved to be a good one, and for a while there, my family switched to Hardees when the craving for fried chicken hit, and we didn’t really go away from it until Hardee’s pulled it from their menus around these parts. But I still think back on it and remember fondly all of the weekends at the lake, busy evenings after school, and Sunday afternoons eating Hardee’s fried chicken and biscuits while watching my NASCAR with my old man.

McDonald’s Patty McMelt of 1995

McDonalds Patty McMelt

I have a deep nostalgic connection to the McDonald’s Taste of the Month promotion from 1995. Maybe it’s because I was driving and able to go get things for myself, or maybe because I worked across the street from a Mcdonald’s. But whatever the reason, I loved a lot of the special items they rolled out that year as part of the promotion, and this Patty McMelt is near the top of my list of promotional menu items.

I’m still trying to track down info on the releases for each month that year, and I’ve not found suitable info on this one yet. But I do know that it came out early in the year, as in January, February, or March. I know this because I remember it being cold and snowy when I was enjoying them. I’m a sucker for a patty melt, and this version was pretty good. I’m not sure what the slice of Canadian bacon had to do with a patty melt, but they threw a piece on this sandwich, and somehow it fits. Their grilled onions could have been a little more grilled for my tastes, but that minor squabble aside, McDonald’s version of a Patty Melt is worth remembering.

Most people have little or no memory of it existing, and the commercial below is about the only reference I’ve ever been able to find about it online. I’ve made the plea before, but I’m going to make it again…if you know anything about any of the taste of the month promotions from 1995, please get in touch with me. Any info at all, no matter how big or how little the detail would be appreciated. The Arch Deluxe made its debut as part of the promotion in my area, and my favorite of the lot, the Super Hero Burger, was part of it, but I still have a lot of gaps in my knowledge.

McDonald’s McPasta

McDonald’s has tried a lot of off-the-wall menu items in their time. Some are fondly remembered like the McD.L.T., and others are still scorned to this day (I’m looking at you here Arch Deluxe). But a few products have come along that most of the population totally missed out on, and McPasta was one of them.

In 1990, McDonald’s decided they would try to add some entrees to their menu that weren’t hamburgers or Chicken McNuggets in hopes of bringing in more dinner time business. They dreamed up this concept of McPasta dishes and roasted chicken and felt sure it would be a big hit. Before they released it to the masses though, they went the test market route.

A small area in New York was selected, some stores in Ohio, and a chain of franchise stores in Northeast Tennessee for this new line of McPasta products. Fortunately, I lived in a part of southern Virginia where that Tennessee-based franchisee had two locations, and they put the product in those two stores as well.

What they offered was a selection of Spaghetti, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Lasagna, and Fettuccine Alfredo. Each dish came with a garlic breadstick as well. They also decided to offer tender roasted chicken as a side item, as well as mashed potatoes. How those last two items fit into the McPasta lineup I’ve yet to figure out. I guess it didn’t have to fit the “pasta” side of things, as it fell into the overall “dinner” category they were going for.

To be honest, the only one I ever tried was the Fettuccine…..and I thought it was awesome! For the six-month period they were testing the line in my area, it’s what I ordered on every trip to the golden arches. My Mom loved it too, and since my Dad was out-of-town a lot, she felt it was easier to just run to McDonald’s and pick up a couple of Fettuccine platters for the two of us instead of cooking, so I got to have the pasta goodness a lot.

Imagine my sadness one day when I went to order my favorite McPasta dish only to be told it was no longer available. I listened in horror as the lady at the counter relayed the info to my Mom and me that it had been a test product, and she had no way of knowing if it would be added back to the menu or not.

As the weeks and months passed by, I would continue to inquire about it on every trip to Happy Meal land. And every time I was disappointed. After a while, I came to the sad conclusion that McPasta wasn’t coming back at all.

For years I reminisced about it, only to find it strange when other people had no idea what the heck I was talking about. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why no one had even heard of McDonald’s McPasta. Then one day it popped into my brain and I searched it out on the internet. It was there that I discovered that it had been a test product with just a very limited release, and that’s why everyone thought I was crazy when I would bring it up.

Here is a transcript of an article from the Aug. 04, 1992 edition of the Chicago Tribune detailing the end of the test. And if you read it all the way through, you’ll see mention of their pizza being tested at the time as well:

McDonald`s has decided to give test-marketing of pasta and tender-basted chicken a breather.

Those dinner-menu items have been yanked from test markets in New York and Tennessee, where 70 of the fast-service firm`s 8,700 domestic stores were involved in gauging consumer response.

McDonald`s stock on the New York Stock Exchange took it on the chin Monday, dropping $1.12 to close at $42.75 on news of the pullout.

