26 Wendy's Menu Items From The 1990s You Probably Forgot About

In the 1990s, Wendy's branched out its offerings, hoping to stand out from its competitors. Company founder Dave Thomas told the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1995, "We have a research department and they keep working on new things," adding, "The only way to test it is to let people buy it." And test they did, churning out new burgers, sandwiches, salads, sides, and even a Stromboli. Many of these Wendy's menu items from the '90s are long gone and forgotten, and now it's time to remember them and revel in all their brief glory.

We dug up the details on 26 such items. Some had very similar names and identical ingredients, including an unhealthy amount of sautéed onions. While the catchy "Where's the beef?" ads were pop culture phenomena of the '80s, Dave Thomas picked up the torch when he became the pitchman, starring in an endless array of lighthearted television ads to push this new generation of products.

Grab a napkin and let's take a walk down this mouthwatering memory lane. These are the Wendy's menu items from the '90s that you probably forgot about, listed in chronological order.

1. Country Fried Steak

Country Fried Steak sounds more at home on the menu at Cracker Barrel than it does on Wendy's, but it was certainly a nice change of pace for fast food customers in 1990. The lightly breaded fried steak was outfitted with just lettuce and mayo. It was on the 99¢ Super Value Menu, hung around a few of years, and appeared to make its final curtain call in 1994. 

Dietitian Tish Galbraith singled the sandwich out for having half of its calories originate from its fat content, and therefore perhaps not being the healthiest of options (via The Tampa Tribune). Perhaps that's part of the reason for its departure?

2. Dave's Deluxe

Dave's Deluxe was a pretty straightforward burger to help kick off the '90s. The founder's namesake burger had three strips of bacon, sautéed onions, and the works were piled on high. 

The pungent white veggie would play a prominent role in many of the sandwiches to come. Denny Lynch, vice president of corporate communications for Wendy's told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, "Our founder likes onions — always has." It remained on menus throughout at least 1993, and today, a Jr. namesake version remains on menus in Mexico.

3. Grilled Chicken Sandwich

In a world trying to keep fit, Wendy's wanted to fit right in. In 1990, Dave Thomas told The Tennessean, "We know that concern about nutrition is going to be here forever." The chain's lean contribution was a Grilled Chicken Sandwich that debuted in the fall of 1990, and included lettuce, tomato, and a honey mustard sauce. It added up to 320 calories and 9 grams of fat, with 3 of those dedicated to the honey mustard. 

The Grilled Chicken Sandwich was one of the longest tenured items that debuted in the '90s. Sadly, it was dumped in 2023, and fans weren't pleased. They still have the option to order one up in the Cayman Islands though.

4. Italian and Mexican Hot Stuffed Potatoes

In 1983, Wendy's offered up something quite novel for a fast food restaurant — Hot Stuffed Baked Potatoes. The toppings offered were pretty standard, running from chili to broccoli, sour cream, and of course cheese. The chain added a buffet SuperBar by the end of the decade, which featured Italian and Mexican stations. 

In 1990, both of those cuisines served as inspiration for a limited time run of Hot Stuffed Potatoes. The Italian version featured sausage, a meaty tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese, and the Mexican option had a base of taco meat, topped with picante sauce, cheese sauce, and sour cream.

5. Bacon Mushroom Melt

The Bacon Mushroom Melt first saw the light of day in 1991. The grilled sliced mushrooms and three strips of bacon were topped with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, and netted 570 calories and 26 grams of fat. 

It would take extended hiatuses before returning to the menu, including one of its last turns in stores in 2007. It was then that the Kenosha News declared the Melt was "probably the greatest fast food invention since the chicken McNugget."

6. Chicken Cordon Bleu

In 1991, Wendy's wasn't singing the bleus, it started to sell it. That's when its take on Chicken Cordon Bleu first appeared on menus, where a chicken breast filet was joined by slices of ham, swiss cheese, mayo, and Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. Ads played up its French roots, with those in print suggesting they pair well with "Le French Fries," and a TV commercial even requiring English subtitles. 

