Many restaurant menus have a secret side — a hidden set of entrees, sides and whatnot.
You’ve probably never heard of the Burritodilla (Chipotle). Or the Suicide Burger (Burger King). Or the Land, Sea and Air Burger (McDonald’s).
Or heck, maybe you have. Secret menus are not that secret. Some stumble upon secret menu items online; others learn about them through word-of-mouth. Per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, why the items stay hidden is a marketing matter. Their appeal is thought to be limited, so it doesn’t justify the cost of introducing and promoting them.
Yours Truly reached out to a few local businesses to gain more insight. But as we all know, you can’t spell “Doesn’t Call Back” without the letters “D.C.” The mystery endures.
Fortunately, you don’t need security clearance to learn what’s on secret menus.
Below is a lovingly aggregated collection of choice secret menu items. Some secret menus are longer than you’d expect, which is why links are provided if you want to explore more.
One last thing: Have the recipe ready to share when you order, because there’s a chance they won’t know what you’re talking about. In some cases, you might have to order multiple things and assemble it yourself. Such is life.
DOUBLE GRILLED CHEESE BURGER. A double cheeseburger, with two grilled-cheese sandwiches doing the work of the bun. You might need to spell it out for whichever one of the five guys is taking orders that day. Tweet a picture of it before you dig in, and tag the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
CHIP BUTTY. Assemble your own U.S. version of a brilliant U.K. after-bar classic. It’s basically a small order of fries inside of an untoasted bun. Add ketchup or malt vinegar, and Bob’s your uncle.
LITTLE BACON CHEESEBURGER BOWL. Inspired by the classic children’s book of the same name, this dish forgoes the carbs. Simply order a little bacon cheeseburger with pickles, grilled onions, green peppers, mayo and mustard. Lose the bun, then add hot sauce if you feel so inclined.
PATTY MELT. Order a grilled cheese with (at least) one patty. While it’s not the conventional patty melt with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese, you do maintain the flexibility to customize with various toppings.
“THE ARTERY ANNIHILATOR.” It’s a bacon cheeseburger with a bacon hot dog cut in half and placed atop it. A great way to impress her on that first date.
STEAK FRITES. A decidedly blue collar take on the French staple. Order fries with a bunless burger that’s been topped with A1 steak sauce. A great way to impress her if she agrees to a second date.
SLOPPY JOE. If you’re among the 0.1% of Americans who craves a sloppy joe, here’s a way to get the flavor profile without the unconstructed mess. Order a burger and top with it with grilled green peppers and onions, along with barbecue sauce and ketchup.
PEANUT BUTTER BACON BURGER. On the street, it’s known as a Bacon Shack Burger served with peanut sauce. You’ll need to supply your own strawberry preserves to truly top it off properly.
ICE CREAM SANDWICH. Some assembly required. Get a scoop of ice cream with a toasted bun on the side. Add scoop to the bun. It’s messy, so you’ll need to put it on speakerphone when you tell your personal trainer you can’t make it to the gym.
QUAD BURGER. Yep. Four patties on this big boy, which can be customized per your appetite. Don’t forget the fries.
GRILLED CHEESE. There’s widespread online acclaim for this entry. It’s amazing what a little butter and griddle time will do to the simplest of dishes. Adding bacon is said to be, understandably, a popular modification.
CHILI PEPPER CHEESE FRIES. These are fries with chili peppers and cheese on top.
CHEESE DOG: It’s a hot dog split down the middle, with cheese sauce poured on top for you health nuts out there.
LAND, SEA AND AIR BURGER. It’s a fast-food Voltron, comprising processed animal protein from the land (two McDouble patties), sea (Filet-o-Fish square) and air (McChicken)! If they give you a blank look when you order it, order the components and build your own with appropriate sound effects.
CHICKEN McGRIDDLE. Deep fried chicken sandwiched inside the McGriddle’s weird pancake-tasting bun thing. Add cheese, bacon and/or egg to it if you don’t plan to be eating for another day or so.
