According to this Wiki entry (and this great Smithsonian article), it was back in 1962 that a McDonalds’s franchise owner in Cincinnati noticed the drop in hamburger sales on Friday in his store, which was located in a largely Roman Catholic neighborhood. Looking for something that his Roman Catholic patrons (who abstained from eating meat on Fridays) could enjoy, he invented the Filet-O-Fish sandwich.
However, McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc has his own idea for meatless Friday fare: a grilled pineapple and cheese sandwich. As a result, the two sandwiches competed for a permanent spot on the national menu with sales to determine the winner. The Filet-O-Fish won, and was slowly added to McDonald’s menus beginning in 1963.
As the ad above (which appeared in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 10, 1964), the sandwich had reached Lorain the following year. By 1965, it had reached nationwide status.
Today the sandwich remains popular, especially with people whose diet requires them to avoid meat.
Anyway, I still enjoy a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish now and then, although I am pretty nostalgic for the price that I remember from the 1970s: forty cents.
****this early post from 2009.
I also wrote about the 1960 Grand Opening of the West Erie Avenue store here; a 1962 Christmas ad for the West Erie store here; the 1963 Grand Opening of the Colorado Avenue store here; an article about the new store coming to Elyria Township here; a 1968 ad for the new Big Mac sandwich here; and a few posts about the system which McDonald’s uses to assign a number to its restaurants here and here.