The sandwich last resurfaced in 1995, leaving fans of it to endlessly question why it was ever discontinued. The next best, closest thing was the Honey Ham and Chicken Sandwich, which Wendy's introduced in 1997.

7. Fresh Salads To Go

As Wendy's attempt at a salad bar was fading into the history books, prepackaged salads started to make their way onto the everyday menu. The Caesar Side Salad was added to the 99-cent Super Values Menu in 1991, and in the following year, a Deluxe Garden Salad, Taco Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad, and a Side Salad joined "Dave's Salad Days." 

In 1992, Charles Rath, Wendy's executive vice president of marketing, told The Knoxville News-Sentinel, "Wendy's has the reputation for the widest variety and freshest salad bars in the industry," adding, "Now we're able to capture that same freshness and variety in take-out salads."  Ever snice, salad options evolved and expanded over the decades at Wendy's. Today, only the Taco Salad and a larger version of the Caesar Salad carry on the original legacy.

8. Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger

The Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger should not be confused with the Smokey Bacon Cheeseburger, nor the Cheddar Lovers Bacon Cheeseburger, even if they share similar DNA. The Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger got an earlier start than both of those items, as it was introduced in the summer of 1992 for $2.89. 

It starts with ¼-pound cheeseburger, topped with three strips of bacon, cheddar cheese sauce, lettuce, and tomato. In an ad, Dave Thomas tried, but failed to make the catchphrases "Cheddar is beddar" and "Bacon and cheddar cheese is for meez" catch on.

9. Chili Chips 'n Cheese

Towards the end of the '80s, Wendy's tried to make a buffet happen with its SuperBar, which included a Mexican Fiesta station. Customers could make their own tacos or burritos, but sadly not nachos. Wendy's corrected this omission, offering up its own version in 1992.

Chili Chips 'n Cheese spells out its ingredients right there in the name and includes Wendy's own signature beef chili and cheese sauce piled on a platter of corn tortilla chips. In the TV ad, the company boasted that these were "not'ch-your average nachos."  This 99-cent item hung around U.S. stores at least into 1993. However, it can still be had in the Cayman Islands and goes by the name Chili Cheese Nachos.

10. Wendy Melt

A classic patty melt is a staple on diner menus across America, and Wendy's launched its take on the burger in 1992.It featured a ¼-pound burger, sautéed onions, two slices of melted Swiss, and a special orange sauce slathered on a toasted Kaiser bun.

Instead of calling a spade a spade, Dave Thomas went with calling it a Wendy Melt, explaining in the ad that "it's got more zip." Other ads played up the burger's old school 1950s origins, with Wendy's turning into a sock-hopping diner, with "Grease"y gents and poodle skirt-wearing girls digging in.

11. Monterey Ranch Chicken Sandwich

The Monterey Ranch Chicken Sandwich was Wendy's fourth ever iteration of its chicken sandwich. It featured its chicken breast filet with a melted slice of Monterey Jack, strips of bacon, and a special ranch dressing. It cost $2.99, and netted 460 calories and 19 grams of fat. Not long after its launch in 1993, it helped Wendy's see a 28% boost in profits for that first quarter. 

It popped on and off the menu through at least 2000, along the way, earning the honorary designation as a "Dave's Choice Award" winner, and the Drive-Through Gourmet's pick as "Wendy's best sandwich yet," (via The Atlanta Constitution). The essence of the sandwich resurfaced in 2011 with the limited run of the 99-cented Monterey Ranch Crispy Chicken Sandwich.

12. Dijon Ranch Chicken Sandwich

In our research, one of Wendy's least advertised sandwiches belonged to the Dijon Ranch Chicken Sandwich.  It is believed to have been released around 1994. This limited-time offer found its fried chicken filet with a slice of melted Swiss cheese on top, along with sautéed onions and a Dijon-ranch combo sauce. 

