Extinct Fast Foods


There is some apparent law in the universe that states that, if you grow attached to a quirky fast food item, it will someday just disappear without warning, without fanfare of any sort. Just gone. You unexpectedly pull into the drive-thru and your eyes scan the menu, from top to bottom, frantically searching for that one item that got you out of the house in the first place. Thinking there must be some mistake, you make inquiries with the helpful voice from the speaker, only to hear those maddening words – “nah, we don’t make those anymore.” Thoroughly dejected, often in state of shock, you order some crap sandwich in its place and curse the higher-ups for taking away something dear to your heart, or at least your stomach. Yes, today we are talking about extinct fast foods.

Sure, if your preferred entrée is an iconic Big Mac, you may not have ever experienced this travesty, but if you always thought the McDLT was the better McDonald’s burger, you know exactly what we are talking about:

Can you spot the extinct fast food item in this video?

The list of extinct fast foods is an extensive one. Perhaps you remember the California Roast Beef at Carl’s Jr., or maybe your taste buds yearn for a Bellbeefer or Beefy Tostada (yep, that’s that tasty number at the end of the above commercial) from Taco Bell. Maybe it’s the Philly Cheesesteak from Jack in the Box, or the Polar Swirl from Dairy Queen.

We want to hear which discontinued fast food item you miss the most, which one have you cursed your local restaurant for removing from the menu. In quiet desperation, have you learned to make a reasonably good representation of your favorites in your own kitchen? Share your most-missed menu items as we bow our heads in tribute to all of the extinct fast foods from yesteryear, here at Retroland.

28 Responses to “Extinct Fast Foods”

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  1. Timothy1964 says:

    The only discontinued items I can think of at the moment that were my favorites were all from Taco Bell. One was the “Super Taco”, which was a hard shell taco that was twice the size of their regular tacos. Just as their regular tacos, the Super Taco was also available in “Supreme” (with tomato and sour cream). The other item was “Taco Light”, which had a shell the same size as the Super Taco, but was light and flaky. Taco Light was also available in Supreme. I believe both the Super Taco and Taco Light were discontinued in the late 1990s. I used to buy the Super Tacos and Taco Lights on a regular basis and was VERY disappointed when they were discontinued.

    • Dennis Neal says:

      I worked at Taco Bell in the mid 1980s and I know exactly what those are. The “Super Taco” was actually the Taco Bell Grande, and the Taco Light was a taco with a flour tortilla shell instead of the regular corn. You may also remember Cinnamon Crispas, which were the forerunner to the Cinnamon Twists they have now.

  2. Stéphane Dumas says:

    Speaking of extinct fast-food, I wonder if some of you have memories of a fast-food chain called Burger Chef? Here a vintage ad from 1974 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_Aqxo6MFhk

  3. Nuke67 says:

    When I worked at Dairy Queen back in high school, they had the Chili Dog Split, basically a quarter pound hot dog on the bun, with chili, cheese, mustard,ketchup,onions and relish, I havent seen those on the menu in years.

  4. xxgrumpybabyxx says:

    i remember those McDLT’s. wish they would bring them back! as well El Maco and those shaker fries.

  5. Jennifer harris says:

    The McDonalds I go to doesn’t have Daily Doubles or Big N tastys anymore.

  6. sammich says:

    I miss the Texas Taco from Taco Bell. Mid to late nineties, was the impetus of the gordita/chalupa line of items. Loved ’em. I swear no one remembers them but the commercial exists still starring Jack Palance.


  7. neellic says:

    Wendy’s Greek Pita (late 90’s)

    • Markus Kobi says:

      OMG ALL the Wendy’s pitas…you could always build your own and I got at least one for lunch or dinner everyday-The Bomb

  8. Burger Chef should come back…I really miss the Chicken Club sandwich (though some places have one like it); Burger King had the Yumbo, a ham-and-cheese sandwich, Arby’s had the Cup-O-Fries (they should also bring back regular fries), Arby’s subs like they had 20 years ago (the new ones don’t taste the same), etc.

    Anyone out there with me?

