Discontinued restaurant burgers that need to make a comeback

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ... burgers. So, that's not exactly how the song goes, but it should have. We are a nation obsessed with burgers. There's even a national holiday for the rather simple sandwich. According to stats from the Huffington Post, Americans digest nearly 50 billion burgers a year. And they said, where's the beef? Hint: It's in America. While the burger's roots can be traced back to Hamburg, Germany, America totally made it its own. 

No matter how you slice it or dice it, cheese or no cheese, mayo or ketchup, rare or well done, their ever-growing popularity may be in part thanks to the sheer number of options available to us. We are no longer limited to beef. Thanks to a world of possibilities, we have chicken burgers, turkey burgers, bison burgers, and even alternative meat options, like the ever-growing sensation that is the Impossible burger. No wonder 82 percent of Americans think that burgers are a good source of nutrients. This is a country all about innovation, and we love to have as many options as humanly possible at our fingertips. Let's take a look at some of these creations that missed the mark on leaving the lasting impression that we had hoped for.

Here are the discontinued restaurant burgers that need to make a comeback.

McDonald's Cheddar Melt burger

McDonald's has in a way become the industry pioneer in experimentation with new menu items and limited offerings. They are the company behind the McRib, after all. Unfortunately, not all of their creations can be raging successes. Sometimes it boils down to failed marketing schemes, worldwide recessions, and even ethical issues. According to Complex, McDonald's introduced our palates to the beloved Cheddar Melt in 1988. Basically the grilled cheese of our dreams, the sandwich came with a grilled beef patty glazed with teriyaki sauce, caramelized onions, and ooey gooey melted cheddar cheese sauce piled between a pillowy burger bun. Imagine Mom's homemade grilled cheese times infinity.

Sounds awesome, right? Yes, but sadly for us, the 1980s were an odd time in the fast food industry (and pretty much just odd in general). McDonald's was constantly switching it up, introducing new items and axing others at a rapid pace. The Cheddar Melt had a short life and was cut in the early '90s, subsequently melting our hearts at the same time. It's seen the light of day a few times, like during a brief comeback in the early 2000s. Fans went crazy in 2014 when a McDonald's in Wisconsin started selling it again, but that proved to be fleeting as well. There are even subthreads dedicated to the "will it, won't it" come back topic on Reddit. We'll be waiting with bated breath for its long-overdue return.

Wendy's Bacon and Blue burger

We love the convenience factor of a fast food burger, but sometimes our hearts are insistent on something with a little more gourmet flair. According to the National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot in 2015" list, artisan cheese was a top food trend, and Wendy's was quick to hop on board. In 2010, Wendy's introduced us to the Bacon and Blue Burger. The 'Benz of fast food burgers, this vessel of tantalizing mouth joy was loaded with a quarter-pound beef patty, four strips of applewood-smoked bacon, Wisconsin blue cheese crumbles, sauteed onions, and steakhouse sauce all on a brioche bun. Delicious? You betcha. A big ole mess? You betcha again.

According to Moneywise, Wendy's fans praised the premium burger and its robust, artisan blue cheese. They also loved the price tag, a mere $4.29 for basically an entire meal in of itself. Praise aside, the topping loaded sandwich proved to be quite difficult for the drive-thru window and go type. Reviewers claimed the sandwich basically instantly disintegrated after one bite. High-end isn't always convenient. 

UNO Pizzeria's Whole Hog burger

Occasionally, restaurants rely on the shock and awe factor for marketing their new products. Such is the case with a limited-time offering from UNO Pizzeria & Grill. The well-known Chicago-style pizza chain decided to dip their toe in the pool of possibilities with the Whole Hog Burger. Introduced in 2016, it was made up of four types of meats (bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, and sausage), four types of cheese, onion rings, garlic mayonnaise, and a whole lot more we don't have time to explain. The burger made headlines quickly and landed atop some recognition lists, including Grub Street's unhealthiest dish at a restaurant and the Center for Science in the Public Interest's yearly Xtreme Eating Awards.

At a whopping 2,850 calories, it's clear that this burger is about as far from healthy as one could be. While we would never recommend anyone eating this much meat in one sitting, sometimes, you gotta do it for the 'gram. This burger was short-lived, and while no one was harmed in the making of this monstrosity, it made for one hell of a photo opp. 

Burger King's Whopperito

We like to imagine the fast food gods hard at work in an almost Willy Wonka-like factory dreaming up the next great concoction that will make our heads turn and keep our bellies full. Our heads truly did spin in 2016 when Burger King made our jaws drop with the introduction of the Whopperito, a part burger, part burrito Frankenstein of a meal. With a side of Tex-Mex flair, the Whopperito used seasoned ground beef combined with creamy queso, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and pickles stuffed inside of a flour tortilla. 

