'All I Got Was a Plaque': Big Mac Creator Dies

Jim Delligatti started selling his burger for 45 cents
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2016 11:21 AM CST
'All I Got Was a Plaque': Big Mac Creator Dies
Big Mac creator Michael "Jim" Delligatti in 2008.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

When he put two beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a "special sauce" on a double-sliced sesame seed bun, Michael "Jim" Delligatti could've had no idea that he'd just created what would become America's most famous burger. The McDonald's franchisee from Pennsylvania never profited from the achievement, but almost 50 years later, the creator of the Big Mac had the pleasure of knowing 550 million of his burgers were sold in the US each year. Delligatti died surrounded by family at his home in a suburb of Pittsburgh on Monday, reports the AP. He was 98. Of his invention, Delligatti once said it "wasn't like discovering the light bulb … All I did was screw it in the socket," per the Wall Street Journal.

Though Delligatti was inspired by double-decker burgers sold by McDonald's rivals, McDonald's was quite skeptical of his idea and at first batted down his plan for a double-sliced bun. But without an extra layer of bread, his special sauce—which took weeks to perfect—turned the sandwich into an all-out mess. McDonald's eventually approved the sale of the burger for 45 cents at Delligatti's franchise in Uniontown in 1967. A year later, it was introduced nationally as the "Big Attraction." "All I got was a plaque," Delligatti later said. In 2007, however, McDonald's helped him open the McDonald's Big Mac Museum Restaurant in North Huntingdon, Pa., home of the world's biggest Big Mac. (Coming soon: the Grand Mac?)

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