We’re Praying for the Return of These 8 Discontinued Menu Items
Doja, are you listening?
Some of our nation’s best chain restaurants have been able to withstand the test of time, while others have not been so fortunate. But while these eateries have withered the ages, many of their dishes have not survived an array of menu changes. Here are some of our favorite dishes that haven’t lasted through the years, but we can only hope they’ll get the same treatment that Taco Bell gave its beloved Mexican Pizza (thanks, in part, to Doja Cat) – that is, if the chain’s still around.
Quesadilla Burger – Applebee’s
When Applebee's came to my hometown in high school, the Quesadilla Burger was my go-to order. I loved the combination of fresh pico, fatty bacon, crunchy lettuce, creamy cheese and sour cream (or ranch; we'll never know) all wrapped up with a burger patty in a tortilla that was griddled to perfection. All of these elements inside the tortilla meant I never needed extra sauces on the side. It was that good. Served with seasoned fries, this dish was my favorite way to eat a burger as a teenager.
-T.K. Brady, Senior Editor
Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas – Chili’s
I remember the first time Chili’s made a noticeable move to scale back its menu. The sour cream chicken enchiladas were the last of their assortment of enchiladas remaining. I thought, “Surely they’d never be rid of them.” That was a lie. One day, on a typical outing with the fam, the enchiladas were missing – gone forever. I’ll never get that gooey, cheesy, chickeny, slightly spicy mass, wrapped in a tortilla and topped with a corn salsa that bursts with every bite, at least not from Chili’s. Instead, I must choose a new “regular” whose mediocrity will never compare to what once was.
-Sam Burros, Culinary Editorial Fellow
Caramel Apple Empanada – Taco Bell
The day Taco Bell they removed the Caramel Apple Empanada from its Taco Bell menu was one of the darkest times in my life. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but I was pretty upset. It was flaky, it was piping hot, it was ONLY A SINGLE DOLLAR!!! I've been forced to come up with my own recipe over the years which definitely does the trick, but I will yearn for the days where enlightenment could be achieved with just a quick drive-thru stop. Before bae there was cae.
-Toren Weiner, VP Social & Convergence
Baja and Nacho Cheese Chalupas – Taco Bell
I'd love to know who is responsible for taking Baja and Nacho Cheese Chalupas off of the Taco Bell menu. To this day there is no better fast food combo. In a perfect world you'd start with the decadence of the Nacho Chalupa, with some fire sauce to cut through the thick cheesiness. You then finish with the cool and refreshing taste of the Baja Chalupa, whose sauce was bright and citrusy. The crunch! The balance of flavors! They still can't be beat.
-Larisa Alvarez, Executive Culinary Producer
Taco Salad – Chi-Chi’s
During my high school days, peak mall dining was a taco salad from Chi-Chi's, a now-defunct chain restaurant that was Mexican the way Pepé Le Pew is French – completely inauthentic and exaggerated to the point of hilarity. Shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, guac and cheese (maybe some canned black olives, too?) were all housed in the best part: a big, fluted taco shell that totally blew my teenage mind – it's an edible bowl you don't have to wash! The salad was doused with a smoky, limey Calypso dressing that tasted like sour cream dreams. Sadly, the American franchise went belly up in 2004 but Chi-Chi’s is still very much alive today in Europe, the Middle East and my own nostalgia vault.
-Susan Chuong, Recipe Editor
Snack Wrap – McDonald’s
What I would do for another McDonald's Snack Wrap! I had many Snack Wraps while in college, and I miss them dearly. They featured a crispy chicken tender, shredded iceberg lettuce and a drizzle of ranch dressing, all wrapped inside a warm flour tortilla, for a tasty, cheap, handheld meal. The restaurant chain went on to create other Snack Wrap varieties, including one with honey mustard and another with grilled chicken. Hopefully one day McDonald’s willl bring Snack Wraps back to its menu, but until then, I'll have to recreate my own version at home.
-Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer
SuperBar – Wendy’s
I fondly remember Wendy's salad bar – called SuperBar. Maybe it's because my best friend's grandma was in charge of keeping the one at our local chain clean and restocked. But really it was the copious amounts of ham, cheese, croutons and ranch dressing we piled and poured onto iceberg lettuce. French fries dipped in a communal Frosty would finish the meal.
-Leah Brickley, Senior Editor
Cinnamelts – McDonald’s
Man, I miss Cinnamelts from McDonald’s. The (kind of secret?) menu item was a brilliant upgrade, in my opinion, to cinnamon rolls. This to-die-for dessert maintained the pillowy, pully dough of cinnamon rolls we all know and love, but shaped said dough into pull-apart monkey bread. And of course, it was finished with a generous helping of oozy frosting that leaked into every crevice of the pastry. It was like getting all the best parts of a cinnamon roll, with none of the mess. I loved sinking my fork into this, and savoring every bite.
-Maggie Wong, Editor