#949 Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants

McDonald's Neopolitan Shake

Ever had a neopolitan milkshake from McDonald’s?

One where they layer the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors in the same cup, creating a thick, icy, slow-moving light-brown-swirls-with-pink-flecks taste sensation? Yeah, my friend Chad was a regular customer of those. Of course, when he was working at McDonald’s he got sick of the regular menu pretty quickly and started tinkering in the back like a mad scientist with his coworkers, developing exotic, unstable, and unpredictable meal creations with the ingredients on hand. Yes, there were failed attempts, like the Chicken McNugget Flurry, but sometimes they struck gold and created a new off-the-menu line extension. I guess this is fairly common, because there are reports of online McDonald’s employee communities, where insider recipes such as the McBrushetta and McPancakeBatterFunnelCakes are shared.

Now, my world opened up when I first realized with Chad that you could order off-the-menu at fast food restaurants. Since that time I’ve learned about a few other secret options around. Like for instance:

Wendy’s – The Grand Slam. If the single, double, or triple hamburgers at Wendy’s just don’t cut it for you, just go all out and order the massive four-patty grand slam. Also known as the Classic Quadruple or The Meat Cube.Freshly squeezed and piping room temperature

McDonald’s – Fries with Big Mac Sauce. Lots of people put fries right on the burger, which I agree tastes delicious. But this technique allows you to switch things up a bit and put some of your burger’s best feature right on your fries. Try to ignore protests from your arteries, and just ask for that a little cup of Big Mac Sauce on the side for dipping.

Starbucks – The Red Eye. A cup of coffee with a shot of espresso dumped in. Now, I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but apparently you can even upgrade this to two shots which is called a Black Eye.  I presume upgrading to three shots is called a Jumpy, Unblinking Eye.

Most Fish & Chip places – Batter Bits. I knew a girl who was all over these. She’d lean in and guiltily ask in a hushed whisper and the guy behind the counter would nod slowly and hand over a wet, greasy paper bag full of all the batter drippings that fell into the oil by accident. Yeah, this is the bottom of the barrel of off-the-menu stylings. It ain’t always pretty out there.

In N' Out's famous animal-style burger

In-N-Out Burger – Animal Style Hamburger. The well-known ‘secret menu‘ at In-N-Out features this heavenly gem — their regular burger patty cooked in mustard, then topped with extra pickles, extra spread, and grilled onions. Yessir, In-N-Out will whip anything up — including messy Animal Style Fries or even a 100×100 order (100 patties and 100 slices of dee-licious cheese.)

Subway – The Pizza Sub. Apparently this one’s like sasquatch. There are scattered sightings everywhere and a few grainy videos that may have been tampered with. Another favorite from Subway, though not technically a menu item, is simply ‘the old cut’, where they dig a trench in your bread instead of just slicing it, leading to better cold cut and veggie distribution. Also known for causing The Wing Effect, where your bologna hangs out the sides of your sandwich for some tasty pre-nibbles.

McDonald’s – Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties. One last McDonald’s fixture — the ol’ bun-heavy Big Mac surgically altered to become a meat-heavy Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties instead. Now you’re much less likely to get that dreaded All-Bun first bite.

Starbucks secret short cup

Starbucks – The Short Cup. Even though the smallest size on the Starbucks menu is a ‘Tall’, they do offer a secret ‘Short’ size behind the counter. Perfect for that between-coffee-breaks coffee.

Now, I’m only one man, so I’m sure there are hundreds of great off-the-menu gems that I’ve never heard of or know about. But that’s the beauty! There are all these little surprises just waiting to be discovered. What possible fast-food mouth love will we discover next?

Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants is a great deal. Maybe you’re the loyal customer looking for that new taste. Maybe you have strict dietary restrictions so it’s either off-the-menu or no-menu-at-all. Or maybe you’re just a grumpy guy who makes flippant off-the-menu requests with a deep scowl and a foot-stomp.

But whatever the case, whatever your background, whatever your taste, I think we can all agree that it sure is nice getting a little something special for lunch now and then.


A 100x100 burger at In 'N' Out

 Photos from: here, here, and here

358 thoughts on “#949 Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants

  1. I work at a local Subway and the Pizza Sub is not on our menu. It only appears on menus under the Local Favourites when/if it becomes popular at the location.

