Call it a comeback: The return of the McRib

If any quick-service menu item could come back to life as a rock star, it would be the McDonald's McRib sandwich.

Few restaurant items have achieved such a cult-like following as the McRib, which has at least five Facebook pages, a McRib locator website and a portfolio that includes a nod on “The Simpsons.”

Perhaps it’s the elusiveness that generates such a buzz around this sandwich – technically made from boneless pork and topped with pickles, onions and tangy barbecue sauce.

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McDonald’s originally introduced the McRib in 1982 as a limited-time offer, and then brought it back in 1994.

It has since popped up here and there on a regional level, including in McDonald’s Greater Southwest Region, which gave the item a farewell tour in 2006 shortly before its limited time expired.

Now the McRib is gearing up for a comeback on a much larger scale. The sandwich will be available nationally beginning Nov. 2, again as a limited-time offer. It will retail for the suggested price of $2.49. Prices and participation may vary.

“This is the first time we’ve had it in 16 years and only the third time ever,” said Ashlee Yingling, U.S. Media Relations for McDonald’s USA. “It’s pretty exciting.”

The fan base surrounding the McRib, Yingling adds, is autonomous from any McDonald’s-based marketing effort.

“The McRib fan base is all grassroots. The locator, the Facebook page, all of that is driven by fans,” she said.

As the Nov. 2 reintroduction approaches, more and more “spottings” have been reported on the McRib Locator website.

Typically, limited time offerings last 4 to 6 weeks, so the popular sandwiches could disappear again in mid-December. That, however, doesn’t mean fans will stop searching, waiting and, of course, hoping for its permanence on McDonald’s standard menu.

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