  9. tiffany says:

    Arbys:loaded potato bites

  10. Shannon says:

    You can order basically anything on the tostada, so if you do want beef on it just ask for it, the beefy tostada was always my favorite and I get the equivalent all of the time to this very day!

  11. asher hawke says:

    I remember when the local Taco Bell had a working fire pit on the outside patio of all their stores…way back in the 70s…

  12. Emily says:

    When I was somewhere between 10-12 years old, McDonald’s introduced an orange-flavoured milkshake, that tasted just like a blended Creamsicle, only better. It was sort of like an Orange Julius, only thicker, and with nothing even close to real fruit in it, so there was no pesky “nutritional value” or “Vitamin C” to detract from the taste (in my youthful mind). For some reason, this shake disappeared off the menu forever, and I haven’t seen it since. It’s a moot point now, because I’m vegan now, and if I want something resembling a milkshake, I just make myself a smoothie at home, with frozen fruit and soy or almond milk, but Retroland posts like these make me wonder, where have all the orange milkshakes gone?

  13. Emily says:

    Also: Not a food, but who else here thinks the old Arby’s logo was better than the one we have now? I think the blocky “Western style” uppercase letters co-ordinate better with the cowboy hat logo, and the vaguely “Wild West” theme of Arby’s, than the lowercase letters they recently started using.

  14. Lynn says:

    Pretty much everything KFC phased out: the twister wraps, the classic sandwiches, the triple crunch zinger, the triple crunch melt. And the classic Popeye’s chicken sandwiches, on the sesame seed bun with shredded lettuce and pickles. To a lesser extent, the Taco Bell fiesta chicken bowls, but their taco salads are just as good.

  15. gnuyen says:

    i remember those McDLT’s and wish they would bring them back!

  16. Susan says:

    Oh my God, Burger Chef! The first fast-food joint to hit my neighborhood! It was just across the street from my high school, we all hung out there.

  17. Jamie says:

    Red Barn and the Barnbuster and Big Barney? Awesome restaurant! I wish someone would resurrect this franchise. The buildings STILL exist and are VERY recognizable.

  18. Anosmia says:

    I don’t know if this counts, but I still desperately miss the old-school fried pies at McDonald’s that disappeared in 1992. They still sell them at McDonald’s in most European countries, so whenever I’m abroad, I head to my nearest McD’s and eat my weight in pies. It’s kind of embarrassing but oh-so-worth it. At a McDonald’s in Kyiv I even scored a fried cherry pie–something that disappeared from the McDonald’s branches around my hometown (in PA) and current residence (in MD) long ago.

  19. Johnny C. says:

    I really liked Taco Bell’s Bell Beefer. I guess I don’t eat at Taco Bell often anymore because I didn’t know they stopped making these until I read this…I always thought that is was their signature burger. and part of the regular menu..oh well.
    As far as the McDLT, I ate a few in my time. It sounded like marketing but it really did taste better having the lettuce and tomato separate instead of all mushed together.

  20. Ryan Martinez says:

    I remember going to McDonald’s in the 80s with a female friend. She ordered a McDLT, if you remember it came in a clam shell with 2 compartments, one for the lettuce and tomato and the other for the meat. Well, my female friend opened it up and exclaimed “It comes with a salad!”

  21. Ben Goozner says:

    I remember a lot of them. The one I remember the most was a McDLT from the 80’s. I remember getting so tired of assembling the McDLT when I ordered one at Mc Donald’s that I started going to Wendy’s instead (Wendy’s was popular in the 80’s for their loaded baked patatos remember that?). That’s the reason why Mc Donald’s stopped having the McDLT! I got soo tired of the MdDLT that I never ordered the Big N’ Tasty from Mc Donald’s when they offered that.

  22. Daniel says:

    1. Hardees Blueberry Biscuits (Nothing will ever compare to fast food breakfast items)

    2. Triple Crunch Zinger Twister Wrap or sandwich from KFC. Honey bbq wings gone too now wtf?

    3. Old School Gotditas from Taco Bell when you could choose either Supreme, Santa Fe, or Fiesta.

    4. Arbys Five for Five Beef and Cheddars.

    5. Wendy’s original Cheddar Lovers Bacon Cheeseburgers

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