The TV ad tried to play up its French roots, where Wendy's owner Dave Thomas got into a lost in translation conversation with a Frenchman. The Dijon-ranch sauce lived to see another sandwich, when it dressed the Chunky Chicken Salad Frescata in 2007.

13. Chicken Bacon Swiss

To kick off the chains' next sandwich, Wendy's aired an ad showing everyone guessing its toppings. Every day eaters were mixed in with famous folks like NBA coach Chuck Daly and Major League Baseball manager Tony LaRussa. 

Apparently, vegetarian LaRussa was later shocked to learn that he was helping to promote the Chicken Bacon Sandwich, which included the two titular meats and melted cheese, plus a tangy sauce. The sandwich, which debuted in 1994, perhaps inspired rivals Carl's Jr. and Arby's to follow up in the ensuing years with its own very similar versions.

14. Jr. Mozzarella Cheeseburger

The Jr. Mozzarella Cheeseburger was advertised as "the great American cheeseburger with an Italian accent," (via YouTube). The 99 cent burger, which briefly popped onto menus in 1994, had a thick slice of mozzarella melted onto it. It was then topped with lettuce, tomato, and a zesty Italian herb sauce. 

Dave Thomas summed it up as, "It's amore." Sadly, though, it's no more.

15. Sourdough Bacon Cheeseburger

While most of the new food items that dotted Wendy's menus in the '90s focused on what was between the buns, the Sourdough Bacon Cheeseburger was all about the actual buns. The TV ad showed Dave Thomas' and Wendy's inspiration for this creation: the bakeries of San Francisco that sell sourdough bread.

This cheeseburger debuted in 1994 and the print ads proudly featured: "We baked this one up special."  Between the bread was 1/4-pound hamburger, three strips of bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Dijon mustard.

16. Carolina Classic

In the Carolinas, they gussy up their bunned meats with the three Cs – chili, cole slaw, and chopped onions. In 1994, North Carolina served as the testing ground for a burger topped with that trio: The Carolina Classic. It accounted for a 10th of sales at some stores, and even inspired a song by musician Kent Steel. 

In the fall of 2019, the Carolina Classic returned, but only for lucky eaters in North and South Carolina. Carolina Restaurant Group's Director of Marketing Kathy Alvis said in a press release, "The Carolinas are known for bold and flavorful food, which has always been the inspiration for our Carolina Classic burger."

17. Mesquite Bacon Chicken Sandwich and Cheeseburger

One of the most elusive pairs of '90s Wendy's sandwiches was the Mesquite Bacon Chicken and the Mesquite Bacon Cheeseburger.  The similarly named items also shared similar toppings and condiments: three strips of mesquite-cured bacon, Dave's special sauce, lettuce, and tomato. The Mesquite Bacon Cheeseburger additionally came with a slice of cheddar and raw onions. 

Both sandwiches had separate commercials, but featured the same western-tinged theme and message. Dave Thomas concluded both ads with "Come and get it." The only eaters known to have gotten a taste were those in the Reno-Sparks area of Nevada, sometime in 1995.

18. Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger

The Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger consisted of a single ¼-pound burger with two slices of smoked cheddar, three strips of hickory smoked bacon, sautéed onions, and a savory sauce. In the print ads, Dave Thomas was quoted as saying, "It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of sandwich." That lot of sandwich added up to 610 calories and 31 grams of fat.

To play up its "smoky"ness, TV commercials featured New York firefighters, as well as blues legend B.B. King to sing its praises.  The Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger appeared on and off of menus between 1995 and 1999.

19. Country French Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's got its Dijon on again in 1996 with its new oblong Country French Chicken Sandwich. Dave Thomas truly got into the spirit of things by donning a beret in ads, and even taking French lessons with future great character actress Margo Martindale as his teacher nonetheless. 