Wall Street analysts were unimpressed with McDonald`s decision to return the pasta, including lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, and fettucine alfredo; and chicken, including chicken breast, to test kitchens at its Oak Brook headquarters. However, McDonald`s didn`t think this pullback was any big deal, considering the small scope of the test.

Still in an expanded ”test market” program is McDonald`s pizza, now available in 500 units around the country.

A McDonald`s spokesman Monday said that there was ”good consumer acceptance” for the chicken and pasta, but that other considerations were involved, such as source of supply and equipment, which the firm still is evaluating.

There may be some substance to this rationale because the pizza was taken out of test markets several times before the current test.

McDonald`s does have a presence in chicken, including a McChicken sandwich, chicken McNuggets and a chunky chicken salad, but all are priced substantially less than the chicken that was tested.

Like other fast-service firms, McDonald`s has been scrambling to expand the menu, especially at dinner time, which is a longer period than lunch, to build traffic.

Though hamburger champ McDonald`s didn`t say so, the pasta and tender-basted chicken might have been too pricey for consumers. In any event, chicken and pasta have been put on the back burner for ”tinkering” for possible re-entry no earlier than next year.


To this day I miss that McPasta Fettuccine. But now I look back and realize that the stars were aligned perfectly for me to even have gotten to experience it in the first place. Some say it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. But for those people who say that to them, I say they never loved McDonald’s Fettuccine Alfredo.

The Things I Miss About Wendy’s

You know how I am when it comes to old junk food…it’s something I’m always willing to talk about! I may miss more old foods than most of you, but I can’t help it. I grew up eating some of the worst stuff you can put into your body, and I loved every bit of it. Today, I’m going to spend a little time talking about a place that was near and dear to my heart in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Wendys…and some of the things I miss most about it.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, when my old man would come home each weekend from working out of town, he would always take the family out to eat on Friday or Saturday night.  Places like Western Steer and Bonanza were frequent favorites, Pizza Hut was a stop we’d make on occasion, and when we weren’t going to one of those places, the destination was Wendy’s.  My Dad liked Wendy’s hamburgers more than other fast food places, and when they introduced the Super Bar, Wendy’s shot up his list even more. So it’s fair to say that I visited Wendy’s a lot in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the major differences between now and then.

I Miss Dave Thomas Doing the Commercials

So first up, let’s take a look at what brings an establishment to people’s attention, and makes them want to visit in the first place…the television commercials advertising the place or products.  For years, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas was a fixture in commercials for his chain.  He looked like he could be your own grandpa, and put forth a welcoming personality that didn’t feel like he was starring in an over-produced commercial, but rather inviting you to dinner at his place.

Whether Dave had any hand in the new products that were created, he certainly made each and every one of them he pitched in a commercial feel like it was his own creation. The conviction with which he talked about the new product certainly made it seem like everything unfolded just like the commercial showed…with Dave in a kitchen somewhere whipping up something new and delicious.

Wendy’s commercials over the last 10-20 years have been lacking that “personal” touch that Dave just seemed able to bring. I can tell you that as a kid when a Wendy’s commercial came on with Dave pitching a new product, I was paying attention. And more times than not, I would give them a try.

Most of the time, we get someone trying to come across as hip and modern, but the commercials focus more on trying to be funny (and failing), than getting the vibe across to the viewer what the core values of the restaurant are.  That core value back in Dave Thomas’ day was his philosophy of making good, old-fashioned hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. We just need more of that in this world.

I Miss Their Old Tables

 One of the coolest features in the old school Wendy’s locations were the tables that featured printed pages from old Sear’s catalogs from the early 1900s.  While dining there as a kid, I would marvel at the antique products featured on the table while I chowed down on my burger and fries.  I guess you could say I was into retro and nostalgia long before I was old enough to even understand the concept.

These days, they’ve joined the rest of the fast-food profiteers by using plain-looking, boring tables.  The next time you’re in a Wendy’s, try to look at the table for more than five seconds without looking away. You can’t. Of course these days, everyone is so busy staring at their phone screens, that even if they still had those old tables, I doubt anyone would even notice. But back in the days before cell phones, those tables gave you something to enjoy while waiting on your parents to bring the food to the table, and while enjoying their many fine offerings.

I Miss Their Old French Fries

This one saddens me a great deal.  I was a huge fan of their original french fries for years.  They were thicker than the fries at McDonald’s or Burger King, a little less crispy, but fluffier in the middle, and so good.  They tasted like french fries we used to make at home.  Being that they tasted homemade, they fit perfectly alongside their old-fashioned hamburgers and chicken sandwiches.

