In case you didn't know, you are probably missing out on some truly epic fast food opportunities. Lots of restaurants have special super-secret menu items that you can only order if you know what to ask for.
Go on, we dare you.
A little word of warning, though: Be prepared. If you stroll into a Chipotle or a Starbucks at peak time and brazenly place an order for some obscure delicacy, the people behind the counter will probably hate you. Your fellow customers will probably hate you, too. To ensure maximum secret menu satisfaction, know the exact modifications you'll be requesting. We can't be held responsible if some poor barista looks blankly at you after you order a Thin Mint Frapp (omg, yummmm).
Breakfasts of champions:
1. 10:35 Sandwich (McDonald's): So named because you can pretty much only get it during the magical few minutes between breakfast and lunch. It's basically the innards of a McDouble (meat, cheese, condiments if you want 'em), plus the egg, ham, and muffin of an Egg McMuffin. Consider it the ultimate brunch sandwich.
2. Chicken and Waffles (McDonalds): Chicken from a Southern chicken biscuit + the maple-y goodness of the McGriddle pancakes = Heaven.
3. Power Salads (Panera): Believe it or not, Panera is all for you ordering one of their delish low-carb hidden menu items. These dishes have stuff like eggs, turkey, pesto, avocado, spinach and hummus all without the pesky bread or bagel, so there is less standing between your mouth and the bowl.
Something a little different:
4. Grilled Cheese (McDonald's): Not feeling meaty? Order a cheeseburger without the patty. Simple as that. Extra points if you ask them to grill the sandwich with the buns facing out.
5. Chicken Quesadilla (Chick-fil-A): Why you would get a 'dilla at Chick-fil-A when there's probably a Taco Bell down the road is a mystery, but if you ask nicely they'll put their own spin on it. Think their famous chicken, cheese, and possibly some peppers melted between the tortillas they would otherwise used for their wraps. Delicious!
6. Buffalo Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A): Ask for some buffalo sauce on your spicy chicken sandwich and be prepared to cry hot, hot tears of joy.
7. Double Grilled Quesadilla (Taco Bell): Another super simple one, an easy-peasy second grilling of the chain's quesadillas will get you a crispier, browner, better version.
8. Ham and Cheese (Burger King): Well, if you think about it, BK has ham. BK has cheese. BK can easily make this sandwich for you if you're tired of being a Burger King and want to be more of like, a Ham Earl or something.
9. Rodeo Burger (BK): People totally swear by this "secret" burger that takes the Rodeo Chicken Sandwich (BBQ sauce, onion ring) and swaps the bird out for a burger. Add cheese, and you're in business.
10. Mustard Grilled Patty (In-n-Out): Sure everyone knows about Animal style, but why not take a more, er, subtle approach? If you ask for your burger mustard grilled, they'll slather on some mustard before cooking the patty, giving it an amazing new flavor.
11. Onion Strings appetizer (Red Lobster): Red Lobster puts onion strings on some of its entrees (steak, etc), but if you ask nicely and are willing to pay, they'll give you a heap to enjoy solo. Yes, Red Lobster also has onion RINGS, but we're talking about onion STRINGS. Educate yourself.
12. Veeg Out: Did you know a lot of fast food places have stuff that's totally vegan? If you're at Taco Bell, a burrito with refried beans, pico, hot sauce and guac will totally fulfill your veeg needs. IF you're dying for pizza, Pizza Hut's marinara sauce and Thin 'N Crispy pizza crusts are for you. Top with all the veggies you desire. Just watch out for McDonald's -- sadly, none of their fare can be certified as vegan.
For when you're feeling nostalgic:
13. Enchirito, Chili Cheese Burrito (Taco Bell): If you are longing for a favorite creation from days past, like the gooey messiness of the enchirito, just ask. If you think about it, they already have all of the ingredients. It's just the way they use them.
14. Poutine (KFC): For all you Northerners and French Canadians, KFC will give you something approximating home. Ask for some fries with gravy and cheese on top, and you're getting pretty close to the beloved regional staple. FYI, you can get gravy, bacon, or mashed potatoes on pretty much ANYTHING at KFC, so start dreaming.
Sugar, glorious sugar:
15. Cookie Dough Frappucino (Starbucks): SBucks is really leveraging their "secret menu" these days, but be sure to know what goes into your dream drink. For this one it's a Cinnamon Dolce Creme Frappucino, 1 pump mocha syrup, java chips, cookie crumble, and chocolate whipped cream.
16. Pie McFlurry (McDonald's): Pie. In a McFlurry. We know, we just blew your mind.
17. Nutella Coffee (Starbucks): Cafe Misto with pumps of chocolate and hazelnut, topped off with a caramel drizzle.
18. Thin Mint Frapp (Starbucks): Green tea frapp + java chips + mocha syrup + peppermint syrup. Sounds gross. Is not.
For when you just want to watch the world burn:
19. Quesorito (Chipotle): You may want to turn the charm up extra high when you order this. It's basically a giant quesadilla, that is then used as a burrito shell. Cumbersome to make? Yes. Worth it? Double yes.
20. Meat mountain (Arby's): Why WOULDN'T you want to eat something called "meat mountain?" Here's the breakdown: Chicken tenders, turkey, ham, swiss cheese, brisket, corned beef, steak, cheddar cheese, and bacon. You may want to bring in a diagram if you're gonna order this monstrosity -- and maybe an ambulance, too.
21. Barnyard (Wendys): A chicken patty, a beef patty, bacon, and ham. Add cheese and condiments at your own risk.
22. Wet Fries (Arbys): Just fries with a whole bunch of liquid cheese on top. But it's ARBYS fries. CURLY fries! With cheese!!!
23. Meat Cube (Wendys): No, it does not exist solely in myth. The Meat Cube is officially four patties stacked on top of each other, but why stop there? How about five patties? Six, seven, eight? When secret menu items are revealed, THE WORLD IS YOUR GREASY OYSTER.