This was an attempt to build on their uber-popular flame-grilled burger, and it proved to be a delight to fans. According to Fox News, fans cried out with delight, loving this newest creation and specifically praising the welcomed spicy flavoring of the beef. With your average Chipotle burrito clocking in at over seven bucks, we'd love to see the return of this one that would set your wallet back only $2.99. Sometimes, the best way is the cheaper way. 

McDonald's McDLT burger

Ah, we meet again, ole Golden Arches. It's no surprise that you'll see McDonald's appear on our list quite a bit, as they have taken many risks and have had many failures since their inception in 1955. With great risk comes great reward, as they say. While we are all familiar with the Filet-O-Fish and the Big Mac, there are quite a few menu items that have seemingly vanished from existence (and we definitely don't miss you, McLobster). Case in point: the McDLT. On paper, it looks like there's nothing wrong with this blast from the past, comprised of the patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and pickles, which was introduced in the 1980s.

But that's just not true. The issue was not in the taste but in how the burger was prepared and packaged. In an effort to keep the warm components separate from the cool components until one consumed the burger, the McDLT was served in a double-sided Styrofoam container. One small step for taste buds, but one giant leap toward total mindlessness when it comes to waste produced. According to Reader's Digest, activists were quick to point out the pretty major flaw, and the item was ultimately pulled from the menu. There's nothing worse than soggy lettuce and tomato on a burger, but it can't be at the expense of Mother Earth. We're still holding out hope for a more environmentally friendly option.

Taco Bell's Beefer burger

We love Taco Bell and have zero shame in admitting that fact. Nothing makes us run to the border quicker than seeing an endless bounty of their glistening sauce packets or hearing the cracking of a crunchy taco shell. They reign supreme in the world of Mexican-inspired fast food. Taco Bell took a leap of faith in the '70s and added the Bell Beefer Burger, basically the distant cousin of the Sloppy Joe. Originally introduced as a chili burger, a hamburger bun was stuffed with taco meat, lettuce, diced onions, and our beloved Taco Bell signature mild sauce. Going "Supreme" (and you know that's how we would have ordered it) would see the addition of a three-cheese blend and some diced tomatoes. 

This would have been the perfect way to soak up all the booze after boogying well into the morning hours. Fans were shocked in the mid-1990s when the burger was removed from all menus. There's no hoopla here. The scoop came from a former Taco Bell employee that came clean with the true reason. The Beefer Burger simply didn't sell, and anything that doesn't perform gets the boot. We'd love to Live Mas and finally get to try Taco Bell's result of thinking outside the bun. 

Wendy's Carolina Classic burger

Nothing burns us up more than when fast food chains sell limited-time-only menu items specific to a certain region or country. We always want what we can't have (and one day we'll try you, McSpicy Paneer available only in India). There was one American release that we would have been willing to travel the distance for. Wendy's introduced the Southern-inspired Carolina Classic Burger to only the chain's Charlotte-area restaurants. Can you Postmates across state lines? (*not* asking for a friend).

Comprised of Wendy's signature quarter-pound beef patty, zesty chili, diced onions, mustard, and tangy coleslaw, this burger left Carolinians swooning, and for good reason. With a bold taste that led to a legion of loyal fans, this limited release made its return in the fall of 2019, this time to all restaurants across South and North Carolina. We wouldn't be surprised if this one made a national rollout, as we could see it being a massive success.

Chili's grass-fed burgers

The words "organic," "all natural," and "grass-fed" are tossed around so much to the point that it leaves us scratching our heads in mind-numbing confusion. Be it for actual health reasons or a clever marketing ploy, the full-service restaurant chain Chili's got in on the action with the 2016 debut of Grass-Fed Burgers. Available in two varieties, the chain claimed the patties were free of antibiotics and contained no added hormones. The Sunrise Burger option featured a cage-free egg, pepper jack cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, red onion, tomato, and Chili's signature sauce. The Ultimate Bacon Burger featured a double portion of applewood-smoked bacon, aged cheddar cheese, jalapeno aioli, Buffalo sauce, pickles, lettuce, red onion, tomato, and honey-chipotle sauce. They both were served with homestyle fries on the side. Yum

While absolutely drool-worthy, it's no surprise their marketing toward the health-conscious didn't quite pan out as they had anticipated. While the burger patties themselves seemed harmless, the rest of the ingredients were questionable at best, packing a punch in the calories, saturated fat, and sodium departments. They were quietly cut from the menu in 2017, along with a slew of other items, when the company's president admitted they were trying too hard to chase the trends. We'd welcome a return of these because YOLO.

