13 Discontinued McAlister's Menu Items We May Never Get Back

In the world of fast casual restaurants, McAlister's is a strong contender for its old-fashioned style diners, delicious sweet teas, unique club sandwiches, catering options, and infamous loaded spuds. Despite its reliable presence in the deli scene, McAlister's menu has seen pretty consistent changes over time, with new items and flavor pairings being added often, and some beloved (and not-so-beloved) ones being removed. Boasting 500+ locations in the U.S., McAlister's Deli has become a staple for folks needing a reliable club sandwich, a fresh salad, or a potato feast, but frequent menu changes can lead customers away for good.

In fact, constant changes in the menu led McAlister's to develop a secret menu in 2012 to bring back old classics that customers repeatedly requested, such as the Godfather, the Patriot, the turkey cranberry griller, and the peppers, onions, and beef club sandwiches. Since there's no longer a secret menu, customers have to bear with sudden menu changes that discontinue their favorite sammies and sides – but not always. The list below mentions some dupes you can put together to recreate your favorite discontinued items from the existing menu. So let's take a trip down memory lane and remember some reliable and beloved McAliser's menu items that are no longer with us.

1. Bread bowls

The biggest shock for many McAlister's fans was the loss of the chain's much-loved bread bowls, which remained a steady item on the menu for many years. However, around 2023 fans started reporting the lack of bread bowls on the menu with much dismay. Once available with soup flavors such as country potato, broccoli and cheddar, chicken tortilla, traditional style, and veggie chili, the bowls were priced at $6.38 for a decent amount of toasty-warm soup loaded with carby goodness.

The soup-filled bowls amassed a large fan following, which made their sudden discontinuation a big surprise for many. A Yelp reviewer went so far as to say "I only liked bread bowl soups, so, guess what, they discontinued bread bowls. Never again will I dine at McAlister's." One reason for the bowls absence from the menu could be the bread quickly turning soggy from the hot soup, a complaint a few reviewers had lodged. The bowls were also difficult to prepare, according to a McAlister's employee on Twitter

Whatever the logic behind this decision, the sad reality is that bread bowls are no longer available on your local McAlister's menu, leading customers to visit Panera Bread for a better option than McAlister's as it still carries the iconic bread bowls.

2. Mashed potatoes

To many, the sides at McAlister's are just as beloved as its famous sandwiches and spuds, which you can tell from the immense love mashed potatoes got from customers. Once a menu staple, they were discontinued around 2018. In 2020, mashed potatoes were briefly reintroduced for a short period at a McAlister's in Schererville, Indiana, alongside another discontinued favorite, the Big Nasty. The reason for ending this menu classic could be a shortage of supplies. However, given that it was priced at just a dollar for a hearty portion of buttery-soft taters, many say that it's a shame that this beloved side order is no longer available.

However, the chain doesn't have customers that back down easily from menu changes, with a 2020 Change.org petition seeking to bring mashed potatoes back. On Twitter, customers expressed their grief over the sudden menu change, with one person stating "My life just hasn't been the same since McAlister's took away their mashed potatoes." The restaurant replied to customers on Twitter, stating it would relay these concerns to the chain's culinary team. But no amount of reassurance from the restaurant's social media team seems to have brought this favorite side back.

3. The Godfather

In case you've been living under a rock and didn't hear the news, McAlister's once had a secret menu of sorts introduced in 2012 to allow customers access to their favorite discontinued menu items by combining existing options. The chain did this after realizing customers continued asking for discontinued items, or would attempt to recreate the flavors of their favorite sandwiches. A much-loved secret menu item was the Godfather. Available on menus before 2012, this sandwich featured a toasted baguette with USDA choice Black Angus roast beef, provolone cheese, and pizza sauce.

Although neither the secret menu nor the Godfather is currently available, you can try this classic combination at your local McAlister's by ordering a baguette with sliced beef, provolone, and pizza sauce (if available). The original was priced at around $7.29, but this makeshift combination might actually be cheaper depending on where you're ordering and when.

4. Peppers, onions, and beef sandwich

Another discontinued item from the McAlister's menu is the peppers, onions, and beef sandwich, which was the most favorite sandwich on the secret menu, according to Donna Josephson, Vice President of Marketing at McAlister's (via Nation's Restaurant News). The sandwich was a meat lover's paradise, served with Black Angus roast beef, bell peppers, steamed onions, and provolone cheese on a toasted baguette and with a cup of au jus for dipping on the side. The original sandwich was priced at around $7.49, though prices can always vary by location. The sandwich was on the restaurant's original menu before it briefly reappeared on the chain's secret menu promotion in 2012.

If this missing sandwich sounds tempting, you can order a pretty accurate dupe by getting the French Dip sandwich with regular or caramelized onions and bell peppers, then swapping the French Dip's Swiss cheese for a serving of melted provolone instead.

