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You lucky devil. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. Get all the best restaurant recipes from Applebee's to El Pollo Loco here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    When the United States was emerging from the Great Depression in 1938, J.F. McCullough was experimenting with the idea of creating a new frozen dairy product. McCullough felt ice cream tasted better when it was soft and dispensed fresh from the freezder, not frozen solid. To test his theory with the public, McCulllough held and "All-the-Ice-Cream-You-Can-Eat-for-Only-10-Cents" sale at a friend's ice cream store. More than 1,600 people were served the soft ice cream in the course of two hours. Convinced that the new product was a big hit, McCullough had to find a machine that could dispense the product at the right consistency. It wasn't long before he found Harry Oltz, the inventory of a freezer that could do the job. In 1940 McCullough opened the first Dairy Queen in Joliet, Illinois.

    As of 1991 the company claimed to have more than 5,300 retail stores in the United States and twelve other countries. Since its creation in 1985, the Blizzard has shot to the top as the most popular Dairy Queen product, with more than 200 million of the treats sold each year. This is my version of the ice cream Blizzard with Heath candy bar bits in it.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    The Burger Wars have become the biggest food fight since that cafeteria scene from the movie Animal House. The two burger giants, McDonald's and Burger King, have each been cloning the other's top product in the bloody battle for the big burger buck. Burger King stepped up first with the Big King—Burger King's version of McDonald's Big Mac. Yes, it had two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun; although everything was arranged a bit differently, and there's no middle bun in there. Then McDonald's rolled out the Big 'N Tasty, which bore a striking resemblance to Burger King's Whopper, with fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion on top of a huge beef patty. Who's winning this fight by leveraging the popularity of the other company's product? Nobody, really. McDonald's chose to alter its Big 'N Tasty recipe by making it smaller 'n cheaper; then changed the name to BigXtra!, while Burger King limited the sale of the Big King and then took it off the menu. But this food fight is far from over. More recently Burger King tweaked its French fry formula in an unsuccessful attempt to steal away fans of McDonald's winning fried spuds recipe. And McDonald's has added more breakfast sandwiches to compete with Burger King's wide wake up selection. So the war continues. And the battlefield is splattered with ketchup.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.60. Votes: 5

    Get vertical with these two top secret breakfasts-in-sandwich from the world's number-two fast food chain. A great way to make the eggs for these breakfast sandwiches is to pour the beaten egg into a well-greased mold made from an empty pineapple can. Just cut both ends off an 8-ounce pineapple can—you know, the short cans that have the crushed or sliced pineapple inside. Then, before you know it, you'll be making perfectly round eggs like the fast food pros.  

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The first days receipts at Carl Karcher's just-purchased hot-dog cart in 1941 totaled $14.75. Peanuts, right? But Karcher was determined to make it big. So during the next two years he purchased several more stands throughout the Los Angeles area, later expanding into restaurants and diversifying the menu. In 1993, what had once been a business of one tiny hot-dog cart had become a multi-million-dollar company with 642 outlets. From $14.75 on the first day to today's $1.6 million in daily receipts, old Carl was on the right track.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.33. Votes: 15

    As he worked long, hard days at a shipyard in Hingham, Massachusetts, during World War II, William Rosenberg was struck with an idea for a new kind of food service. As soon as the war ended, Rosenberg started Industrial Luncheon Services, a company that delivered fresh meals and snacks to factory workers. When Rosenberg realized that most of his business was in coffee and donuts, he quit offering his original service. He found an old awning store and converted it into a coffee-and-donut shop called The Open Kettle. This name was soon changed to the more familiar Dunkin' Donuts, and between 1950 and 1955 five more shops opened and thrived. The company later spread beyond the Boston area and has become the largest coffee-and-donut chain in the world.

    Today, Dunkin' Donuts offers fifty-two varieties of donuts in each shop, but the most popular have always been the plain glazed and chocolate-glazed yeast donuts.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Our spicy sauce tops a tender, fried, marinated chicken breast. Served with a tangy blue cheese dressing."

    When the first Bennigan's opened in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1976, it resembled an Irish pub. The green decor with brass accents, the Irish-style memorabilia hanging on the walls, and the upbeat friendly atmosphere made the establishment extremely popular, especially during St. Patricks Day celebrations. Originally, the restaurant was best known for the bar, which served tasty appetizers and creative drinks, but that has since changed. As the restaurant chain expanded across the county, its menu grew to more than 50 items, making 220-outlet Bennigan's a popular casual dining stop.

    If you're a big buffalo wings fan, as I am, you'll really dig this sandwich that puts the zest flavor of hot wings between two buns. This recent addition to the Bennigan's menu has become a popular pick for the lunch or dinner crowd that likes its food on the spicy side. Feel free to double the recipe, but fry the chicken breasts one at a time.