McDonald's Big N Tasty burger

Burger King was riding the wave of success in the '90s with their Whopper. The burger debuted in the 1950s and has since been a smash success for the chain, and with its recent incarnation, the Impossible Whopper, it's becoming ever more relevant in a highly competitive sea of options. While McDonald's was certainly doing A-okay in the '90s, they were dreaming up competition for the Whopper. In 1997, McDonald's tested the Big N Tasty in the California market. It consisted of a seasoned quarter-pound beef patty that was topped with ketchup, mayonnaise, slivered onions, two dill pickle slices, leaf lettuce, and a tomato slice on a sesame seed bun. 

The company went big for its advertising by partnering with the Walt Disney Company and debuting it on a grand scale in coordination with the opening of Disney's California Adventure theme park. They even snagged NBA player Kobe Bryant for their national ad campaigns. With captured eyeballs and mega marketing dollars, it failed to leave a lasting impression on the consumer. The burger was then majorly downgraded to the dollar menu in and eventually removed from the menu all together in 2011. 

McDonald's McJordan burger

Working with Kobe Bryant on the Big N Tasty wasn't the company's first foray into appealing to the sports-obsessed fan. As far as '90s pop culture icons go, there are none perhaps as larger-than-life as Michael Jordan. The most famous man of the decade was a star on and off the court. It's no wonder McDonald's wanted to snag a partnership with the powerhouse Chicago Bulls player. The McJordan debuted in Chicago-only area McDonald's to great fanfare for a limited time. The cheeseburger was served on a sesame seed bun with pickles and raw onion (the slices found on the quarter pounder, not the diced variety) and featured bacon and barbecue sauce. We would jump through hoops to taste that just one more time.

Never got to try it? Don't fret. There's a sort of hack that will produce similar results created by YouTuber Brad Hall. The bacon used back then was circular, so you'll have to settle for the standard strips used today. 

McDonald's McAfrika burger

Some failures for fast food chains are simply baffling, while others are crystal clear, like McDonald's venture into pizza. Yikes. Also unfortunate for McDonald's was when they showed zero empathy toward cultural sensitivity with this next failure. We'd bet that maybe a few folks may have even been fired over this one. In 2002, McDonald's introduced a special edition sandwich in their Norway restaurants: the McAfrika. While exclusive to the Nordic country, word spread like a wildfire. With claims to have been created from an authentic African recipe, the sandwich featured beef, cheese, and tomatoes, all loaded onto pita bread. However genuine the intent was for this one, it fell upon deaf ears, and we think rightfully so. The flavor was there, but so was very unfortunate timing with a side of terrible cultural appropriation. 

The McAfrika was launched just as a major famine hit southern Africa. Protestors were quick to point out the tragic irony that a mega-company was trying to capitalize on a culture that was going through some of its toughest times. McDonald's went on to acknowledge the poor timing. We're all down for a chain experimenting with bold flavors, but it has to be done with respect and way better timing ... and this one missed the mark on both counts. The taste might have been good, but if McDonald's ever brings it back, it's going to need some serious rebranding.

McDonald's Arch Deluxe burger

In an effort to win over the more well-to-do clientele, McDonald's launched the Arch Deluxe in 1996 with a reported whopping $150 million advertising campaign surrounding it. The New York Times reported that at that time, it was the most expensive promotion the company had ever undertaken. Along with the Mad Men-sized ad campaign, so came a larger price tag for the item. The Arch Deluxe featured a quarter-pound fresh beef patty, bacon, all your expected burger fixings, and the chain's new sauce, a combo of mustard and mayo

While the burger was pretty tasty and customers seemed to approve, the sales just weren't there, likely because of the stark contrast in price compared to other menu offerings. It tested a similar version in 2018, the Archburger, at a select number of locations for a price more on par with the rest of their menu. 

Burger King's Angry Whopper burger

Burger King's Whopper has shown little signs of slowing down since its introduction in the 1950s. It's been reported by CNBC that the chain sells approximately 234 beef Whoppers a day per restaurant. Now, with the addition of the Impossible Whopper, that number for total Whoppers has gone up astronomically. While chains tend to shy away from the super spicy because of the average palette, Burger King went all out with the 2016 release of the Angriest Whopper.

This burger was a bit aggressive and featured a hot sauce-infused red bun, flaming onion petals, spicy angry sauce, and jalapeno. We're all about the heat, but our preferred version of this is their Angry Whopper, which cuts the heat back a bit by using a normal bun as opposed to the infused bun. Available from time to time, we're holding out hope that this hunk of heat heaven makes its permanent return to the menu someday soon.