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This Is the #1 Most Popular Menu Item at McDonald's

After more than 80 years on the menu, it's still the top pick for many.
FACT CHECKED BY Checkmark Mura Dominko
Mcdonald's golden arch

When the first McDonald's restaurant opened in 1940 in San Bernardino, CA, the menu featured fewer than ten items, most of which you can still purchase today. The first menu was also brimming with adjectives meant to entice customers, with item names like "Tempting Cheeseburger," "Refreshing Cold Milk," and "Thirst-Quenching Coke." And while the floral language is long gone from its menus, one of the original items from that menu is still the chain's most popular one today—the "Golden French Fries."

The McDonald's fries have consistently been rated as the chain's most popular menu item for years. For one, they are the #1 best-selling McDonald's item of all time, outperforming popular orders like the Big Mac and Happy Meals. They also came in first in last year's customer survey conducted by the site Ranker, which asked consumers to rate their favorite McDonald's items from a list of more than three dozen options. That's right, fries would get chosen over Chicken McNuggets and Quarter Pounders any day. (Related: McDonald’s Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.)

Even in more subjective taste test, like the one conducted by Insider's writer Andrew LaSane who ate through the entire McDonald's menu and ranked every item, the fries were called "easily my pick for the best thing on the McDonald's menu."

But when you strip them of their McDonald's legacy, are these fries actually as good when compared to those from other chains? Turns out they're consistently at the top. Several recent French fry taste tests have ranked the McDonald's fries as second best in the nation, including our own.

For a fry that was invented more than 80 years ago, that's quite an accolade. And one that transcends borders and cultures, too. When in the summer of 2020 McDonald's in the UK conducted its own Twitter poll on customers favorite items, the fries were in the top three.

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Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more