Secret menus at chain restaurants are something most people know about but pretend not to — like bands leaving the stage when you’re sure they’re giving an encore, or Trump not being able to read. This air of mystery, even if it’s fake, is part of what makes secret menus fun.
Who doesn’t love to go up to the counter, wink, and ask the worker to make something that not everyone (but actually everyone) knows about. True, it’s even more fun if absolutely no one knows about the item (including the cashier), but you can only say “I’ll take the Cincinnati big purple dog whale,” so many times at McDonald’s before the teen working the register either calls the police or invents something spectacular then throws it at you.
As much as it pains me to be unoriginal, the following list consists of more conventional secret menu items that you can actually get. And I’ve ranked them scientifically from worst to best. Please note: This list doesn’t feature every secret menu item in the world (that would be a very long list, so don’t @ me). They’re just popular items at popular eating establishments ranked by a super popular writer who you all love and about whom you write long letters to the editor with the subject “Give Allison A Huge Raise.”
THE VERY BEST SECRET MENU ITEMS RANKED FROM WORST TO BEST
The “Animal Style” burger and fries (In-N-Out)
WHAT IS IT?
In the burger: A mustard cooked patty with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and extra spread with grilled onions.
In the fries: Cheese, grilled onion, and Thousand Island dressing.
According to popular belief, ordering secret menu items from In-N-Out has been around since the 1960s! And, of course, that explains why the animal style burger is widely believed to have been the true shooter in the Kennedy assassination. Everyone knows that the trajectory of the bullet proves that it could not have possibly originated from Lee Harvey Oswald’s location! And also that the bullet was a full-sized burger. Bit of history for you. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Yes, I’m ranking In-N-Out’s animal style offerings last. Yes, I know that California’s favorite burger joint has the quintessential “secret” menu items, and you love them. But the thing is, love can be wrong. Lots of people love things that they shouldn’t. There’s a whole show about it on TLC called My Strange Addiction. It reveals that love is not love if it’s with your car. Or a doll with sex holes. Or the Animal Style Burger at In-N-Out. Love does not always mean something is good, my friends.
Full disclosure: I do not like mustard. Or pickles. So if you like those things you may disagree with me. But I hope that at the very least you can agree that pickle juice leaking onto bread is the devil’s way of reminding you that life is filled with great horrors that you can never escape.