    Another secret sub is the Chicken Pizziola. On a footlong, its 8 pieces of pepperoni, topped with 5oz of chicken strips and coated with marinara sauce and cheese before being toasted. Really good stuff.

  2. I have always seen the Pizza Sub here in the south. Also my roomate in college once got the Pizza Sub with Balls. Guess what that is…

    wait… hang on….

    My wife just said something about ordering Chicken Livers at KFC. ouch!

  3. At Jack in the Box you can order Swiss style for a jumbo jack with cheese all it does is change the cheese from American to Swiss. Also you can order Seasoned fries with bacon potato wedge cheese setup on your fries if you don’t like the potato wedges.

  4. The only sandwich I’ve ordered from Subway over the past nine years is the Pizza Sub. It used to be right on the regular menu, but it’s since been pushed off by recent additions.

    These days, half of the Subway employees I talk to have never heard of or made the sandwich. It’s easy enough. I’ve always had mine on Italian bread with marinara (out of the meatball pan), extra provolone and pepperoni, toasted.

  5. What the hell is wrong with all of you?? There’s like 30 to 40 items on the average fast-food place menu, and most fast-food places are located within a close proximity to other fast-food places. So if you don’t see anything you like – GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! The last thing the underpaid, over-worked, most likely ex-con or recovering drug or alcohol addict behind the counter wants to do is play a role in your stupid game of trying to make yourself feel “cool” by being a dick and ordering something “special”. It’s goddamn McDonald’s for Christsakes… You are not unique. You are not special. Order something normal like everyone else. Why do you feel you’re so important as to justify inconveniencing everyone in the whole damn store with your inane requests?? I honestly wish I could punch all of you…especially the jackass who tried to “describe a u-cut at subway.” If I were behind you in line while you wasted everyone’s time with this bullshit, I’d have beaten you down and taken your lunch money.

  6. @ Angry Food Service Worker

    At our Subway, while both the Pizza Sub and Chicken Pizziola are not on the menu, our staff are trained to know how to make it, and a button for it is located on our register. So, at least for my case, your argument is unjustified.

    As for the “U-Cut”, you’re right, its an absolute pain in the ass, and when a customer orders is, i give them fewer veggies so I can actually close the thing. But guess what? Since Subway used to make their subs that way, our employees are still expected to be trained to know how. So, pain in the ass or not, the customer is in the right.

  7. When I used to work at McDonald’s we would put the frozen grilled chicken breast in the fryer before putting on our sandwich. Was the most delicious creation EVER! And not healthy at all.

  8. I worked at Dairy Queen where they used to sell “Frozen hot chocolate.” It was the same price as a shake, only slightly larger and it was basically the same thing as a chocolate, caramel, or another non fruit flavored freeze… It was pretty much the best thing on the menu. Sugared ice water, ice cream and the flavoring mixed together topped with whip cream. It isn’t on the menu but at least the Dairy Queens in my area all know it if the person has worked there more than 6 months. Also, most things can be made cheaper if you know how to order them “correctly” such as ordering a hotdog add chili rather than a chili cheesedog without cheese.

  9. At McDonalds you can order a grilled cheese. It is just a bun with cheese. I think they put it on the grill to cook it.

    1. up here they used to have grilled cheese on the kiddie menu at mcdonalds. not sure if they still do as i dont go to fast food restaurants very often

    2. actually, they use two clubs, (the inside part of a Mac bun, or two heels, the bottom parts), put some cheese on it, and throw it in the q-ing oven. (heavy duty microwave).
      Step it up a notch and put some ketchup and bacon on it.. good stuff

  10. I only saw one mention above but Taco Bell in Canada has the Fries Supreme which the stores I’ve visited in the US do not have. Taco Bell stores that I have seen in the US don’t even have fries on the menu at all. Whats up with that?

    Anyway, fries supreme is basically the guts of a taco supreme spread over fries. It’s the only reason worth going there if you ask me.

  11. I read the article from reddit and brought back some good times. I emailed this to the blogger and he suggested I post it here, so…

    “Hi, I read your blog about stuff you can do at McDonalds, like ordering off-the-menu items. I’ve worked at McDonalds for two years now and frequently experiment with them all the time. Some can be quite complicated and some are just awesome (but take a while to make). In fact, experimenting with the food in ways not meant to is sort of a McDonalds tradition among us degenerate workers. I know in every store you find lazy workers with too much time on their hands can give you great results and new food ideas. Everything from deep-fried bacon to the perfect fountain drink combinations.

