Fast food has been consistently popular all over the world for decades, for reasons that are pretty compelling — it’s tasty, it’s filling, and most of all it’s cheap. Much has been made in recent years about the health impact of these foods, but it’s done little to keep customers away. After all, a typical fast food restaurant allows a family of four to eat for $20, and in this economy that’s a likely source of repeat business, regardless of the health implications.
Still, would people be willing to pay more for fast food if it were made with better ingredients? Would they be willing to pay more for a hamburger made of high-quality beef? What if it was made from fresh Kobe beef from the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan and smothered in foie gras and black truffles, while perched atop a brioche truffle bun dotted with edible, 24-karat gold leaves? Would the average fast-food consumer be willing to part with a few extra bucks for such an experience?
Over the past few years, several businesses have tried to find the answer to this question by creating their own variations on fast food and giving them unnervingly high prices. Some were one-of-a-kind items with proceeds earmarked for charity, and others remain regular items on the menus of upscale restaurants. But what they all have in common is a price many times higher than anything normally found inside a Happy Meal.
What are some of the most outrageously expensive fast foods ever made? Read ahead to see them.
Lobster Surf & Turf Burger
Created by: Wendy’s
Location: Tokyo, Japan
The Wendy’s fast-food chain is best known for its square hamburgers, “Where’s the beef?” commercials of yesteryear, and most of all, its modestly priced menu. However, the company has introduced an uncharacteristically high-end item for the Japanese market.
For a limited time, Wendy’s is offering its Tokyo customers the Lobster Surf & Turf Burger for approximately $16, according to BurgerBusiness.com, a burger-centric Internet resource run by Scott Hume, formerly of Restaurants & Institutions magazine and Advertising Age magazine. The burger uses Omar lobster meat, imported from Canada.
Soft Shell Crab Tacos
Created by: The Brentwood
Location: Los Angeles’ Westside
The Brentwood restaurant has served the culinary needs of Los Angeles’ Westside clientele since 1999. Its menu includes every comfort food conceivable, from burgers and fries to macaroni and cheese, and everything in between. However, just because they serve comfort food, don’t expect to be presented with a $10 check from your server when you’re done eating.
The Brentwood is located in one of the most upscale areas in the U.S., so the food is priced accordingly. On the menu , a $28.50 fish taco sits alongside a $24.50 plate of fried chicken and a $16.50 shrimp cocktail. At one point, the restaurant offered a filet mignon taco sold for $38.50 , but sadly it no longer appears on their menu.
Created by: Stephen Bruce
Location: Serendipity 3, New York City
Serendipity 3 has been a New York City institution since 1954. It’s a popular tourist attraction that was frequented by such legends as Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Andy Warhol , and served as the setting for multiple films, most notably the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity , starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsdale.
Owner Stephen Bruce has always known the value of a good publicity stunt, so on June 23, 2010, otherwise known as National Hot Dog Day, the restaurant offered the "Haute Dog," a foot-long frank grilled in white truffle butter and covered in black truffles and foie gras. It sold for $69, earning the Guinness World Record for the most expensive hot dog in the world.
Macaroni and Cheese
Created by: Melisse
Location: Santa Monica, Calif.
Melisse is a French restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, Calif. It specializes in seasonal entrees, and in the time that it’s been open for business it’s won two Michelin Star Awards. It’s also been rated the No. 1 restaurant in Los Angeles by Zagat.
One of the seasonal delicacies that Melisse offers is a white truffle, which is only available from October through December. During those months, the restaurant serves it in a macaroni and cheese entree that costs $95 a plate.
Created by: Barclay Prime
Location: Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia
Most major American cities have at least one trademark food item. New York City has the bagel, Chicago has deep-dish pizza, and Philadelphia has the Philly cheesesteak. The sandwich consists of thin slices of steak and melted Velveeta cheese on a roll, and you can get one anywhere in the city for just a few dollars.
Barclay Prime, a luxury steakhouse near Philadelphia’s historical Rittenhouse Square, offers its own upscale take on the sandwich. Until very recently, it offered a $100 cheesesteak sandwich made with Kobe beef, Taleggio cheese and poached lobster. In 2011, the sandwich was redesigned, but the restaurant has yet to disclose its details.
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