McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish: you either love it or you hate it. The crispy, square-shaped fried fish is topped with tartar sauce and a melty slice of processed cheese enveloped in a spongy bun. While McDonald’s started out as a burger joint, this pescatarian option appeared in the 1960s and has had a strong place on the menu ever since. Here are some fun facts you may not know about this fishy entrée.
6. Filet-O-Fish Saved a Cincinnati Restaurant
In the early 1960s, Lou Groen was struggling to keep his McDonald’s franchise afloat. While restaurants typically see brisk business on Friday nights, Groen’s Friday nights were woefully slow. This was because the Cincinnati neighborhood in which the franchise was located was predominately Catholic. At that time, Catholics refrained from eating meat on Friday evenings year-round. Groen came up with the idea of the trademark Filet-O-Fish sandwich to compete with the fish sandwiches offered by nearby competitor Frisch’s Big Boy.
5. Filet-O-Fish Had to Compete with Pineapple
When Lou Groen first approached McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc with his fishy idea, Kroc wanted nothing to do with it. Instead, Kroc pushed for his own vegetarian option, which he named the “Hula Burger.” The Hula Burger consisted solely of grilled pineapple, cheese, and a bun. When Groen’s fish burger and Kroc’s pineapple burger competed head-to-head for Friday night business, the fish burger came out the clear winner. And thus, the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish was born.