The return of Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza didn’t last long. A craze for the seasoned beef and refried bean pie caused supplies to run out just two weeks after the beloved Taco Bell menu item returned in April. (Hey, Americans do love their Mexican food.)
“Upon its menu return, demand for the Mexican Pizza was seven times higher than when previously available,” the company told CNN Business.
In response, the American Mexican food joint took a couple of months to carve a better plan for the dish. On August 2, the company tweeted that the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza would make its glorious — and permanent — reappearance for late-night diners on September 15.
The beans have been spilled. See you and the #MexicanPizza 9/15.
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) August 2, 2022
Following this news, The Manual takes a look at six to ten other discontinued fast food items that fans are clamoring for the return of. Let’s dive into some of the best fast food from the recent and long-ago past.
A super-sized salad bar that included pizza, spaghetti, tacos, and nachos?! All for a measly $3?! What could be better?!
The Wendy’s SuperBar made its appearance in the late 1980s, supersizing the decade’s salad bar fad with international additions. Three sections offered a veritable smorgasbord: the “Garden Spot,” with multiple salad and/or potato toppings (and pudding or jello dessert options); a “Mexican” section, with hard or soft shell tacos, Wendy’s chili, and rice and refried beans sides; and an “Italian” section sporting linguini and rotini pasta meat and Alfredo sauce, and Wendy’s breadsticks.
As far as inventory goes, the SuperBar was efficient. Extra hamburgers were ground into the chili, the meat sauce, and taco filling. Breadsticks were just toasted burger buns. Tacking $2.99 onto any meal seemed like a steal. Under Wendy’s fancy, 1990s floor-to-ceiling glass sunroom, diners could experience a restaurant feel for cheap.
Alas, all good things come to an end. Keeping the SuperBar stocked and clean wasn’t easy as buffets quickly became a backed-up mess. Profits were difficult to maintain when customers took all-you-can-eat a bit too literally. Too complicated and too expensive for a food turnover factory like Wendy’s to run, the chain discontinued the SuperBar in 1998.
Its spirit lives on, though, in odd, hungry corners of the internet. Facebook’s “Bring back Wendy’s Superbar” celebrates and cheers for the return of the super nostalgic era.
The SuperBar group has a cousin on Facebook (though it’s mostly just corny salad jokes). ”Bring Back McSalad Shakers” is stumping for the Golden Arches to restock one of its most wasteful, convenient green meals on its menu.
McSalad shakers came in meal-sized plastic cups (about the size of a medium fountain soda) with plastic tops. The one-use container allowed eaters to shake up ingredients from three menu options — Chef, Grilled Chicken Caesar, and Garden.
The Chef McSalad Shaker mixed ham, turkey, a cheddar and jack cheese blend, chopped eggs, chopped tomato, and green onions with greens. The Garden McSalad Shaker was the same as the chef, sans deli meats. The Chicken Caesar was a green mix with sliced grilled chicken breast, and shredded parmesan cheese.
Despite its major contribution to landfills, McSalad Shakers offer quite a bang for a couple of bucks. Though popular, McDonald’s found the mix to be too specialized and too much for too cheap, discontinuing McSalad Shakers in favor of salads in a bowl in 2003.
Taco Bell Chilito
Taco Bell’s Chilito falls under the similar mythic designation as the McRib. Technically no longer a part of the menu at the Mexican fast food restaurant, the Chilito appears at dozens of franchises, conveniently mapped out by Living Mas.
Originally appearing on the “.59, .79, .99 cent” menu (yes, Taco Bell was that cheap in the 1990s), the Chilito is/was a simple flour tortilla wrap filled with chili, onions, and cheese. Culled in menu downsizing, the gooey, slightly spicy wrap was/is a delicious, forbidden treat that still inspires a cult following.
A Change.org petition surpassed 2,500 signatures, though the campaign’s been running for a few years now. If you’re a fan, maybe it’s time to have your voice heard.
Panera Bread’s Fontina Grilled Cheese
Another cheesy option, Panera Bread’s Fontina Grilled Cheese was heaven for curdled dairy lovers. The magic came from the eponymous Fontina — a creamy, sharp cheese that added a wonderful bite to toasted bread. Dipped in soup, this soaking sandwich was a wonderful addition to lunch.
Discontinued in 2015 in favor of a less expensive one-cheese grilled option, melted sandwich lovers still lament the loss.
RIP Fontina Grilled Cheese from Panera. Gone but never forgotten. pic.twitter.com/kqknK5ro3Y
— Brooks Hanrahan (@brookshanrahan) June 1, 2016
There’s little momentum for a reappearance, however, with a Care2 petition only receiving 37 votes for bringing back the Fontina Grilled Cheese in the past few years. Maybe people have just figured out how to make their own grilled sandwich on the stovetop…
Chipotle Smoked Brisket
Chipotle’s smoked brisket?! The fast Mexican food franchise’s new meat option appeared and vanished more quickly than Pokemon Go.
them: why are you angry
me: because chipotle got rid of brisket
— Stryer 🌊 (@stryermusic) August 3, 2022
It wasn’t due to lack of popularity that Chipotle pulled the meat from shelves. Chipotle discontinued its smoked brisket only two months after it became available. First tested in a limited fashion in November 2020 at more than 60 California and Ohio restaurants, brisket made a nationwide, specialty appearance in October 2021. Though these specials usually last an entire quarter, unexpected demand forced the restaurant’s hand, canceling brisket only a month-and-a-half in.
CEO Brian Niccol told financial analysts that brisket’s sales helped bolster the company’s third-quarter sales. The CEO noted Chipotle’s satisfaction with the drop, adding that the restaurant will “probably do brisket again at some point in the future.”
No social movement necessary here!
Moving onto the sweeter side of the fast food menu, McDonald’s Cinnamelts, like Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza, were a victim of the pandemic. As the ubiquitous cheap food giant cut back during cost-cutting measures in response to the worldwide shutdown, Cinnamelts got the ax. Fans are still not happy with the decision.
yo @McDonalds .. i want these back pic.twitter.com/W63MktjaXQ
— Noah Cyrus (@noahcyrus) August 22, 2018
Viewed as an upgrade to typical cinnamon rolls, Cinnamelts drowned pillowy, stretchy cinnamon roll-dough bites in a soup of oozing frosting, all nestled precariously in a paper box. The pull-apart, monkey bread pastry served up the best parts of a cinnamon roll with a fork to scoop and savor every super-sweet bite.
Cinnamelts’ Change campaign is firing along with over 13,000 signatories demanding McDonald’s bring back the dreamy dessert.
Responding to Consumer Demand
A powerful blend of social campaigning and celebrity stumping helped to bring back the Mexican Pizza. Superfan Krish Jagirdar gathered over 200,000 signatures with his campaign to add a vegetarian version of the dish, and Doja Cat used her platform to proclaim eternal love for the pizza sauce-topped tortilla.
Only time will tell which treasured meal might return next. Keep an eye on The Manual for further sentimental delectable developments.
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