5. The Patriot

One of the older items on the McAlister's menu, which was available around 2006, is the Patriot sandwich, which featured a unique blend of flavors including smoked Butterball turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes on wheatberry bread with lite mayo and McAlister's signature orange cranberry sauce. This sandwich was a popular choice for customers thanks to its sweet and savory flavors but was still discontinued; it briefly reappeared on the restaurant's secret menu in 2012.

You could purchase the Patriot from the secret menu for $7 to 8, depending on location, but the original sandwich was priced lower at $5.29. Although it's not officially on the menu anymore, you can still give it a try by ordering a McAlister's club sandwich without ham, bacon, and cheddar cheese, swapping the honey for orange cranberry sauce, and choosing white or wheat bread if the wheatberry isn't available at your location. Although it's not known for sure why this sandwich was discontinued, it could be that the orange cranberry flavors were disliked by some consumers. Certainly, the chain's orange cranberry club was discontinued later on as well.

6. Grilled cheese sandwiches

What's a sandwich shop without a good grilled cheese? It's just not gouda-nough! And McAlister's is anything but since it has had a rotating selection of cheese sammies on the menu from the early days of the chain, some of which are unavailable now, like the big cheese and spicy grilled cheese sandwiches. The big cheese sandwich was a vegetarian classic (which made a reappearance on the 2012 secret menu) that featured American, Swiss, and provolone cheese on sourdough bread. Meanwhile the spicy grilled cheese had a flavor kick with horseradish sauce in addition to the above four cheeses. Both sandwiches were priced around $5 to $6.

Although the McAlister's menu currently features a four cheese melt and a kids cheese toastie, there's nothing quite like the taste of a quasi-forbidden cheese sandwich. Fortunately, you can enjoy a taste of days past by making your own version of these discontinued sandwiches. Just order a kids cheese toastie from the current menu with three slices of American and Swiss and two slices of provolone to recreate the big cheese sandwich. Simply add horseradish sauce to the four cheese melt with no tomatoes for a taste of the spicy grilled cheese.

7. Orange cranberry club

There's something about a sweet and savory combo that just resonates with many people's taste buds. Consider some perennial favorites like dipping fries into a Wendy's Frosty, salted caramel, and the ever-popular chicken and waffles, to name just a few. But not every unique combo hits right with a wide enough swath of customers. This apparently included the orange cranberry club once served at McAlister's. Once a menu classic with ingredients like Butterball smoked turkey, Black Forest ham, applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar, Swiss, and orange cranberry sauce, the sandwich packed in a mouthful of flavors and was unlike any other sammie at the deli chain. Unfortunately, this flavor didn't resonate with everyone and the menu item was discontinued around 2022.

Yet some fans of the club expressed their disbelief over this decision, requesting that the chain bring back the iconic sandwich, with one regular customer on Facebook claiming they had enjoyed this combination every week for more than a decade and had quit visiting the chain since it was discontinued. The reason for this discontinuation isn't entirely clear, but perhaps the fruit-forward sauce was divisive. The sandwich's demise was forecasted by a 2022 Mashed survey that found the orange cranberry club to be the worst, with 39% of respondents decrying the menu item.

8. Sweetberry chicken sandwich

McAlister's seems to love experimenting with new flavors, especially when it comes to sweeter sandwiches, and the once-famous sweetberry chicken sandwich is a testament to such uniqueness. The flavor profile of this club was a toned-down version of the orange cranberry club, with grilled chicken breast pieces, lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, lite mayo, and orange cranberry sauce on wheat bread. Priced at around $7, the sandwich was brought back as part of a marketing revival on the restaurant's secret menu in 2012, but was still axed by the restaurant.

If you're curious, you can still experience the taste of this sandwich by making a few tweaks to the restaurant's grilled chicken club. Order the sandwich on wheatberry bread (if it's available at your local McAlister's), add orange cranberry or honey mustard sauce for the sweet touch, and some mayo. Voila — you can now taste a pretty close mock of a classic from McAlister's menu of yore and see what all the hype was about. On a side note, with so many sweet sandwiches being discontinued on the McAlister's menu to date, we think that this should be a sign for the chain to try new sweet flavor combos and perhaps give the orange cranberry sauce some rest!

9. New Orleans Muffuletta sandwich

McAlister's take on the New Orleans Muffuletta was once lauded for its mouthwatering fusion of flavors including Black Forest ham, salami, Gambino's olive salad, provolone, and olive oil. It was introduced in 2014 as part of the deli's Big Bold menu, which featured large sandwich portions and bold flavors. Due to its sheer size, the full sandwich typically cost $12.99, while a half-sized version went for $8.09 at the time. Other famous items from the Big Bold collection that are currently still on the menu include the Italian, Memphian, King Club, and Southwest Turkey.

