Secret Menu Items from 12 Fast Food Restaurants

If you're bored with the same old fast food fare, try mixing it up with some of these secret menu options. Just don't tell anyone we told you. 

1. Starbucks 

If you're at Starbucks and in need of just a little caffeine, don't worry—there's a tiny option for you. The Short size is like a little baby cup of coffee. It also comes in handy when you're scrounging for change and don't have enough for a tall. And, thanks to a variety of syrups at your disposal, you can create uniquely flavored Frappuccinos. There's even a whole website dedicated to different mixtures. Some notable examples are mojito, Tootsie Roll, apple pie, cotton candy, and orange creamsicle. 

2. Fatburger

At some locations, you can order a Hypocrite—a veggie burger with crispy strips of bacon. 

3. Jamba Juice 

Although not listed officially, there are a number of junk-food-themed smoothies you can order at Jamba Juice. Some of the flavors confirmed by the company's headquarters include Strawberry Shortcake, White Gummy Bear, PB&J, Fruity Pebbles, Push-Up Pops, Skittles, and various flavors of Starburst. Other tantalizing flavors that are rumored to exist: Chocolate Gummi Bear, Apple Pie, Sourpatch Kid, Tootsie Roll, Chocolate-covered Strawberries, and Now and Later. 

4. Chipotle 

The accommodating burrito joint can make you just about anything—as long as they have the ingredients, they'll give it a try. Some options for building blocks include quesadillas, nachos, and a single taco. If you want to get creative, opt for the “Quesarito,” a burrito wrapped in a cheese quesadilla. If you want something somewhat smaller, the “Burritodilla” uses only half the filling. 

5. Wendy’s 

 
If you find yourself so hungry that not even three patties will satiate you, order the “Grand Slam.” Also known as the “Meat Cube,” this hulking sandwich features four patties stacked on a bun. 

6. McDonald’s 

McDonald’s has long denied the existence of a secret menu, but Business Insider proved that if you’re persistent, you can convince the workers to make you a variety of interesting concoctions. The outlandish "Land, Sea, and Air Burger" features a beef patty, a chicken patty, and fish filet. The "Monster Mac" is a Big Mac with eight patties and eight slices of cheese. 

One thing you can get without a fight is a Neapolitan Milkshake, a blend of strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. You can also get this frosty treat at In-N-Out Burger. 

7. Popeye’s 

If you’re feeling a little health-conscious, Popeye’s isn't the easiest place to order. But if you insist on dining "Louisiana fast," there's a little hope for you. Ordering "naked chicken” will get you breading-free poultry. The word is that this item is only on the menu at some Popeye's, although since it's just plain chicken it is an option at all of the chain's outlets. 

8. Taco Bell 

Like Chipotle, Taco Bell will make you just about anything within reason as long as they have the ingredients for it. Since most of the food at Taco Bell is made out of the same basic items, you can often ask for most discontinued items and get them. One "secret," though, is that most locations have an unadvertised green chili sauce that's reportedly excellent.

9. Subway 

 
When Subway shifted its focus to healthy eating, the pizza sub disappeared from the menu in most American locations. But if you ask, lots of the locations will still make the sandwich. Be warned, though: Jared probably wouldn't approve of the nine slices of pepperoni and copious amounts of cheese slathered in marinara sauce. 

10. In-n-Out 

Neeta Lind, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The California chain’s "secret menu" isn't so secret. In fact, they've posted it on their website. But in case you're not in the habit of surfing fast food sites, here's the skinny on the rather un-skinny items: Ordering something "Animal Style" at In-N-Out means you're going to get it with lettuce, tomato, a mustard-cooked beef patty, pickles, extra spread (it's sort of Thousand-Islandy) and grilled onions. You can even get your fries Animal Style. "Protein Style" is a burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf instead of a bun. A Grilled Cheese is two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato and spread on a bun (grilled onions if you so choose). And you can get just about any combo of meat and cheese that you want if you order it like you're ordering lumber: 3x3 gets you three beef patties and three slices of cheese, 4x4 gets you four of each, and so on. It doesn't stop there. One gluttonous patron requested a 100x100 at a Las Vegas store a couple of years ago. One item not listed on the website secret menu: The Flying Dutchman, which is two slices of cheese sandwiched between two patties, hold the bun.

