30 Nostalgic Fast Food Items from the 80s and 90s That We'll Never Forget

By Jack Ripley | October 3, 2023

McDonald’s Fried Apple Pie

If you grew up in the 1980s or 1990s, you may have fond memories of fast food items that are no longer available. These menu items had cult followings and loyal fans who still reminisce about their favorite bites. Whether it was the McDLT, the McArch, the Taco Bell Enchirito, Pizza Hut's Triple Decker Pizza, the McLobster, Onion Nuggets, or the Burger King Dinner Baskets, these discontinued items were often ahead of their time or just plain irresistible. In this gallery, we will take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most beloved fast food items of the past. So sit back, grab a drink, and enjoy the nostalgia trip. Keep reading to see if your favorite fast food item made the list.

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(Serious Eats)

McDonald's decision to replace their classic fried apple pie with a baked version in most states (excluding Hawaii) during the 1990s was an attempt to cater to health-conscious customers. However, even after two decades, fans of the original fried pie are still campaigning for its return. Supporters of the fried pie argue that its crispy pastry and piping hot filling are far superior to the bland baked version. One Change.org petition urges McDonald's to embrace their identity as an indulgent fast-food chain and bring back the fried pie, stating, "McDonald's, we know you're not good for us. Step up, own what you are, and put the pies back in the fryer."

McDonald's Arch Deluxe

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The Arch Deluxe, McDonald's $150 million gambit, remains a perplexing enigma to this day. Despite its reputation as a fancier Big Mac, the Arch Deluxe's hefty price tag left many questioning the wisdom of McDonald's massive investment in its promotion. The burger's upscale ingredients and premium quality were undoubtedly delicious, yet it failed to gain traction as a menu item, ultimately doomed by its own lofty ambitions.

While the Arch Deluxe's taste was never in question, its failure can be attributed to its inability to find a place in a menu already established with cheaper, more accessible alternatives. The Arch Deluxe ultimately became a cautionary tale for fast-food marketers, a reminder that success is not always guaranteed by upgrading a beloved classic. In hindsight, the Arch Deluxe's extravagant rollout may have been an overreach, a costly misstep in an industry built on consistency and familiarity.