Secret Menu Items

September 15, 2010 at 5:00 am 5 comments

By Kaye Nemec

When you go out to eat, you generally choose your meal based on the menu items and maybe making a few tweaks here or there.

Many restaurants have “secret” menus that are becoming increasingly well known, thanks to the internet. So the next time you’re having a hard time deciding what to order, try to remember some of these secret menu items.

At Subway, my favorite secret menu item is the Pizza Sub. Rookies may not know about it, so you may have to instruct them: it’s basically tomato sauce (from the meatballs) with pepperoni and cheese (plus whatever other toppings you want). I suggest shredded cheese and toasting to get pizza-like melted cheese. If you’ve never had a pizza sub, do yourself a favor.

Chains like Taco Bell and Chipotle – restaurants that usually serve items made to order and only use a few ingredients – will allow you to individualize your order. Next time you’re in the mood for Mexican look at the menu loosely and ask for beans instead of meat or make an order of Nachos at Chipotle, they’ve got all the ingredients, but these arrangements are not on the menu.

Did you know you can order Dairy Queen’s Blizzard of the Month even after its respective month has passed? So if you fell in love with the Strawberry Golden Oreo Blizzard in June and aren’t crazy about the current Brownie Batter option, go ahead and get your Golden Oreo fix, they’ve still got the ingredients on hand!

Another favorite is the Neapolitan shake at McDonald’s. Instead of choosing between a chocolate, vanilla or strawberry shake, have them all in one cup! You may have to explain this one to the chef, but basically they just have to stop the shake machine from filling the cup and switch the flavor. Of course, they’ll have to repeat the stop and switch a couple times to get all three flavors.

One of the worst kept secret menus comes from a popular West Coast fast-food chain called In-N-Out Burger. In-N-Out is wildly popular for their simple menu of burgers, fries and shakes. Their ingredients are fresh and never frozen – you can even see them slicing real, fresh potatoes and making them into delicious French fries right before your eyes. To the average customer, menu options consist of a hamburger, cheeseburger, Double Double, French fries and vanilla, chocolate or strawberry shakes.

To the In-N-Out regular, the menu consists of items like Double Meat, Grilled Cheese, 3 x 3 (or 4×4 or 5×5 etc.) — which is the number of patties and number of cheese slices. There is also Animal Style with all the fixin’s. Or, if you’re watching your carbs, you can get “protein style” which replaces the bun with lettuce.  Because this secret menu has become so popular, the chain has published it on their website.

According to internet rumors, another popular chain with a large secret menu is Jamba Juice. Known for their mostly “healthy” and refreshing fruit smoothies, Jamba Juice has a secret menu that is full of smoothie options with a much higher calorie count. White Gummi Bear seems to be one of the most popular options, others flavors include Banana Cream Pie, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Pink Starburst and Push Pop.

In addition to wide-spread secret menus, several restaurants are open to customers creating individualized menu items for themselves. Starbucks, for example, is open to customers creating whatever drink they’d like. You are welcome to combine flavors, add extra espresso shots, blend a normally iced drink, put ice on a normally hot drink etc. Your options appear to be endless. For a complete list of Starbucks drink options, check out this other post on Starbucks Drink ID Codes.

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Sources:,  Jamba Underground, The Consumerist

Photo: SanFranAnnie (cc)

Entry filed under: Food and Drink. Tags: , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shawn Rosvold  |  September 15, 2010 at 8:19 am

    I know you’re always scraping the bottom of the barrel for content, but please don’t promote this fast food crap that is so bad for you.

    • 2. Chad Upton  |  September 15, 2010 at 11:05 am


      I’m sorry you don’t like the content on the blog. I can assure you that we work very hard to bring you fun and enlightening content.

      Even if you never plan to visit Taco Bell, which I haven’t in probably ten years, hopefully you can still find the information entertaining or maybe even useful for other people you know, such as getting a vegetarian taco at Taco Bell.

      I like to eat healthy too, but I think there’s room for the odd Starbucks latte, Chipotle nachos or Jamba Juice smoothie in an otherwise healthy diet.

      In general, there are a lot of posts on this blog about ways that food companies try to hide unhealthy ingredients in the foods you buy. So, I like to think that we promote healthy eating as well.

      Thanks for reading
      – Chad

  • 3. Shannon  |  September 15, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Yes – fast food is bad for you. I think these tips are still fairly interesting. I particularly like knowing that Starbucks has a “short” size not listed on their menu. Everyone has the ability to choose what and where they eat, and I don’t think this post is necessarily “promoting” these fast food chains.

  • 4. Jim  |  September 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I actually found this rather interesting. To add to the Dairy Queen one, if you want a blizzard flavor they don’t have you can bring your favorite candy bar and they’ll usually make you a custom blizzard with it.

  • 5. AC  |  September 20, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I have an addition for your article. While at college I worked for both Burger King and McDonald’s in the UK (traitor, I know). While at McDonald’s, I found a button on the till, generally reserved as a trade secret for off-duty staff with a healthy appetite.

    The item in question is the Mega-Mac. The Big-Mac’s bigger, better, older brother. A Big-Mac would typically consist of a bread base, meat patty, bread middle, meat patty and then a bread top (plus the requisite ‘Big-Mac sauce’, cheese, chopped onion and lettuce).

    Everything the same with the Mega-Mac, except this time you’re doubling up on patties. I always liked a Big-Mac, although the ‘Quarter Cheese’ was more up my street.

    The Mega-Mac took all the qualities of the Big-Mac and made it man size. Poor old Big-Mac always was a little flimsy. Try it yourself and ask for a Mega-Mac next time you’re loading up on sat-fats. If they look at you funny, simply claim you’re a valued crew member from another restaurant! ;)


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