Sometime in the early 2000s, they switched to Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt.  They made the change around the time that sea salt was the new hot thing, and never reverted back.  Their fries of today always taste a little burnt to me.  They are thinner, the ends are crisper, and they just aren’t a great-tasting french fry in my opinion.  The loss of the thicker french fry meant less surface area for the Frosty to stick to when dipping.

I Miss The Biggie Size

Now I’m all for health-conscious eating, but if you’re going to Wendy’s, you know what you’re in for.  So why take away the iconic “Biggie” size?  Those who don’t want it, don’t have to order it.  But for those of us who do, it’s no longer available.  Their Biggie Sweet Tea was awesome, and being able to upgrade your large fries to Biggie size should be protected under the “Freedom of Choice” provision in the United States Constitution.

When the fries were as good as they used to be back in their glory days, a large order of them sometimes just wasn’t enough. Especially if you were dipping them in a Frosty. Which, if you never tried that, you’ve not been living your best life. Of all the things on this list, being able to order a Biggie size order of fries and dip every single one of them into a chocolate frosty ranks with all of them.

I Miss the Original Taco Salad

On the weekends when my Dad wasn’t able to come home, my Mom and I would go out on Saturday afternoon and eat at either McDonald’s or Wendy’s.  When it was Wendy’s, that meant it was Taco Salad for lunch.  It’s what she liked, so it’s what I got as well so we could enjoy the same thing.

The Taco Salad was unique but quite simple.  You got a platter of lettuce with some diced tomatoes, a cup of their chili to pour over that, some shredded cheddar cheese and some taco sauce for topping, and a small bag of taco chips to enjoy with it.  We would mix them up and talk as we ate, and I have a lot of fond memories attached to the classic Taco Salad.

About 15 years ago, they decided to change it.  No longer were there taco chips…they were replaced with tortilla strips.  The pack of taco sauce was replaced with salsa.  The diced tomatoes went away.  Their sales of the Taco Salad also went away.  Once again, they tried to “modernize” one of their menu offerings and appeal to a small segment of the market with what they considered a “fancier” version.  There was never anything wrong with the original version, but they gave it the ax anyway.

Just a couple of years ago, they reversed course and redesigned the Taco Salad once again. It’s closer to what it was back in the old days, but still not quite there. The taco chips are back, but you still get salsa instead of taco sauce. And the main dish is smaller. That’s probably more a result of modern finance than anything, but to me, it still keeps it from being like it was.

I Miss The SuperBar

Of all the things Wendy’s tried through the years, the Superbar was the idea that I liked the most.  It was a set of three food bars that expanded their dine-in options several times over and was a big hit.  One bar was a salad bar, with normal salad bar options, as well as some jello and pudding for dessert.  The next bar was the Mexican Fiesta bar, which had all the things you needed to make tacos and burritos like chili, seasoned beef, shredded cheese, melted nacho cheese, taco shells, and soft tortillas.  The third bar was the Pasta Bar which featured spaghetti noodles, fettuccine noodles, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, and garlic bread that was made by flattening and grilling their hamburger buns with garlic salt and butter.  It was delicious.

While the SuperBar as it was presented was just fine like it was, there was a little something else that could be done with it. My dad would order a baked potato, and when you ordered a potato, you could take it to the SuperBar to top it. I’m not sure if that was an extra cost or not though. But my dad would go to the Mexican Fiesta bar and load his potato with the chili and melted nacho cheese. I saw him do this a couple of times and decided to try it myself. After I had topped my potato, I sat down and started to devour it just like my old man…and it was delicious! But he stopped me after a couple of bites and told me that I was doing it wrong. I was perplexed at the age of 11 years old and he could see that, so he enlightened me. He explained that to get the most out of the experience, you first consumed just the chili and cheese from the potato, and then you go back and refill the potato with more chili and cheese. Then you consume the whole thing as I was previously doing.

The SuperBar was our go-to order while they had it in their stores.  A lot of Friday or Saturday nights were spent eating from it while talking and laughing as a family before we would hit the department stores in town where Mom would do her shopping for the week.  To me, the Superbar is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Wendy’s, and it’s a shame they had to get rid of it. As I’ve read in the years since, the bar was a loss leader for the stores, and it provided so much extra work for the staff to keep it neat and clean. I understand why it died off as a concept, but that doesn’t stop me from sorely missing it.


So there you have several things I miss about Wendy’s from “the old days”. While I do miss the things above, I know it’s more the nostalgia of it all…enjoying the times with my family, and how those Friday and Saturday nights were just so much fun for me at that age. It’s a period of time that can’t be recaptured, much the same as everything else I reminisce about here on the blog.

