Do you want to know a little secret? Some of your favorite restaurants and chains offer items that are "not" on the menu.
It all began on the West Coast with the popular In-N-Out Burger and Jamba Juice chains starting the trend and now other places are beginning to catch on.
Shake Shack, McDonalds, Burger King, and countless of other chains and restaurants offer items not advertised on their primary menus. Where are they then? On the secret menu!
"When it comes to secret menus, let me say, I feel almost like a magician revealing his tricks," recalls Jon Hein. Hein is a radio host on Howard One Hundred at Sirius/ XM and the host of the show Fast Food Mania on Destination America and can be followed on twitter @jonmhein. He says many of your favorite spots offer items you've probably never heard of.
To get these hidden items, it feels like you know, "a special sort of code, like you're a spy almost in the fast food place," says Hein.
So, we went undercover to try and order some secret menu items for ourselves!
Everyone knows that at any Burger King you can order fries, but did you know you can order Frings-half an order of French fries and half an order of onion rings?
How about the Grasshopper Frappuccino at Starbucks -- a mocha Frappuccino with shots of peppermint syrup and java chips, or the pizza sub at Subway.
Most customers don't know they can order a Quesadilla at Chipotle. And for desert how about a white Gummy Bear smoothie at Jamba Juice. And, try to restrain yourself from the peanut butter bacon burger at local favorite Shake Shack.
Secret menus are not just limited to giant chains. Your favorite local restaurant may be hiding things from you as well.
The Beach Restaurant at the Dream Hotel Downtown serves the Murder by Burger, which is nowhere to be found on the menu. It costs $27 and comes with a fried egg, avocado, cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, an 8-ounce patty, homemade steak sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes on a huge bun.
"You kind of have to be in the know," says Jenna Lipkin from Dream Hotel Downtown, "everyone raves about [the Murder by Burger]. It definitely is a highlight here."
We then ventured to Panera. It has an entire secret menu which is very un-secretly posted on its website, which is in contrast to many other chains that offer a few select items "secretly."
Diner Katelyn Sherland is a fan, "some of the menu items were different than what they have every day... seemed interesting, so I went for it!"
We tried the power chicken hummus bowl, which was healthy and delicious…It tasted even better because it was secret.
But beware! Health advocate Susan Levin with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine claims that most secret menu items can be detrimental to your health.
"The trouble with secret menu items is no one knows how much fat and cholesterol is in those menu items because they are compilations of different menu items," says Levin.
Also remember that in this covert world of secret menus, sometimes the secret menu is so secret, even the employees may not know exactly what you are talking about. It happens. Don't be upset with us if it doesn't work out the first time; it's just that the menu was too secret.
"The person next to you is looking at you like you have three heads. But for me it's fun, when you are going to the same places over and over," Hein says.
Still, the next time you're at your favorite spot, you might want to try something from their secret menu. Just keep this secret between us.
See below for even more secret menu items! We have compiled this list, but that does not mean you can find them at all restaurants!
Frozen Hot Chocolate
French Toast Cheese Sandwich
White Gummy Bear Smoothie
Chicken & Waffles Sandwich
Land, Sea, and Air Burger
Ice Cream Sandwich
Shack Peanut Butter Bacon Burger
Chili Pepper Cheese Fries
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