11. Burger King 

John, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Burger King has a number of interesting options for your off-menu adventures. One popular item is the “Rodeo Burger,” a cheeseburger with onion rings and BBQ sauce. You can get that with a side of “Frings,” or an order of half fries and half onion rings. The “Quad Stacker” (also known as the “Suicide Burger”) has four patties, four slices of cheese, a healthy portion of bacon, and special sauce. The “Chicken Club Sandwich” is just a regular chicken sandwich with added bacon, tomato, and cheese to give it a country club feel. 

If you're looking for something more low-key, most Burger Kings have the ingredients to make you a ham and cheese sandwich if you ask nicely. It’s even offered on the official menu at some regional locations. 

12. Chick-Fil-A

Thanks to the new addition of wraps on the menu, most Chick-Fil-As now have tortillas in stock and can make you a chicken quesadilla

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These Sparrows Have Been Singing the Same Songs for 1500 Years
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iStock

Swamp sparrows are creatures of habit—so much so that they’ve been chirping out the same few tunes for more than 1500 years, Science magazine reports.

These findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, resulted from an analysis of the songs of 615 adult male swamp sparrows found in six different areas of the northeastern U.S. Researchers learned that young swamp sparrows pick up these songs from the adults around them and are able to mimic the notes with astounding accuracy.

Here’s what one of their songs sounds like:

“We were able to show that swamp sparrows very rarely make mistakes when they learn their songs, and they don't just learn songs at random; they pick up commoner songs rather than rarer songs,” Robert Lachlan, a biologist at London’s Queen Mary University and the study’s lead author, tells National Geographic.

Put differently, the birds don’t mimic every song their elders crank out. Instead, they memorize the ones they hear most often, and scientists say this form of “conformist bias” was previously thought to be a uniquely human behavior.

Using acoustic analysis software, researchers broke down each individual note of the sparrows’ songs—160 different syllables in total—and discovered that only 2 percent of sparrows deviated from the norm. They then used a statistical method to determine how the songs would have evolved over time. With recordings from 2009 and the 1970s, they were able to estimate that the oldest swamp sparrow songs date back 1537 years on average.

The swamp sparrow’s dedication to accuracy sets the species apart from other songbirds, according to researchers. “Among songbirds, it is clear that some species of birds learn precisely, such as swamp sparrows, while others rarely learn all parts of a demonstrator’s song precisely,” they write.

According to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds, swamp sparrows are similar to other sparrows, like the Lincoln’s sparrow, song sparrow, and chipping sparrow. They’re frequently found in marshes throughout the Northeast and Midwest, as well as much of Canada. They’re known for their piercing call notes and may respond to birders who make loud squeaking sounds in their habitat.

[h/t Science magazine]

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18 Smart Products To Help You Kick Off Summer
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iStock

Whether you’re trying to spiff up your backyard barbeque or cultivate your green thumb, these summertime gadgets will help you celebrate the season from solstice to the dog days.

1. ROSÉ WINE GLASSES; $60

Rosé Wine Glass
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Wine not? When the temperature rises and beer isn’t your thing, reach for the rosé. Riedel’s machine-blown SST (see, smell, taste) wine glasses will give the sparkly stuff ample room to breathe, making every refreshing sip worthwhile.

Find It: Amazon

2. NERF N-STRIKE ELITE SURGEFIRE; $25

Nerf SurgeFire
Hasbro

Why It’s Cool: The N-Strike Elite SurgeFire (say that five-times-fast) sports a pump-action rotating drum for maximum foam-based firepower and holds up to 15 Nerf darts in its arsenal.

Find It: Hasbro Toy Shop

3. BUSHEL & BERRY PLANTS; $34

plant
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: You don’t need to have a green thumb to create a brag-worthy garden this summer. Besides producing snackable mid-season berries, these open-growing bushes can be planted immediately for easy set-up to make you look like a botanical pro.

Find It: Amazon

4. INFLATABLE DONUT; $17

Doughnut float
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: When the only dunking you’re doing is taking a dip in the pool, a 48-inch inflatable donut is the perfect way to stay afloat.

