The Discontinued McDonald's Menu Item That We Miss The Most

McDonald's burger, fries, and drink
McDonald's burger, fries, and drink - 6428W Digital Art/Shutterstock

If there's anything more disappointing than learning that a restaurant discontinued your favorite menu item, it's biting into a juicy burger only to find that it's topped with warm, limp lettuce. That's why, after ranking 13 popular discontinued McDonald's items, we decided that the McDLT is the item we miss the most. An '80s hit, the McDLT was McDonald's solution to soggy burger fixings. Ultimately just a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and pickles, what set this sandwich apart was its distinct packaging.

Served in a dual-sided polystyrene foam container, the components of the sandwich were separated based on their temperature. In one half was a hot burger patty on top of a warm bottom bun; in the other half was a cool top bun loaded with lettuce, tomato, pickles, condiments, and a slice of cheese.

A feat in engineering, the two-sided container was designed specifically to house the McDLT — McDonald's Lettuce and Tomato Hamburger. The foam container kept the cool ingredients cool and the hot ingredients hot (as was noted in a catchy 1985 jingle for the McDLT sung by "Seinfeld" actor Jason Alexander). Although the onus of constructing the sandwich fell to the customer, this seems like a small price to pay for crisp vegetables and a piping-hot burger, which remain hard to come by in the fast food world. On the subject of price, however, the cost of this packaging turned out to be greater than consumers knew at the time.

Read more: McDonald's Menu Items That Even The Staff Won't Eat

McDonald's Discontinued The McDLT For The Greater Good

McDLT container on shelf
McDLT container on shelf - cwr2 / Instagram

If McDonald's was able to solve the age-old issue of soggy burger toppings by inventing the Double Clam Shell container, then why was the McDLT canceled? In the end, the source of its downfall was exactly what made it such a success: the container. Made with polystyrene, a non-recyclable synthetic polymer that takes 500 years to decompose, the material understandably became a target of environmentalists' ire during the 1980s. In response, McDonald's pledged to phase out the foam packaging in 1990, and by 1991, the chain had pulled the McDLT from its menu entirely.

It's unclear why Mickey D's didn't develop another way to package hot and cold ingredients separately; however, McDonald's grill master Ken Forton told Serious Eats in 2018 that the McDLT wasn't always high-quality. "There was a special heating-cooling machine that we had. It was like a rack heater, but cold on one side, and hot on the other," he explained, adding, "I think a lot of locations just used regular heaters, so customers only ever got warm burgers."

Still, if love alone could bring the McDLT back — sans polystyrene — it would no doubt join the ranks of fast food menu items that were saved by the internet. "Packaging was terrible, but it really was probably the best burger McDonald's has ever had," one person wrote on Reddit in 2023. But who knows? In a perfect world, maybe McDonald's fans and the McDLT will one day meet again.

Read the original article on Mashed