If you’ve got fond memories of any of this old Wendy’s stuff, or are nostalgic for other things I didn’t bring up, I’d love to hear your memories and stories in the comments. Hit me up and we’ll grieve together.

Hardee’s New York Patty Melt Burger of 1993

Back in 1992, Hardee’s stumbled across a major hit when it introduced its now-iconic Frisco Burger.  They combined grilled sourdough bread (in a round slice) with a 1/4 lb burger patty, two slices of Swiss cheese, bacon, mayo, and tomatoes and turned them into a culinary masterpiece.  After strong sales upon release, they were looking to duplicate that success. Enter the New York Patty Melt. 

Introduced roughly 4 months after the launch of the Frisco burger, the New York Patty Melt was the heir apparent to their first hit.  Unfortunately, it was not to be. Sales of the Patty Melt didn’t come close to those of the Frisco burger, and it was dropped from the menu about 6 months after its introduction.  But man, that was a great six months. 

The New York Patty Melt borrowed from its famous Frisco cousin and used a regional favorite bread by using New York Rye.  Sliced the same way as the Frisco (round), it too was grilled and paired with a 1/4 lb beef patty. A layer of a melted cheese blend, crispy bacon, and soft grilled onions finished off this burger.  Like most kids, I wasn’t a big fan of onions, but on this burger, they fit right in. But for me, the real star of this taste sensation was the rye bread. I had never had it before, but this burger moved the bread up my list of favorites in a hurry. 

As is the case when doing a piece like this, I was quite disappointed when I went to order it one time only to be told that it was no longer available.  If my father hadn’t been standing there beside me, my fifteen-year-old self may have let out a string of curse words aimed in the cashier’s direction. Luckily, however, the Frisco Burger was still available, and it ranked pretty high on my list back then too.  But for me, the Frisco Burger was always the Sundance Kid to the New York Patty Melt’s Butch Cassidy.

Pizza Hut Training Video from 1988

By now, you should certainly know how I feel about Pizza Hut from back in the day. It was one of the best dining experiences you could find in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I’m so nostalgic for that period of time at the Hut, that I’m always on the lookout for anything associated with it from then.

I came across this old training video from 1988 that I guess was what new hires had to sit and watch at the beginning of their employment. It’s a basic video on various pizza construction and some quality stuff, but things like this are like catnip for me. I could sit and watch this over and over. Well, at least a few times anyway.

But when you have 15-20 minutes to spare, give it a watch and it will transport you back to those good old days of Pizza Hut.

KFC’s Chicken Littles Sandwiches of the ’80s

Here I am featuring some old junk food in another edition of Retro Ramblings. I just can’t help it. Old junk food really tickles my nostalgia bone. And today’s topic is one of my all-time favorites from the past.


A couple of years ago, in the background, the TV was on and my daughters were watching some show that I usually care nothing about. The show went to commercial and I carried on with what I was doing. All of a sudden I was hit by a bolt of delicious lightning! For on the tv behind me, I was hearing a commercial for KFC’s return of the Chicken Little sandwiches!!! I bolted to the tv just to see and hear the end of that commercial that advertised the return of the greatest hand-held chicken sandwich in history. I immediately started making plans to visit my local KFC to once again dine on this fine treat. 

I was horribly disappointed when I unwrapped the precious sandwich that I had longed for many years. What is this? This isn’t a Chicken Little. What kind of sick joke are these people trying to pull here? 

You see, in the ’80s, when they were known as Kentucky Fried Chicken and not the metro-sounding KFC, they had the perfect sandwich. The original Chicken Little was the size of a common White Castle Slider or Krystal Burger. In fact, it featured the same kind of bun. It had a simple, thin chicken patty on it along with a pickle and a thin spread of mayo. It was simple. It was perfect. 

As I’ve stated before, my mother and I ate out a lot when my dad traveled. At the time these were in stores, I want to say you could pick up Chicken Littles for 3 / $1.00 or something like that, which made it a simple choice to say yes to for my mother. 

I had these little squares from heaven every couple of weeks. If she mentioned in the morning that we would be stopping by there in the evening, I would count down the minutes until I held them in my hand. But much like my disappointment with McDonald’s McPasta, I was saddened one day when I ordered my Chicken Littles and was told they were no longer available. I didn’t dwell on it though and figured they would be back one day. 

That day came several years ago, and led to the story I started this tale off with. Today’s chicken little is on a different bun, features a different cut of chicken, and is nowhere near the super cheap price you could once obtain them at. Actually, the thick piece of chicken tender on the modern version throws the taste completely off. And throw in the fact that the lettuce is usually wilted due to the heat of the chicken, it’s really not a good sandwich at all anymore. 

