When everyone was posting their various year-end lists last December, Yahoo published a list of 7 fast food items that were discontinued in the year 2013. "Seven?" I thought upon reading the hack writing Yahoo often mistakes for journalism. "We lost more than seven fast food classics this year! For shame, Yahoo!" And, boy, did I shame Yahoo. Oh, the shaming I did.
We lost a lot of good bad-for-you food last year, and Yahoo's 7 was just the tip of the onion ring tower. So, here I go again picking up Yahoo's slack, and on my own no less. I give you 7 More Fast Food Items We Lost in 2013. (I tried to keep it to national chains, but there were a couple of local favorites I was forced to say good-bye too that I wanted to include.)
1) The Big Bur-Chicken (Hardee's): Leave it to Hardee's to go big to the point of lunacy, the Big Bur-Chicken sandwich had it all: red meat, breaded chicken, deep-fried vegetables, a hauntingly familiar sauce, wilted lettuce shreds. The Bur-Chicken was a full pound of ground beef stuffed with a boneless, fried chicken breast, topped with fried onion straws and fried pickles, doused liberally in a pink sauce that kinda of tasted like barbecue mixed with ranch dressing (FYI: That's exactly what it was) and sprinkled with shredded lettuce, because, mmmmm-mmm, shredded lettuce. The finished sandwich was then sent through Hardee's patented Sandwich Sloppifier, and served to customers with a side of fries and a gallon of Dr. Pepper for $14.95. Surprisingly, it wasn't the price that did in the Big Bur-Chicken, but rather the protesting of Christian groups who felt the mingling of burger meat and chicken was an affront to Nature and, therefore, to God. Hardee's, who are as known for their willingness to cave in to special interests groups as they are for their sloppy sandwiches, stopped selling the Bur-Chicken, and a legend was snuffed out forever.
2) The Flamer (Chick-fil-A): Take one of Chick-fil-A's world-famous spicy chicken patties, top it with a liberal dose of Polynesian Sauce, and don't forget Chick-fil-A's signature duo of dill pickle slices, and you've got the Flamer. The thing that set the Flamer apart from every other sandwich at Chick-fil-A occurred at check-out. After your sandwich had been handcrafted by one of Chick-fil-A's talented sandwich artists in Jesus' name Amen, the cashier would study the orderer of said sandwich for a couple of seconds to determine whether or not said orderer was, in fact, a homosexual or not. If it was determined that the orderer was a homosexual, the cashier would simply unwrap the sandwich, remove the top bun, spit, replace the top bun, re-wrap the sandwich, throw it on the floor at the orderer's feet, and wish the orderer a "blessed day." When asked about the Flamer, Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy, said, "We chose to top the sandwich with our signature Polynesian Sauce because it's sweet, spicy and fun, just like gays. We chose the spicy chicken filet to remind the homosexual of the Hell that awaits him upon his death."
The Flamer was discontinued because people don't like having their food spit on, oddly enough.
3) McSalad McBalls (McDonald's): Food in ball form is almost always better than unballed food. Unless it's salad. McDonald's learned this the hard way when they added McSalad McBalls to their new Healthy McChoices menu. Maybe it was the wilted lettuce. Perhaps it was the lack of tomatoes. It could've been the fact that the balls were held together by a combination of mayonnaise and congealed bacon grease. Who knows? All I know is that McSalad McBalls are no more, and I've got a pretty fun story about the eight hours I spent in the emergency room after eating a 10-piece order of them.
5) The Baconeer (Pizza Hut): If I learned one thing from TV this holiday season, it was that people enjoy things, but mostly bowls, made out of bacon. Pizza Hut, a restaurant that fostered in a Young Matt both a love of reading and overeating, could have put out another bacon-topped pizza this year, but they went a different route; a sexier route; a route fraught with three or five lawsuits, but a route less taken, and isn't that what Robert Frost was talking about in that poem? That was a poem about pizza, right?
Anyway, the Baconeer wasn't just topped with bacon, it was MADE OF bacon. That's right. Where most pizzas have crust, the Baconeer had bacon. Where most pizzas have pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, sausage, cheese and sauce, the Baconeer had bacon. It was basically just bacon, served with a Ranch dipping sauce and complimentary Bacon Bread. A lot of people ordered it. Some of those people died. Their families were given their own Pizza Hut franchises to run in low-income communities. Several of these brand-new Pizza Hut franchisees were shot at and robbed. Pizza Hut paid them off in Wing Street coupons. That seemed to calm shit down. The Baconeer was discontinued, the recipe burned unceremoniously in a pizza oven at Pizza Head headquarters.
6) Cigarette Coke (Stumpee's): If given my choice of Coca-Cola mix-ins, I typically chose vanilla, but local hot dog joint, Stumpee's, offered something a little different this year: Cigarette Coke. I don't smoke any more, but I did on and off during college, so, sometimes, I miss the taste of a good cigarette. Or a bad cigarette. I miss cigarettes. Knowing this to be a real thing among former smokers, Stumpee's found a way to mix the grossness of smoking with the sickening sweetness of Coke to create a beverage I tried exactly one time. It was terrible and I vomited in Stumpee's already pretty gross dining room. They removed Cigarette Coke from the menu after a handful of fellow idiots ordered it and puked all over the place. Stumpee's burned down last month and it's owner, Ray "Stumpy" Stumpee, disappeared. I'll miss that place. No I won't.
7) Ice Cream Hat (Uncle Schlumpy's Ice Cream Novelties & Wine Bar): Another local favorite, Uncle Schlumpy's started a pretty cool promotion in the summer of 2013: Come in with a hat and we'll fill it with ice cream. It was great. To my knowledge the only reason it was discontinued was the fact that Uncle Schlumpy's burned down in December under mysterious circumstances and owner, Jarvis "Schlumpy" Uncles, disappeared. I live in a weird town.