Culinary Time Travel: Iconic Fast Food Memories from the '80s and '90s

By Jack Ripley | May 14, 2024

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.

test article image
(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 Pizza

test article image
(reddit)

McDonald's foray into the world of pizza during the 1980s and 1990s remains one of the fast-food giant's most curious experiments. The McPizza persisted throughout the decade, as McDonald's sought to refine its recipe and capture a slice of the pizza market. Despite its enduring presence on menus, one issue proved insurmountable - time.

In the fast-paced world of fast food, where customers expect their meals in a matter of minutes, the McPizza's preparation time of 11 minutes proved to be an Achilles' heel. Unable to meet the demands of a time-conscious market, the McPizza was unceremoniously dumped from menus.