    For instance, if you mix half vanilla shake and half orange juice (a little more vanilla than orange), you make a creamsickle shake. Pretty simple creation, but it definitely tastes great. Another great one was told to me by a former McDonalds worker who invented the “Big Flac”, which is a Big Mac with Filet patties. Apparently it’s really good, but I don’t eat fish so I wouldn’t know. Those creations may sound ho-hum, and that’s because they are. But here’s where things get interesting and really fun.

    McQuesadillas are a great example. Take fajita chicken, about 7 or 8oz and place it evenly on top of a tortilla (which will be your base). Now put green pepper, tomatoes, onions, and lots of cheese (and any other toppings you may want), and put another tortilla on top. Set the oven to “apple pie” and leave it for a few minutes until the cheese is nice and melted. Take it out and serve for a nice crunchy and cheesy treat. If you want to give it more of a kick, try adding the Spicy Buffalo Snack Wrap sauce to it before or after putting it in the oven.

    Deep fried grilled chicken has to be one of the greatest tasting chickens McDonalds has, but nobody would ever know because only a moron would deepfry something like that (unless they had the intention of breaking the fryer). But lo-and-behold, it works great. If you set the deepfryer to “junior chicken” then dunk the meat in the fryer, it comes up tasting like heaven.

    But above all is the grand-daddy of McDonalds testing ass-holery, the McDonuts. First put on rubber gloves and take the middle of a big mac bun and squish it into a small ball, and dunk it into the deepfryer (preferrably not the filet deep fryer unless you want it tasting like fish). After it’s golden brown, go to the shake machine and cover it in the caramel intended for the sundaes. After the hot caramel hardens a tiny bit (not too much), then sprinkle sugar on top. They’re fantastic. You can subsequently make the donut tasting like several flavors, like chocolate (with the caramel topping), or raspberry. There’s usually promotional flavors too to try like cherry or blackberry from time to time. If you want even more fun, put the sundae topping on then replace the sugar coating with oreo crumble, kit-kat, peanuts, granola or smarties from the McFlurry toppings.

    There’s a bunch more, but this should give you some fun stuff to work with. It’s not always easy to work at a McDonalds, but it can be fun if you see just what’s available to you.”

  12. The pizza sub is real. My brother gets it every time we eat at Subway. It’s made with marinara sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and optional veggies. It IS on the menu.

  13. There are several interesting and unusual things in the article and subsequent comments (we used to make various forms of taco pizzas at pizza hut – some are still on franchise menus) but none were as entertaining as Angry Food Service Worker. :)

  14. The pizza sub is actually on the menu at the Subway near my work under “local favorites.”

    It’s pretty much fantastic. I don’t even get veggies on it. Bread, huge pepperonis, marinara, American cheese and parmesan.

  15. You can still get the discontinued Cheesarito at Taco Bell. It has Mexican Pizza sauce, two helpings of cheddar cheese and green onions, all nicely steamed and melted.

  16. Starbucks:
    You can order a Captain Crunch that tastes exactly like the Berries and Cream Captain Crunch cereal.

    Strawberries and creme frappuccino with toffee nut syrup and java chips!

  17. The Pizza Sub is on the menu at all the Subways in Canada, but there’s also a Chicken Pizzaiola sub, which is their “Chicken Parmesean” sub, or pizza sub +chicken. Damn good if you want the extra calories haha

  18. What a fun post!
    The Subway here has an actual personal pizza on the menu (but not a pizza sub) and it’s one of the best pizzas around. I’ve never seen it on the menu at any other Subways.

    I’m not a huge fan of Taco Bell, but my local one will make me a guacamole taco. Most of the time they know what I want when I order it, but sometimes I have to order it as a taco with no meat, but guacamole in place of the meat. It’s really pretty good.

    Also, did you know McDs sells bags of ice? Not really an off the menu item, but it was surprising to me when I found out. :)

  19. Ah, so it was called a black eye.

    When I used to work for a coffee house, that was what I would make for myself to keep me going. A combo of work, school and an insidious addiction to mah-jong kept my sleep time to about 2 hours a night.

    As for off menu stuff, it would depend on what restaurant you’re at, right? I was with a guy in San Francisco when he ordered fried pig bung at a chinese place. I’m Chinese too and I’ve eaten some pretty out there stuff, but damn if that dish didn’t smell like they forgot to clean the chute out before frying it.

    1. here’s one for ya, at subway order the hot chicken sub ask them to put the meatball sauce on it and then cheese, kind of like a chicken parmigiana, they’re wicked, i call it a pepino…

  20. I used to work at a Max & Erma’s, and one of the really popular off-menu treats was simply taking the Black Bean Roll-ups (one of the “healthy” menu items) and having ’em deep fry it. SOOOOO good.

  21. here in victoria the pizza sub is on all the menus, i was surprised that it’s not a staple everywhere else!

    i used to work at subway, it was actually one of our more commonly requested sandwiches

  22. Some friends of mine would get a jr. double bacon cheeseburger from Wendy’s on Frescata buns. Depending on who your cashier was they would either hook you up or stare at you blindly.

    Unfortunately the Frescata sandwhiches are now discontinued.

  23. Hardies used to have a veggieburger off menu, you had to ask for it, and maybe only the shift manager might know about it.

  24. A great beverage to order at Dunkin’ Donuts is a Creamsicle Coolata. Its just the orange and vanilla coolata’s mixed.

  25. @ Angry Food Service Worker

    I work customer service in retail, and I’ll admit I’ve never worked fast food, but I have had my fair share of Idiot customers, and I have to say, IT’S YOUR JOB. If you don’t like it quit, if you don’t want to quit, stop your complaining. I don’t like people who think their special and different from all the other customers either, but I at least keep my mouth shut because I’m being paid to deal with them, so take your entitlement attitude somewhere else, no one wants to hear it.

    also, like a lot of posts, we also have the Pizza Sub where I live. Also, Arby’s has taken the chicken Cordon blu off the menu, but they’ll still make it if you ask, at least everywhere I’ve been.

  26. Starbucks has Chantico which is super rich hot chocolate – almost melted chocolate.

    Also, the double chocolate chip blended creme which isn’t always on the menu. “Peppermint hot chocolate” and “caramel apple cider” is also good.

  27. Black eye, brown eye, brown star, whatever. Here in Seattle a drip coffee with ‘spro shots is called “shot in the dark.” JFK is pretty damn funny, tho.

  28. My favorite:
    Arbys has the awesome “Beef n’ Cheddar” and the much cheaper “Arby’s Melt”, but the melt is dry without the sauce that comes with the beef n’ cheddar. Order an Arby’s Melt with a side of “Arby’s sauce” to complete this tasty sandwich.

  29. I worked at a Pizza Hut restaurant in Australia and among the many things we invented were:

    A bowl of bolognaise sauce on top of creamy pasta salad.
    Turkey pizza with no cheese, extra chilli and jalapenos.
    Creaming Soda (red drink) with pepsi.

    I also have a lot of friends that dip Maccas fries in the sundaes.

  30. Here in the North East UK, batter bits are practically compulsory when you get anything at the fish shop, they’ll ask if you want ‘batter’ on it. We often ask for a bag of batter and sprinkle it as and where when we get home.
    Starbucks here offer the ‘short’ cup too, and it’s ideal and cheap…

  31. You can’t get it unless you know someone, but pizza hut has the ability to make a chocolate pizza. It’s delicious. Also, they have pan style dessert pizzas upon request.

  32. I always order the Charamel Sundae, a sundae ice cream with chocolate and caramel sauce and the vegetarian burger I always order asswell, that isn’t on the menu too. I think you can order a lot of expired limited products :)

  33. The pizza sub was taken off the menu at Subway when they started the whole Jared ad campaign. You can’t brag about having X amount of items on your menu that have less than 6 grams of fat in them when you have a pizza sub. Just ask for it instead.

    Dairy Queen had a Peanut Butter Blizzard that is no longer on the menu. I sometimes try to order it and explain to them what’s in it but they hardly ever get it right.
    Peanut butter cups, Peanut Butter Sauce, and Cone dip.

    1. I’m not sure where you live but here in Canada, I think Senor Froggies is THE ABSOLUTE BEST!!! Highly recommend it to you!

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