The Egg McMuffin

In December 1971, Ray Kroc paid a visit to the McDonald’s on Upper State Street, near Five Points Plaza in Santa Barbara.  The fast-food chain’s president had learned that the franchisee, Herb Peterson, had cooked up something that would solve a problem that had confounded Kroc for years: McDonald’s had no breakfast business. Kroc sat down in the restaurant and Peterson served him what looked like an edible hockey puck: a poached egg with a slice of American cheese and Canadian bacon on a toasted English muffin. Kroc ate one sandwich, and then a second.  Within two months, McDonald’s became the first quick-service restaurant in America to offer breakfast.


The Egg McMuffin was inspired by eggs Benedict, Herb Peterson’s favorite breakfast.  The genius in creating the Egg McMuffin the fact that it was an easy-to-eat egg sandwich that wouldn’t make a mess, just like the rest of McDonald’s menu.  The ring-molded egg, the circular Canadian bacon slice, and the English muffin provided a compact, practical, and substantial breakfast that would please a wide audience.  This doesn’t sound all that innovative today, but it the early 70’s, it was a leap of faith—most grocery stores at that time didn’t even sell English muffins.  Additionally, Peterson had to get a local blacksmith to custom-make ring molds, as they weren’t on the market at the time. 


Herb Peterson passed away in 2008, but here on the Central Coast, he’s remembered every year on his birthday, January 7th. On that day every McDonald’s in the area offers Egg McMuffins for $1.  If you’re really into learning more about this distinctly American breakfast creation, there’s a book all about it—“The Good Egg: Herb Peterson, the Egg McMuffin and the Secret Ingredients of Innovation,” by his son David Peterson.


At Barbareño we can’t call our sandwich an Egg McMuffin due to trademark laws.  So we call it the Eggamuffin, mentioned on this classic Bill Murray National Lampoon sketch: