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

McDonald's filet-of-fish first sold in Cincinnati

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 Filet-o-Fish
  • Cheese

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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