McDonald's menu items you'll never get to eat again

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

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.  

McPizza

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. 

Arch Deluxe

The Arch Deluxe has the dubious honor of being one of McDonald's most spectacular failures

By 1996, when the Arch Deluxe was introduced, McDonald's was having a hard time not being associated with kids. Just look at the abundance of restaurants with attached PlayPlaces, the popularity of Happy Meals, and the restaurant's mascots like Ronald McDonald and the devious Hamburglar. 

Hoping to lure back adult customers, McDonald's launched the Arch Deluxe to great fanfare with an ad campaign to match. It was called the "Burger with the Grown-up Taste" and was made with made with fresh (not frozen) beef, then placed on a potato-flour bun and topped with "Arch Sauce," cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato, and peppered bacon. The chain aggressively marketed it as being a burger for sophisticated types, spending an estimated $150-200 million on advertising. 

Unfortunately, it fell flat. People just don't go to McDonald's for a fancy meal — they're mostly looking for something inexpensive and convenient. The burger was soon discontinued. 

If you were one of the few who did appreciate the Arch Deluxe, you may be in luck. Word has in that in January of 2018 McDonald's restaurants in Oklahoma and Texas were testing something called the Archburger, basically a revamp of the Arch Deluxe. If testing goes well, it will be offered nationwide for $2.19 a pop, an affordable luxury indeed.

Fish McBites

McDonald's has been selling seafood since the early 1960s, when the Filet-O-Fish sandwich started being sold nationwide. It was originally marketed towards practicing Catholics, who traditionally don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent, and to this day sales of the sandwich skyrocket between the Christian holidays of Ash Wednesday and Easter.

With one successful fish dish on the menu, McDonald's branched out, and in early 2012 started testing Fish McBites, which were added to menus nationwide in 2013.

Fish McBites were made with sustainable Alaskan Pollock and served with tartar sauce for dipping. Surprisingly, the fish nuggets got rave reviews, and were prized for the tender meat within and the crispy breading outside. 

Unfortunately, though they were well-received, sales weren't stellar enough to promote Fish McBites from a limited time to permanent menu item. These days, those of us looking to satisfy our seafood cravings will have to settle for that old standby, the Filet-O-Fish

Cheddar Melt

Part patty melt, part classic burger, McDonald's Cheddar Melt was a beloved limited time offering at the chain in the late 1980s, a decade when the restaurant was rapidly introducing and discontinuing new menu items. 

The sandwich was comprised of a grilled beef patty with a teriyaki glaze, topped with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese sauce, and placed on a rye bun (not to be confused with a similar burger called the Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger, which was just a burger with cheddar cheese and onions on a regular bun, no cheese sauce or teriyaki in sight). 

The Cheddar Melt was removed from the menu in the early '90s, but it's been brought back a couple of times. In the early 2000s it made a brief resurgence, and in 2014 McDonalds' in Wisconsin started selling it again for a limited time. It makes sense, since Wisconsin is pretty much the Mecca for American-made cheese! 

These days, if you want cheese sauce on your McDonald's burger, you'll have to swing through the Taco Bell drive-through to get a side of queso. 

Onion Nuggets

Would you believe us if we told you that Onion Nuggets were actually on the McDonald's menu before Chicken McNuggets? It's crazy but true. 

Onion Nuggets were invented by Rene Arend, a cook at McDonalds, in the '70s. Instead of rings, the onions were cut into chunks. Dipped in a breadcrumb batter and fried until golden, they offered the perfect bite of soft, sweet interior and crunchy exterior. 

The veggie nuggets were added to menus in several locations during 1978-1979 to test their popularity. But during testing, the chairman of McDonald's suggested that Arend ditch the onions and try to come up with a chicken product instead. Hence, Chicken McNuggets were born. They started being sold in 1983, and as of today are the 7th most-popular item of all time sold at the chain. Now if only they could peacefully coexist with Onion Nuggets so we didn't have to drive to White Castle for a bag of onion chips!

McSpaghetti

Burgers and spaghetti may not sound like a match made in heaven, but for a few years, McDonald's sold pasta and meatballs right alongside Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets. 

McSpaghetti was added to the menu in the late 1980s, along with the previously mentioned McPizza. Sadly, customers had similar concerns about both items (taking too long to prepare, finding better quality elsewhere), and McSpaghetti was removed from the menu… in the USA, that is. 

These days, McSpaghetti is actually a very popular item at McDonald's in the Philippines. It's served like typical Filipino-style spaghetti, with hot dog-like sausages or ground beef dotting a sweet sauce that's ladled over spaghetti, then topped with shredded cheese. For about $1.20 USD, you get a small portion size of the pasta that'll hit the spot if you're not in the mood for fries. If you're still hungry you can get McSpaghetti in a combo platter with McDo, a fried chicken leg. 

Mighty Wings

McDonald's serves Chicken McNuggets, crispy chicken sandwiches, and grilled chicken sandwiches, so why not chicken wings? Well, for a time they did serve up that classic game-day snack. 

You could find wings on the menu for a limited time in the early 2000s, and they were tested regionally in early 2013 in Atlanta and Chicago. Mighty Wings were added to menus nationwide later that year. 

They got good reviews, but unfortunately customers just didn't get excited about them. So why weren't they a success

For one, they were expensive. Three wings cost $3.69, five wings cost $5.59, and 10 wings came in at just under $10. Considering you can get two cheeseburgers at the chain for less than $3.69, the value just wasn't there, something especially hard to swallow since the country was still in the middle of a recession at that point. People also complained about the level of spice (too hot!) and the fact that the wings looked too much like chicken nuggets. These days if you want chicken at McDonald's, you'll have to settle for a sandwich, nuggets, or tenders.

Hula Burger

While Burger King is busy serving up MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Patties to its vegetarian customers, McDonald's doesn't currently have any sandwiches on offer for guests who abstain from meat. But that wasn't always the case. 

In 1962 the Hula Burger was added to the menu alongside the Filet-O-Fish sandwich for one day only, when both were being tested as a way to lure Catholic customers to the restaurant on Fridays, when they traditionally ate vegetarian or pescetarian meals during Lent. 

The Hula Burger contained no beef. It was made from a thick slice of grilled pineapple served on a hamburger bun along with the usual toppings like cheese, lettuce, tomato, and burger sauce. 

McDonald's founder Ray Kroc invented the Hula Burger, and was highly skeptical of the Filet-O-Fish at first, so he had an idea. On Good Friday of that year, they'd see which sandwich sold more at select locations, and the winner would be added to the menu. To his disappointment they sold just six Hula Burgers, and a whopping 350 Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. The latter was added to the menu, and the former joined the list of products that never quite made it to legendary status at the chain.