Just add it to the long list of junk foods we lost well before their time.

The McDonald’s Superhero Burger of 1995

You know me and junk food. I just can’t seem to get it all out of my system. Such is the case today because I want to talk about an offering from McDonald’s that should still be on the menu. It was a special burger with a special tie-in, and when I’m through describing it, I think you’ll want it back as well.


McDonald’s has released more than its fair share of various hamburgers and sandwiches through the years. Some have been big hits, and others have been colossal flops. And while different ones like the McD.L.T. have been discussed at length through the years, the Superhero burger rarely gets mentioned. Let’s change that.

Historically, the Big Mac has always been the largest burger on McDonald’s menu.  But for one glorious month in 1995, it played second fiddle to the Super Hero Burger.  With its 3 (that’s right, 3!) burger patties on a hoagie-length bun, with two different slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo….this sucker was a monster. 

The Super Hero burger had two promotional tie-ins attached to it.  First and foremost, it was available during the release of the movie Batman Forever, and Batman, Robin, Riddler, and Two-Face all figure prominently in the advertising spots for this burger.  Secondly, 1995 was the year that McDonald’s released a different burger every month, known as their “Taste of the Month”, and this was the featured item for one month.  Speaking of the “Taste of the Month” promotion, I’m going to have to dig deeper into that for some future write-up. That was a great year for new products from McDonald’s.

But back to the Superhero burger…I was driving by that point in life, so that meant I spent a fair amount of time “cruising” through town.  Most nights, a stop by the local Mickey D’s was how we ended our night, and for that month that this super burger was on the menu, it was what we ordered.   We probably could have kept this item on the menu all by ourselves based on how many of them we consumed, but as expected, when the month ended, so did the Super Hero Burger.  And alas, another fast-food item was relegated to my list of fondly remembered food from back in the day.

In all the years since its initial release, it has yet to see the light of day again. It really surprises me too, since it would be so easy to roll it out for different promotions under different names. Hell, a tie-in with the MCU would make perfect sense for bringing it back. I doubt it, but maybe there was some kind of exclusivity with DC regarding this burger.

If you worked at McDonald’s back in ’95 and remember this thing, hit me up, as I want to know more about it. And that whole taste of the month thing. Any memories any of you out there have about that from 1995, get in touch as well via the comments so I can try and piece it all together.

    McDonald’s McD.L.T.

    The McDonald’s McDLT gets mentioned on its fair share of fondly remembered food lists and for good reason. Of all the great, and horrible, things to ever grace the menu of McDonald’s, the McDLT was one of the best items they created. I was a fan during its all-to-brief run in the ’80s, and it’s the subject of this edition of Retro Ramblings.


    McDonald’s McD.L.T. was a burger similar in size to Burger King’s Whopper sandwich and featured mostly the same ingredients. A quarter-pound beef patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, pickles, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun. The beauty of the McDLT though was its packaging. It came in one of McDonald’s signature styrofoam containers. But this one was slightly different from all the rest, as it featured two separate compartments instead of one. 

    On one side, the bottom bun and burger patty rested, while on the other were the rest of the toppings and the top bun. This allowed the hot parts to remain separate from the cold parts until you were ready to put it together and eat. And that was the brilliance of it all. A fresh-tasting McDLT when the hot patty met the cold toppings.  What I could never figure out though, was why the slice of cheese was included on the cold side.  To me, it would have made much more sense to put it on top of the patty on the hot side so it could get all melty.  But apparently, I’m not a genius like the burger builders at McDonald’s. 

    It was released in the early ’80s to much fanfare but was eventually pulled in 1990 due to pressure from environmental groups protesting their use of polystyrene containers. Once the divided container was gone, so was the magic of the McDLT. It was later re-released as the Big ‘n’ Tasty burger, but without the separated ingredients, the burger fell flat. 

    When I first discovered it as a kid, I was at the age where I was getting a little old for Happy Meals and found the McDLT to be a perfectly acceptable replacement for it. I’m guessing it was basically the novelty of it that turned me on to it, but it was a great burger in its own right so that kept me coming back for more. 

    As a side note, McDonald’s lost a little luster to me with the fall of those original foam containers. Each container was a different color to represent what was held inside, and even the McNuggets had a little compartment built-in to hold the sauce cup. I understand the environmental impact and agree with the decision to stop using them, but dang, they looked cool, and figure prominently in my memories of McDonald’s and childhood in general.

    The timing of the fall of the McDLT kind of lines up perfectly with my ascent to a teenager from childhood.  Maybe that’s why it holds such a special place in my memories, and why I miss it so damn much.