McDonald's Sold PB&J Sandwiches In The 1940s

The first few things that may come to mind when thinking of McDonald's are the Happy Meal, the Big Mac, and the famous yellow arches. But when it initially opened in 1948, its menu was drastically different from today's ever-expansive menu.

The first McDonald's opened in San Bernardino, California as "McDonald's B-B-Q," according to its website, by Dick and Mac McDonald. It wasn't until 1955, that salesman Ray Kroc approached the brothers to franchise the restaurant. The official first McDonald's opened that year in Des Plaines, Illinois. Since then, the fast food chain continued to rapidly expand — and so did its menu. There are now over 38,000 locations all over the world, according to McDonald's. Since its inception, McDonald's experimented with several menu items. Some stuck (think Filet-O-Fish and Chicken McNuggets), while others didn't (remember the Angus Deluxe? Probably not).

McDonald's original menu had the typical hamburgers and French fries. It also contained a couple of eyebrow-raising items, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Peanut butter sandwich with fries, please

When McDonald's first debuted as "McDonald's B-B-Q," the menu was much simpler than what the food chain offers today. There were no breakfast items or salads. In fact, the star of McDonald's at the time wasn't its hamburgers, but instead its barbecue (via Mental Floss). McDonald's offered a selection of barbecued beef, ham, or pork with a side of French fries for just 35 cents (via Pulptastic).

If you weren't in the mood for barbecue, McDonald's also sold peanut butter sandwiches with fries for as little as 20 cents. Other food items that were once available to order were melted cheese sandwiches, tamales and chilies, and ham sandwiches with baked beans. You could even down your PB&J sandwich with your choice of a root beer float or an ice cream soda.

According to its website, the McDonald's brothers temporarily closed their restaurant to revamp their menu in 1948. This was partly because. hamburgers made up nearly 80% of its sales, per History. Sadly, this meant goodbye to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The menu became much simpler, which offered just nine items including hamburgers, cheeseburgers, potato chips, and pie slices per McDonald's website.

What are some other discontinued items?

McDonald's has grown to become an American staple, so it isn't too surprising that in its early days, the restaurant chain experimented with a classic American sandwich. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches aren't the only food items that got the cut. Since its menu revamp, McDonald's had introduced and quickly discontinued items.

Some food items that were added to McDonald's menu became classic fixtures, such as its Filet-O-Fish and the Quarter Pounder. But some flopped upon release, such as the Hula Burger, McHotDog, and McLobster (via Insider). The Hula Burger, crafted by Ray Kroc himself, was introduced as an alternative for Catholics to order during Lent. It was released simultaneously as the Filet-O-Fish as a competition by Kroc and McDonald's franchisee Lou Groen on whose sandwich would sell best. The latter prevailed, selling overwhelmingly better and becoming permanent on the menu (via Smithsonian).

In the 1980s, McDonald's even tried to enter the pizza business by selling McPizza. However, the new item fizzled out as it took too long to make and was more expensive than its other offerings, such as its nuggets and burgers. Could we see a revival of the McPB&J? According to FoodBeast, McDonald's competitor, Burger King, released a peanut butter burger and fries in South Korea, so anything is possible.