BIG MAC ‘N’ CHEESE. A pretty sad vegetarian option. Long story short, it’s a Big Mac minus the meat. Downside here is no plant-based protein substitute. Worse, you’re still paying full price for a Big Mac, but at least it’s fun to yell it out when you order at the drive-thru.
MONSTER MAC. Ronald McDonald was working in the lab, late one night, when he came up with … a Big Mac with eight patties? It’s aliiiiiiive!
DENALI MAC. This Big Mac variant is built around two quarter-pounder patties. Do the math: That’s a half-pound of meat. And it is perfectly normal to eat a half-pound of meat in one sitting. Named after the tallest peak in North America, it’s actually on the official menu in Alaska.
THE Mc1035. A tribute to that magical time of the morning when McDonald’s transitions from breakfast to lunch/dinner. (Some breakfast items are available all day now.) It’s a combination of the Egg McMuffin and a McDouble. Transfer the beef from the burger to the McMuffin, and that’s it. What do you do with the rest of the McDouble? Ummm … trade it back for store credit? Sell it to a pawnshop? Call a hazmat team?
THE APPLE PIE McFLURRY. Ask them to add a baked apple pie to your McFlurry ice cream thing. If they don’t, DIY, then write a stern letter to Mayor McCheese.
RED EYE. Drip coffee with an added shot of espresso. You can order it with yet another shot of espresso and get a BLACK EYE. Is that too much caffeine? Well, as a former newspaper guy, Yours Truly can proclaim it was barely enough.
GREEN EYE. You mean there’s a variant with a THIRD shot of espresso?! Why didn’t we know about this sooner?
LIQUID COCAINE. Four shots of espresso, served with four pumps of white chocolate syrup over ice. OK, that’s just overkill.
PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE FRAPPUCCINO. Only available during pumpkin spice season. (Which begins when? Like Labor Day now?) Pumpkin Spice Crème Frappuccino, with cinnamon syrup, mocha sauce and java chips.
THREE C’S LATTE. A Cinnamon Dolce Latte with mocha and caramel syrup added. Anything with caramel is never bad, so no critique is necessary here.
CARAMEL SNICKERDOODLE MACCHIATO. Oh, hi there. Iced Soy Macchiato served upside down (i.e., espresso is poured last), with vanilla and cinnamon syrup.
COUNT CHOCULA FRAPPUCCINO. Disclosure: Yours Truly is a proud, unpaid brand advocate for Count Chocula. He’s a dude who gets nourishment not from blood, but from his marshmallow-laden namesake. And he’s no weirdo like that Cocoa Puffs bird. The drink: whole milk with vanilla bean powder, marshmallow and mocha syrups, whipped cream and mocha drizzle.
BURRITODILLA. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Hey, this sounds like a potential hybrid of burrito and quesadilla.” Right you are. Best description of it is a quesadilla with half the contents of a burrito, but more cheese. Then it’s folded closed.
QUESARITO. Take a burrito, then wrap a quesadilla around it. Then keep the Maalox handy. Perfect for when you’re trying to impress a would-be client.
DOUBLE-WRAPPED BURRITO. It’s a burrito with an extra tortilla wrapped around it — ya know, for when it’s cold outside. And unlike a lot of secret menu items, this option reportedly doesn’t cost any extra.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK BURRITO. Substitute guacamole for cheese sauce in this variant of the Five-Layer Burrito. Another version, THE HULK, adds guac to a Bean-and-Cheese Burrito. Safe to say guac is the consistent here. If it smashes your appetite, you did it right.
THE CHEESARITO. Rolled-up tortilla containing melted cheese, scallions and taco sauce. Really not sure what to think. A polite “no” for now.
CHILI CHEESE BURRITO. Not much more to it than a tortilla, cheese and chili. Despite the simplicity, it sounds like it’s worth the mess. That combination works with just about anything else on the Bell’s official menu, too.
DOUBLE-GRILLED QUESADILLA. It is what it is. The result is a crispier exterior to go along with the interior goo.
THE SUPERMAN BURRITO. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Cheesy Double Beef Burrito loaded with extra potatoes, sour cream, guac and tortilla strips — and an infringement of Warner Bros.’ intellectual property!