The story of the Filet-o-Fish sandwich begins in Cincinnati - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

The story of the Filet-o-Fish sandwich begins in Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

One of the most popular places to find fish sandwiches during Lent is McDonald's. Did you know that a piece of pop-culture history was invented in Cincinnati?

"Gimme that filet-o-fish, gimme that fish," a mounted wall fish once sang in a super-popular McDonald's commercial.

That jingle elevated the fish sandwich to cult status, but this fish tale started with Lou Groen's simple goal -- to serve a meatless sandwich during Lent:

  • Steamed bun
  • Shot of tartar sauce
  • The Filot-o-Fish
  • Cheese

Today, it's a cod sandwich. But it used to be halibut. Groen was forced to change because McDonald's wanted to sell the fish sandwich at 25 cents.

Groen, as the story goes, once asked his partner to pick between a chicken franchise or a McDonald's. She chose McDonald's.

And from there, they built their own burger empire, with 42 restaurants. Then, in 1962, Groen went to McDonald's legend Ray Kroc, with his Filet-o-Fish idea. But Kroc wanted to push his own meatless sandwich called the hula burger (cold bun, a piece of pineapple, cheese).

Groen and Kroc competed on a Lenten Friday in 1962 to see whose sandwich would sell more. Kroc's hula burger bombed, reportedly selling only six sandwiches. Groen sold 350 Filet-o-Fish sandwiches that day.

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