Find It: Amazon

5. STAR SPANGLED SPATULA; $21

American flag spatula
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: O say can you see by your grill’s charcoal light / Meats so proudly we cooked ... with a star spangled spatula. Depending on the specific model, these all-American grilling tools (designed in New Jersey and made in Chicago) are made of a combination of walnut and stainless steel or nylon. As an added bonus: 5 percent of the proceeds go to the Penn Abramson Cancer Center.

Find It: Amazon

6. MLB HOT DOG BRANDERS; $8 AND UP

MLB San Diego Padres Hot Dog BBQ Brander
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Take your hot dogs, sausages, brats, and more out to the ballgame without ever leaving your grill. These branders from Pangea Brands are dishwasher-safe and made of ceramic-coated cast iron.

Find It: Amazon

7. UNA GRILL; $139

grill
MoMA Shop

Why It’s Cool: This portable charcoal-heated grill is as efficient as it is stylish. The compact size lets you cook at the park, after hitting up MoMA, or anywhere in between.

Find It: MoMa Shop

8. HAMBURGER GRILLING BASKET; $21


Why It’s Cool: Made of steel and finished with a non-stick coating, this grilling tool flips four burgers at once and maintains perfect burger proportions to guarantee nobody stays hungry for long.

Find It: Amazon

9. COPPER FIRE PIT; $121

metal fire pit
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: The grill isn’t the only place for a roaring fire this summer. This 100 percent solid copper fire pit makes for the perfect gathering spot at your next BBQ, or just to warm up after a cool summer evening.

Find It: Amazon

10. BENDY STRAW POOL NOODLE FLOAT; $10

Bendy Straw Inflatable Pool Float
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Inflatable pool floats shouldn’t be boring, and this bendy straw float definitely does not suck. This unique spin on traditional pool noodles is sure to make for some cheesy jokes, but at least you’ll be comfortable floating in the pool or at the beach.

Find It: Amazon

11. GRIDDLER DELUXE; $111

Cuisinart GR-150 Griddler Deluxe
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: If you’re looking for some serious panini power, this griddler offers up a versatile lineup of six cooking options in one. And with dual-zone functions you can sling burgers while searing filets and sautéeing vegetables all at the same time.

Find It: Amazon

12. VINTAGE SNOW CONE MAKER; $30

Vintage Snow Cone Maker
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: With its old-timey design, dual cone shelf, and endless flavor options, this snow cone maker is guaranteed create a cool treat.

Find It: Amazon

13. DACHSHUND CORN ON THE COB HOLDERS; $7

Dog Corn Holders
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: While meat-lovers will inevitably scarf down a lot of hot dogs this summer, vegetarians who happen to love another kind of dog will be smitten with these stainless steel, Dachshund-shaped corn on the cob prongs. They’re a fun spin on a summer grilling favorite.

Find It: Amazon

14. ICE CREAM SANDWICH MAKER; $16

Ice Cream Sandwich Maker
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Four sandwiches are better than one, especially when they're of the ice cream variety. Make four ice cream sandwiches at once with this homemade spin on a classic cold treat.

Find It: Amazon

15. UE WONDERBOOM; $68

Bluetooth speaker
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Besides delicious food and great company, some memorable tunes are required for the quintessential barbeque. This portable bluetooth speaker offers up some booming sound in a small package, and with a battery power of 10 hours on a single charge you can keep the party going all night.

Find It: Amazon

16. ROLLORS GAME; $38

Rollors Backyard Game
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: When you’re sick of bocce, hate horseshoes, and you’re over cornhole, you might want to take up “rollors,” a family-friendly game that combines your favorite traditional backyard festivities into one game for people of all ages.

Find It: Amazon

17. HAMMOCK; $174

hammock
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Rest easy knowing that this 100 percent hand-woven and hand-dyed cotton hammock contributes to artisan job-creation in Thailand.

Find It: Amazon

18. VSSL SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS; $59

Emergency Survival Tent Outdoors
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Compact, convenient, and durable, the VSSL Shelter can come in handy when things don’t go quite as planned. The device—which features a lightweight emergency shelter all within the handle of a compact, weather-resistant aluminum LED flashlight—is designed to keep you safe under the worst conditions.

Find It: Amazon

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