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What was on the menu at the first McDonald's?

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Posted at 1:59 PM, May 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-15 13:59:08-04

I’ll have a large Hamburger Royal with chili and beans, please — and a frosted root beer.

When the first McDonald’s restaurant opened 75 years ago Friday in San Bernardino, California, its menu was something out of an episode of “Happy Days.” There were no Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets or McFlurries — those signature items would be introduced in 1967, 1983 and 1997, respectively — but there was plenty of barbecued pork.

The top of a menu from that first restaurant boasts, “We barbecue all meats in our own barbecue pit” — not quite as catchy a slogan as “I’m Lovin’ It.”

That first restaurant, opened by brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald, specialized in barbecued menu items. A look at the early menu included items like:

  • Barbecued beef, ham or pork, with french fries - 35 cents
  • Melted cheese, with french fries - 30 cents
  • Peanut butter and jelly, with french fries - 20 cents
  • Tamales and chili, with french fries - 50 cents
  • Giant malt, made with real milk - 20 cents
  • Root beer float - 20 cents
  • Coca-Cola - 10 cents

 

An early McDonald's restaurant menu, posted at Kottke.org.

The entire page of the historic menu, as seen at Kottke.org, would cost $5.65 to order. That’s less expensive than a large Big Mac meal at today’s McDonald’s.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.