21. Steakhouse onion rings
> Chain: Arby’s
Big rounds of onion with a thick, crisp breading were one of this chain’s best side dishes. When they appeared in 2010, they were a replacement for Arby’s onion “petals,” which were little slices of onion instead of more toothsome rings. This year, the rings themselves were replaced, apparently, sources say, by sweet potato waffle fries.
22. Cajun rice
> Chain: Popeye’s
Everybody loves Popeye’s fried chicken, but the sides have always gotten mixed reviews. Apparently the chain’s Cajun rice, a longtime menu item that did a decent job of approximating traditional Louisiana “dirty rice” (complete with bits of ground beef and fine-ground chicken gizzards mixed in), was one of customers’ least favorite dishes. This year it and another side of green beans were scratched off.
23. Cini Minis
> Chain: Burger King
Small frosted cinnamon buns, these were an unusual choice for the burger chain’s menu when they first appeared in 1998, but they lasted well into the 2000s and after disappearing were brought back temporarily in 2018 as an exclusive through Grubhub in 32 states. A current Change.org petition is now seeking their return for one and all.
24. Fried apple pie
> Chain: McDonald’s
Sweets aren’t the first thing people associate with McDonald’s, but the original fried apple pie became an instant classic when it became the first dessert offered by the chain, back in 1968. Responding to customer concerns about health and nutrition, the company killed off the pies in 1992, replacing them with a baked version that has been refined several times since then. Fried was better.
25. Caramel apple empanada
> Chain: Taco Bell
McDonald’s fried apple pie was undeniably delicious, but Taco Bell went them one better by producing a similar hand pie, but with caramel sauce cloaking the apples, probably on the quite reasonable theory that caramel makes everything taste better.