    Source: "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Sliced turkey, avocado, tomato, sprouts, and lettuce with mayonnaise on wheat bread."

    The successful chain of Bennigan's restaurants is owned by Metromedia, one of the largest privately held partnerships in the country. Metromedia ranks second on the list of the country's largest casual dining restaurant companies, just behind Little Caesar's Pizza. Other restaurant chains controlled by Metromedia include Steak and Ale, Montana Steak Company, Ponderosa Steakhouse, and Bonanza Steakhouse chains. Altogether Metromedia owns more than 1500 restaurants that ring up nearly half a billion in revenue each year. 

    It's funny how any sandwich with avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, and lettuce in it winds up with "California" somewhere in the name. This recipe is not exactly a healthier alternative with all the mayonnaise and avocado in there, but if it's low-fat you're looking for, simply substitute a "light" mayonnaise for the regular stuff, ditch the avocado, and you're on your way to the beach.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Four scoops of vanilla ice cream between two giant chocolate chip cookies. Drizzled with hot fudge and sprinkled with powdered sugar."

    Bennigan's puts a twist on the traditional sundae with this sweet treat. Although this dessert was created for the Bennigan's menu, the original sundae has been with us since the turn of the century. Here's some cool history for you: this was a time when alternatives to alcohol were in high demand, so soda fountain proprietors began inventing new drinks. Ice cream sodas—scoops of ice cream combined with soda water and a squirt of flavored syrup—became so popular that Americans were enjoying them to the point of gluttony, especially on the Sabbath day. The treat was soon referred to as the "Sunday Soda Menace," and after Evanston, Illinois, became the first city to enact laws against selling ice cream sodas (shame!), the new prohibition was spreading nationwide. First alcohol, then sodas....you can bet a substitution was in order.

    One day soda fountain clerk, prohibited from selling sodas, served up a bowl of ice cream to a customer who requested a dribbling of chocolate syrup on the top. The fountain clerk, upon tasting the dish himself, found that he had discovered a new taste sensation, and soon the dessert was offered to everyone on Sundays only. Eventually that day of the week would be adopted as the name of the delicious ice-cream dish, with a bit of a spelling change to satisfy the scrutinizing clergy. The "soda-less soda" that we now call a sundae was born.

    This recipe makes enough giant chocolate chip cookies for six or seven sundaes, but you don't have to serve them all at once. Store the cookies in an airtight container and assemble the sundaes as you need them...on any day of the week.

    Try my recipe for Bennigan's Monte Cristo and more here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "With pieces of chicken marinated in a spicy peanut-ginger and sesame sauce, green onions, bean sprouts, julienne carrots, cilantro and roasted peanuts."

    After the first California Pizza Kitchen opened in Beverly Hills in 1985 success came quickly: there are currently 78 restaurants in 18 states. In 1992, huge food conglomerate PepsiCo paid over $70 million for a 70 percent share of the company-just eight years after Larry and Rick started the company. As for those two, well, they pocketed $18 million apiece, or around 70 times their initial investment in 1985. 

    Thai Chicken Pizza is one of the oldest varieties of pizza still on the menu, and remains a favorite. If you prefer, you can make this California Pizza Kitchen Thai Chicken Pizza recipe with a store-bought package dough or dough mix, but I recommend making the crust yourself. If you decide to do that, make it one day ahead of time so that it can rise slowly in the refrigerator. If you liked this, be sure to check out our CPK BBQ chicken pizza recipe.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Slices of turkey breast with bacon, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, stacked on toasted bread. Served with coleslaw."

    When Bob Wian invented the first Big Boy double-decker hamburger in 1937, his restaurant business went through the roof. Soon a slew of imitators hit the market with their own giant-sized burgers: Bun Boy, Brawney Boy, Super Boy, Yumi Boy, Country Boy, Husky Boy, Hi-Boy, Beefy Boy, Lucky Boy, and many other "Boys" across the burger-crazed country. 

    By 1985 the Big Boy statues had become a common sight in front of hundreds of Bob's restaurants around the country. This was also the year the Marriott Corporation, which had purchased Bob's from retiring Bob Wian in 1967, created a national ballot to decide whether the Big Boy character would stay or go. Thousands of voters elected to keep the tubby little tike, but his days were numbered. In 1992, Marriott chose to sell all of the Bob's Big Boys to an investment group. Those mostly West Coast Big Boys were later converted to Coco's or Carrows restaurants, and there the Big Boy went bye-bye. The Elias Brothers, a Michigan-area franchiser for many years, purchased the Big Boy name from Marriott in 1987, and today is the sole Big Boy franchiser worldwide.

    The Club Sandwich is one of Big Boy's signature sandwiches, and remains one of the most popular items on the menu since it was introduced in the mid-70s.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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