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Burger King Quietly Drops Sugary Soft Drinks From Kids' Menu

Mar 10, 2015

Burger King has joined a growing number of fast-food restaurants trying to reduce the unhealthy options on their menus by removing calorie-laden soft drinks from its kids’ menu.

In a statement to USA Today, the fast-food giant said it removed fountain drinks from kids’ menus without fanfare last month “as a part of our ongoing effort to offer our guests options that match lifestyle needs.” Now, instead of Coca-Cola and Sprite, menus display milk or apple juice as options for young patrons.

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The carbonated and sugary drinks are still an option, but they aren’t advertised on the listed menu.

McDonalds and Wendy’s have also recently introduced healthier options, with McDonald’s announcing last week it will no longer serve chicken containing human antibiotics.

Fast-food chains are feeling the pressure from advocacy groups to do their part to help fight childhood obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a third of American children and adolescents were obese in 2012. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says sugary drinks are a hefty contributor to kids packing on the extra pounds.

In October, Chicago heavy-metal-themed bar Kuma's Corner launched one of the most outrageous burgers to date: the Ghost Burger—it's named after Swedish metal band Ghost B.C.—was topped with an unconsecrated Communion wafer. The dish sold well, but angered Catholics (and garnered national headlines), prompting the owners to donate $1,500 to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Octavian Cantilli—Universal Orlando

17. The Krusty Burger

The fictional Simpsons hangout was so popular, it became a real-life restaurant in 2013, when Universal Studios Orlando opened a Simpsons theme park. Ironically, menu staples like the Clogger Burger and the Mother Nature Burger—dismissed as gross on the cartoon—fetch over $10 in real life.

In October, Chicago heavy-metal-themed bar Kuma's Corner launched one of the most outrageous burgers to date: the Ghost Burger—it's named after Swedish metal band Ghost B.C.—was topped with an unconsecrated Communion wafer. The dish sold well, but angered Catholics (and garnered national headlines), prompting the owners to donate $1,500 to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Courtesy of Kuma

16. The Ghost Burger

In October of 2014, Chicago heavy-metal-themed bar Kuma's Corner launched one of the most outrageous burgers to date: the Ghost Burger—it's named after Swedish metal band Ghost B.C.—was topped with an unconsecrated Communion wafer. The dish sold well, but angered Catholics (and garnered national headlines), prompting the owners to donate $1,500 to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The ordering lingo for this Atlanta staple, which debuted in 1928, is almost as delicious as the burger itself: you get it “all the way” in lieu of “with onions,” and “walk a steak” replaces “to-go.” These branding gimmicks were later replicated by burger chains like In-N-Out, whose secret menu (see: “animal style” and "protein style") has helped lure millions of customers.
Courtesy of Kayla Tausche—AP

15. The Varsity Burger

The ordering lingo for this Atlanta staple, which debuted in 1928, is almost as delicious as the burger itself: you get it “all the way” in lieu of “with onions,” and “walk a steak” replaces “to-go.” These branding gimmicks were later replicated by burger chains like In-N-Out, whose secret menu (see: “animal style” and "protein style") has helped lure millions of customers.

Designer Burger Demand in Los Angeles Grabs Hold in New York
Patrick Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

14. The Umami Burger

Arguably the first “modernist cuisine” patty, the Umami Burger—unveiled by Adam Fleischman in 2009—is meant to taste like, well, umami (a savory taste embodied in MSG), incorporating such toppings as soy-roasted tomatoes, parmesan crisps and pickled ginger. The patty's success has fueled the opening of 21 additional locations.

Russia's President Medvedev and U.S. President Obama have burgers for lunch at Ray's Hell Burger restaurant in Arlington
Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

13. The Ray's Hell Burger

President Obama treated then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to one of these patties in Arlington in 2010—Obama’s was reportedly ordered plain, while Medvedev added jalapeños, mushrooms and onions. And the meal may have fostered intimacy between the two leaders: less than two years later, Obama was caught on a hot mic asking Medvedev for space on missile defense policy, explaining, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” Medvedev was amenable.

Courtesy of Keizo Shimamoto

12. The Ramen Burger

This so-called hybrid burger—two parts ramen, one part beef patty—drew vast crowds at the Smorgasburg outdoor food market in Brooklyn throughout the summer of 2013 (mere months after the cronut craze). Soon, the Keizo Shimamoto creation had enough hype to debut in L.A. and even inspired a knockoff in the Philippines, cementing its status as a global obsession. Alas, there's no official ramen-burger restaurant yet—would-be tasters have to monitor its Facebook page to see where it'll be served next.

Japan - Fast Food - Mos Food Services - Hamburger Chain
Everett Kennedy Brown—EPA/Corbis

11. The MOS Burger

The burger may be a mostly American creation, but many other countries have launched their own chains—and burger variants—to capitalize on its success. Among the most prominent: MOS (a.k.a. “Mountain Ocean Sun”) Burger, which opened in Japan in 1972. Although its signature patty mimics the U.S. classic, other items are designed around Japanese tastes; there’s a teriyaki burger and a grilled salmon rice burger. Similar tactics have worked in other regions, too: in India, Nirula's chain serves potato and mint patties in lieu of beef, and in Malaysia, Ramly Burger offers patties wrapped in an egg envelope inside the bun.