Despite its fame, the muffuletta's time was short-lived, with different franchises removing the sandwich from the menu as early as 2017 in Ohio and 2018 in Kentucky. Although a chain in Charlotte, North Carolina still advertised the sandwich as late as 2019, sadly, it's no longer found on the chain's general menu. Many disappointed customers say they have had to switch to other restaurants to get their muffuletta fix since McAlister's discontinued it. One Tripadvisor reviewer stated, "[McAlister's] has always been a favorite place of mine, and I certainly recommend, but since they recently discontinued serving their famous and amazing New Orleans Muffuletta sandwich, I've been forced to switch to Jason's Deli to satisfy my craving." 

Fans of the sandwich can only hope the chain reintroduces it somehow (perhaps as part of another secret menu promotion), but currently, McAlister's has shown no signs of bringing back this New Orleans classic.

10. Veggie wrap

McAlister's Deli isn't all about meat-loaded sandwiches, as it has great vegan and vegetarian options on the menu as well. Classics like the chain's spuds are always a favorite, but you can also get a wider variety of meat-free options like veggie clubs and, once upon a time, a veggie wrap. This last menu item was considered a favorite among customers who needed a quick and relatively healthy fix. In 2020, a reviewer on TripAdvisor recommended the wrap for its sizable portion and good proportions of veggies. However, the wrap's fame must have waned over time because you can't find it on the regular McAlister's menu anymore.

If you're tired of the menu's other vegetarian options and need something new, then at least there's an easy way to dupe the veggie wrap from existing menu items Simply order a kids' garden salad alongside a plain whole wheat tortilla. Then, dump the salad bowl on the tortilla (omit the croutons), top it with dressings, and roll the tortilla up for a perfectly sized wrap. This easy dupe was once super cheap, coming down to less than $2, but with increased restaurant menu prices due to a variety of factors, you are more likely to get it for $5 to $6 now, depending on your area.

11. The steak menu

McAlister's made the trip from casual to fine dining more possible by introducing steak items to its menu in 2022. The steak menu featured three new items: a steak and white cheddar sandwich, a steak and gorgonzola salad, and a loaded steak spud. All three items were made using U.S. domestic grain-fed beef, particularly sirloin steak slices, making the trio a real treat for carnivores. The restaurant also created a Valentine's Day promotion involving the steak menu, transforming select chains into a steakhouse for couples who couldn't otherwise make plans on the special day. 

The steak menu items were meant to be a limited-time offering, but McAlister's continued experimenting with steak options afterward, including introducing another limited-time item: a steak and pepper sandwich. However, that didn't make a place for itself on the permanent menu, either. Currently, there aren't any steak-focused items on the menu for customers to make a dupe, so if you didn't try these meaty offerings in 2022 — tough luck!

12. The Big Nasty

McAlister's may have discontinued some lesser-liked and known items over the years, but many agree that the loss of the Big Nasty was a real travesty. A crowd-favorite gargantuan sandwich, it featured half a pound of sliced Black Angus roast beef served open-face on a toasted baguette with gravy and cheddar jack cheese. Priced at around $10, the Big Nasty began as a location-specific sandwich in Cleveland, Ohio around 2011. It was inspired by the Hot Brown sandwich style that originated in Kentucky.

It's not certain when this sandwich left McAlister's menus, but carnivores truly mourned the loss of this beast. Thanks to their popular demand, it returned for a limited time to McAlister's restaurants in 2019. However, it hasn't returned to the menu since then. 

Since McAlister's has never clarified why certain menu items get the boot, we can't be sure why it left, but it could be that the Big Nasty wasn't profitable for the chain. Considering the sheer amount of beef that was loaded into each sandwich, supply chain issues could be a possible cause, but it's interesting to see this beloved sandwich gone since McAlister's trademarked the Big Nasty back in 2013. The restaurant chain even filed lawsuits against restaurants using the same name for their items — only to get rid of the sandwich itself less than five years later.

13. Turkey cranberry griller

If you're craving a Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich, the turkey cranberry griller at McAlister's was a potentially great option. The original sandwich was introduced as a limited-time Thanksgiving special in 2013, then brought back on the 2012 secret menu by popular demand. Featuring a unique combination of Butterball smoked turkey, gorgonzola cheese, cranberry compote, and freshly sliced Granny Smith apples on ciabatta bread, the sandwich brought fresh and bright flavors priced at around $8, depending on your location. McAlister's also introduced a nearly identical (and also limited-time) turkey cranberry sandwich in 2018 for Thanksgiving.

If the sandwich intrigues you, you may have a seasonal opportunity to try it out in November around Thanksgiving, when McAlister's typically rolls out its turkey cranberry salad. Order the salad and simply place it between slices of ciabatta bread. It should cost you about the same as the sandwich and the salad is worth every flavorful bite according to customers.