The Country French Chicken Sandwich consisted of a chicken breast filet, slice of Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato all hosted in a country fresh roll. Ken Hoffman even singled out the sandwich three years later, writing in The Fresno Bee, "Among the national burger chains, only Wendy's seems capable of producing first-rate chicken specialty sandwiches." 

20. Deluxe Double Stack

The ¼-pound Double Stack, featuring two 2-ounce burgers, cheese, pickles, mustard, was introduced in 1993. Three years later, it got a temporary bit of an upgrade with the launch of the Deluxe Double Stack.

The Deluxe Double Stack broke with tradition with the addition of Thousand Island dressing, and sold for only 99 cents. While it was only a limited time offer, its forerunner, the Double Stack, still resides on Wendy's menus today.

21. Fresh Stuffed Pitas

Perhaps the most daring of all the Wendy's menu items in the '90s were the Fresh Stuffed Pitas. Test runs began in 1996, and a year later, all Wendy's customers were able to order the four different pitas, each with its own signature dressing.

The Garden Ranch Chicken and the Chicken Caesar both included chunks of chicken. The Classic Greek featured feta cheese, and along with the Garden Veggie Pita, were meat-free options. The Stuffed Pitas were phased out sometime after 2000, and are sadly the closest we ever got to a gyro or shawarma by Wendy's.

22. Pepper Jack Bacon Cheeseburger

Dave Thomas was always open to suggestions. In a 1996 ad, he brushed aside the angel on his shoulder, and instead gave into his devilish side, as to not be a "wimp," and give his next new cheeseburger some "zing." 

The result was the Pepper Jack Bacon Cheeseburger. The ¼-pound patty was joined by three strips of bacon, tomato, and pepper jack cheese, as well as a seasoned pepper sauce.

23. Honey Ham and Chicken Sandwich

In 1997, nine markets served as a testing ground for the Honey Ham and Chicken Sandwich. It featured two slices of ham, lettuce, tomato, and was topped with Dijon mustard. 

To promote this special sandwich, Wendy's bought airtime during the finale of "Seinfeld," and later drafted baseball player Chipper Jones for an ad to help make it a hit. The sandwich hung around in stores into the early 21st century.

24. Steakhouse Bacon Cheeseburger

For the launch of its new Steakhouse Bacon Cheeseburger in 1998, Dave Thomas donned a tuxedo for the TV ads that boasted it "has turned Wendy's into a first class steakhouse." This burger was topped with a Swiss-cheddar blended cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, and a steakhouse sauce.

It cost $2.69, and had 580 calories and 28 grams of fat. Two years into its run on menus, it was recognized by The Atlanta Constitution as the best burger going.  The name "Steakhouse" has resurfaced in other Wendy's items, more recently in 2014 with the Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe.

25. Cheddar Lovers Bacon Cheeseburger

Wendy's went straight for the heart in 1999 when it dropped its Cheddar Lovers Bacon Cheeseburger.  This sandwich may have once been called the Cheddar Cheddar Cheeseburger. 

If two slices of cheddar cheese wasn't enough to coat two patties, three strips of bacon, and a pile of sautéed onions, how does a smattering of a creamy cheddar cheese sauce sound to top it off? All that cheddar added up to 40 grams of fat, which at the time, apparently set a new benchmark for the Wendy's sandwich with the most fat, per Florida Today

26. French Onion Chicken Grill

In the final summer of the '90s, Wendy's returned once again to a burger topped with sautéed onions, even if it was being sold as "the only one like it in the world." On the French Onion Chicken Grill, the onions were joined by a grilled chicken filet, bacon, mozzarella cheese, and a creamy French onion sauce. That added up to 590 calories and 26 grams of fat.

Even with a modest price tag of $2.99, sales of it were very brisk.  This sandwich helped to propel Wendy's to an earnings increase in its third quarter of 1999.