Up until the the past month, McDonald's pizza was a forgotten part of your early-1990s childhood, much like extra-wide legged JNCO jeans and Smash Mouth. But, much like JNCO jeans and Smash Mouth, McDonald's pizza is still out there and, thanks largely to the efforts of three twentysomething Canadians, it is having an unexpected resurgence. Those pizzas are still on the menus at two McDonald's locations in Ohio and West Virginia, and people are roadtripping there often enough that the restaurants have hung signs so visitors can write where they drove in from. (How do I know this? Because I made the trip to Spencer, WV too, paying $12 in tolls to eat $6 worth of mediocre pepperoni and cheese.)
But if you're going to make a pilgrimage for some weird-ass regional offering, why limit yourself to pizza? Especially when you could be eating a not-that-great crab sandwich in your car right this second! Here are a few more under-the-radar McDonald's items, although it's best to double-check their availability before you drive across the country for an order of garlic fries.
The Signature Sriracha is basically what happens when your boyfriend leaves Brooklyn, sells out and takes a corporate job in the Midwest. This burger involves a proprietary blend of Sriracha squirted into Big Mac sauce, a "choice of protein" and a combination of spinach and kale, all piled on an artisan roll. It's business in the front, sobbing quietly to itself in the back.
Lobster Rolls seem to have become an inevitability of summer, along with sunburned ear tips, mosquitos, and trying to figure out how to get out of a romper in a festival port-a-john. Last summer, the 290-calorie, 100 percent North Atlantic lobster meat sandwich made its annual appearance at more than 600 restaurants in six New England states and, strangely, in Albany, New York. There's a better-than-average chance it'll be back at some point next month.
Meanwhile on the West Coast, McDonald's emptied its crab traps into four Bay Area restaurants, adding a Crab Sandwich to the menu in February. The $8.99 (!!!) sandwich features chilled snow crab with seasoned mayonnaise and celery on top of a toasted bun. According to the Mercury News, it could be available in as many as 250 California locations later this year, so it's probably not too early to start waiting in line.
I first attended the Gilroy Garlic Festival almost a decade ago, and I've finally gotten the taste of garlic ice cream out of my mouth. But the annual food fair, held in the self-described Garlic Capital of the World, has inspired one McDonald's menu item: Gilroy Garlic Fries. The fried potatoes are tossed in olive oil, topped with parmesan and parsley, and are rolled in enough garlic to repel several generations of vampires. McDonald's website says the regionally inspired fries"will return," although when they do, they'll most likely be limited to locations in California's Bay Area. But act fast: last summer, they were so popular they (temporarily) sold out in less than two weeks.
Some McDonald's locations in Wisconsin temporarily offered Johnsonville brats, each one casually relaxing in a toasted bun, topped with ketchup and mustard. They also served limited edition cheese curds, because the good people of the Badger State had no other opportunities to eat the two foods that might as well be stitched between the plow and the anchor on the state seal.
McDonald's recently started offering two additional sizes of Big Mac, including the Grand Mac, which swapped the regular-sized patties for slightly bigger ones, bringing the sandwich's total weight to ⅓ pound. That's cute, because Alaskans have been going bigger for years. Their unofficial Denali Mac is a Big Mac with two quarter-pound patties and, just like the mountain it's named for, you might die trying to conquer it.
Although some Southern states can get a plate of biscuits and gravy at their local McD's, the best regional breakfast might be in the middle of the Pacific. Some Hawaiian locations serve Spam McMuffins, or a full breakfast platter featuring Spam, eggs, rice, and smoke-cured Portuguese sausage.
MUNCHIES has reached out to McDonald's to confirm the availability of these items. In the meantime, see you in Spencer, West Virginia.