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7 Discontinued Items Fast-Food Chains Are Bringing Back This Year

The fast-food renaissance is upon us.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

When major fast-food chains started announcing menu cuts last year, terrible news kept coming from all sides. Taco Bell pruned its menu of more than a dozen items, McDonald's rolled back some of its most beloved features, like All Day Breakfast, and Subway canceled two of its most popular sandwiches. Fans were understandably upset, and many voiced their complaints on social media.

It seems that the chains listened because this year has been marked by a resurrection of fast-food items that disappeared in 2020, as well as some favorites that have been off the menus for years. Here are the most noteworthy menu returns we've seen so far. And for more on fast-food novelties, check out 9 Best Limited-Time Fast Foods on Menus Right Now.

1

Taco Bell's Potato Items

taco bell cheesy fiesta potatoes
Courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell's first move of the year was to announce the return of potatoes to its menu. The ingredient was unceremoniously cut during the height of the pandemic, which prompted months of fervent customer complaints on social media (and some pretty wacky moves to get the chain's attention). Alas, Taco Bell finally relented and reinstated the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and Spicy Potato Soft Tacos to the permanent menu on March 11.

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2

The Quesalupa

taco bell quesalupa
Courtesy of Taco Bell

And once Taco Bell was on a roll of delighting customers with long-gone-but-never-forgotten favorites, the Quesalupa got its 2021 resurrection. One of the most popular limited-time offers in the chain's history was last seen on the menu in 2016, and not only did Taco Bell decide to bring it back for another limited-time run—the chain also made the item better than ever. The Quesalupa was upgraded to include 50% more cheese, making its stuffed crispy shell heftier than before.

3

Spicy McNuggets

mcdonalds spicy nuggets hot dipping sauce
Courtesy of McDonald's

McDonald's first-ever flavor innovation with Chicken McNuggets ended up being a huge success with customers. Spicy Chicken McNuggets sold out almost as soon as they debuted last fall. And the nuggets weren't the only spicy thing in high demand—the new Mighty Hot Sauce that launched alongside them proved to be equally appealing. The condiment was the first new dipping sauce introduced by the chain in three years, as well as the spiciest offering on its menu.

Naturally, customers were less than pleased with the news of the item selling out so quickly, so McDonald's brought the spicy duo back for another run in February. And it seems like this time, they brought a bigger bag of nuggets with them, as there have been no supply issues to report.

4

Hi-C fountain drink

mcdonalds soda fountain
Shutterstock

Riding the wave of '90s nostalgia trends which sparked resurrections of the decade's pop culture, aesthetic, and love of indulgent foods and beverages, McDonald's brought back an oft-requested fountain drink that was removed from the menu in 2017. Hi-C Orange Lavaburst is now available at select McDonald's locations, while its nationwide rollout is planned for June. you can check the availability of Hi-C at a Mickey D's near you here.

5

McDonald's All Day Breakfast

mcdonalds egg mcmuffin breakfast
TY Lim/Shutterstock

Thanks to the pandemic, you may not be able to find All Day Breakfast at all McDonald's locations anymore, but you'll still find it in some. Our recent investigation unveiled that the pandemic-era rollback did not affect all McDonald's restaurants across the board, as some operators will still serve you a McMuffin in the afternoon.

6

Chicken Nuggets at Popeyes

popeyes chicken nuggets
Courtesy of Popeyes

According to reports, Popeyes has quietly brought back its chicken nuggets and is rolling them out at select locations. The item, which was cut from the menu back in 2012, has recently been spotted at select locations around the country, including Popeyes restaurants in Arkansas, Connecticut, Ohio, and Texas.

According to Chew Boom, they look a lot like the chicken patty from the chain's famous Classic Chicken Sandwich—made with white meat and coated with a chunky, crispy buttermilk breading.

7

Roast Beef and Rotisserie Chicken Sandwiches at Subway

subway roast beef
Courtesy of Subway

While this is a return planned for later this year, it's already making waves in the world of fast food. After the rotisserie chicken and roast beef sandwiches were cut from Subway's menu last June, many customers and even operators wondered why the chain would do away with two such popular items. And the wondering is now over, because the sandwich chain is bringing the two items back this summer, according to a report by Business Insider.

For more, check out the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.

Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more