Although this twist on the cheeseburger—in which the cheese is melted inside the patty—was reportedly invented in the 1920s, when chefs were still experimenting with the burger, it gained national attention in 2008, thanks to a feud between two Minneapolis bars that both claim to have "invented" it. Since then, there have been numerous imitators, proving that a little innovation and a dash of hype is all it takes to reinvigorate enthusiasm for a classic. Correction: The original version of this story misstated the date of invention of the Jucy Lucy. It was put on the menu at Matt's in 1954.
Bruce Bisping—Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMA Press

10. The Jucy Lucy

Although this twist on the cheeseburger—in which the cheese is melted inside the patty—was reportedly invented in the 1920s, when chefs were still experimenting with the burger, it gained national attention in 2008, thanks to a feud between two Minneapolis bars that both claim to have "invented" it. Since then, there have been numerous imitators, proving that a little innovation and a dash of hype is all it takes to reinvigorate enthusiasm for a classic.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the date of invention of the Jucy Lucy. It was put on the menu at Matt's in 1954.

Developer Of First Cultivated Beef Burger Mark Post
Simon Dawson—Bloomberg/Getty Images

9. The Lab-Grown Burger

With global demand for meat expected to grow 60% by 2050, the amount of farmland and grain needed to feed those chickens, pigs and cows may be unsustainable. But this burger, which was unveiled last year by Mark Post of Maastricht University, has none of those hang-ups—it’s grown in a lab from cow stem cells, which means it may even be palatable for vegetarians. The only issue: for now, it carries a $325,000 price tag.

Heart Attack Grill owner Jon poses with a quadruple bypass cheese burger in Chandler, Arizona
Joshua Lott—Reuters

8. The Quadruple Bypass Burger

Jon Basso, owner of The Heart Attack Grill, has drawn national attention (and outrage) for his gluttonous offerings since the restaurant first opened in 2005, offering free meals for those over 350 pounds. His most notorious dish is this behemoth, which layers eight slices of cheese between four half-pound patties and clocks in at nearly 10,000 calories. One regular customer, a kind of spokesman for the restaurant, actually died in front of the Las Vegas eatery in 2013. The burger became an exemplar of the more-is-more burger culture, preceding a series of other gluttonous dishes including Paula Deen's doughnut-encased Lady's Brunch Burger.

Shake Shack Comes to Russia Two Decades After McDonald's Debut
Andrey Rudakov—Bloomberg/Getty Images

7. The ShackBurger

The 2004 invention—topped with a tangy, secret-recipe ShackSauce—was the first burger to start a food craze, inspiring hordes of eaters to wait in lines that stretched throughout New York’s Madison Square Park. And Danny Meyer's decision to grind prime cuts of whole muscle, rather than scraps, completely transformed the way we think of burgers, according to Josh Capon, the four-time winner of New York’s Burger Bash.

Image converted using ifftoany
Coutesy of Gardenburger

6. The Gardenburger

The original veggie burger was invented in 1981 at—go figure—the Gardenhouse, an Oregon vegetarian restaurant, and it consisted mainly of leftover vegetables and grains. Before long, it was the most popular item on the menu, living on even after the restaurant closed as a frozen-food item that was packaged and sold internationally. Today, the Gardenburger and its imitators, from MorningStar to Boca, have become mainstays at conscientious cook-outs nationwide.

BURGER KING WHOPPER
Burger King Corporation/PRNewsFoto/AP

5. The Burger King Whopper

The quarter-pound patty, introduced in 1957, was the fast food industry’s first gimmick burger—developed as a premium alternative to McDonald’s, Wendy’s and others. Burger King’s stunt inspired its competitors to create their own “deluxe” versions. Among them: the McDonald’s Big Mac.

Courtesy of '21' Club

4. The 21 Burger

When the 21 Club introduced its gourmet burger in the late 1940s or early 1950s, New Yorkers were shocked that an upper-class establishment would offer something as lowly as the burger—and at the exorbitant price of $2.75, compared with McDonald's' 15 cents. Nevertheless, it was a hit. “The [higher quality] beef did make a difference,” says Andrew F. Smith, author of Hamburger: A Global History, “and it certainly was something very different than simply fast food.” The luxury burger has since become a mainstay at many higher-end restaurants, from Le Parker Meridien (a high-low offering in the lobby's Burger Joint) to db Bistro Moderne (the truffle, foie gras and short ribs DB Burger) to Hubert Keller’s (the foie gras-topped Fleur Burger, which costs $5,000 and is served with a bottle of 1995 Château Pétrus).

In-N-Out Burger As The Company Is Valued At Near $2 Billion
Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

3. The In-N-Out Burger

Whereas McDonald’s focused on fast, In-N-Out focused on food—its signature burger, which debuted in 1948, was made from locally sourced ground beef and fresh vegetables. That approach may have prevented In-N-Out’s expansion (it has just 294 locations today, compared with McDonald’s 34,000-plus), but it certainly hasn’t dampened foodie enthusiasm: the In-N-Out burger routinely tops best-of burger lists, and has inspired the launch of other higher-end fast food chains, such as Five Guys.

McDonald's

2. The McDonald's Burger

Behold, the burger that Smith says “moved fast food from a small operation to a global operation.” The original McDonald’s patty, which debuted in San Bernardino, Calif., spawned an empire that now spans 118 countries—making the price of its beefier counterpart, the Big Mac, ubiquitous enough to serve as an informal measure of purchasing-power parity, as seen in The Economist’s Big Mac index.

White Castle Hamburgers
Najlah Feanny—Corbis

1. The White Castle Slider

The now-iconic square patty—which debuted in 1921 at the first White Castle in Wichita, Kansas—was the first burger to spawn a fast food-empire: by 1930, White Castle had 10 U.S. locations. But more importantly, the restaurant's emphasis on cleanliness—facilities were white and customers could watch their burger meat being ground through a window—helped quell fears that all ground beef was as unsanitary as the stuff depicted in Upton Sinclair's best-selling The Jungle, which was released in 1906. Its success paved the way for the great American burger obsession.

[USA Today]

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