Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell!

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rumaki
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 16:14:14 (permalink)
When I was a youth in the 1960s, there was a terrific Arby's on North Keystone and Fall Creek Parkway in Indianapolis that had outstanding roast beef sandwiches, carved to order -- as well as the old-fashioned neon sign out front. My family would get a bag of Arby's sandwiches to have for Saturday lunch.  I was so disappointed when I went to college and went to an Arby's in Evanston -- it was disgusting.  I think that particular Indianapolis Arby's may have been unusual in a number of ways -- for example, they served Coke, not Pepsi, products.  
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BelleReve
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 17:37:15 (permalink)
What I remember from going to Shakey's pizza parlor in the mid 60's was not the food at all, but the entertainment, group sing-a-longs, "follow the bouncing ball," where a projector flashed the lyrics on the wall.
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felix4067
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 19:10:11 (permalink)
Hepcat

ChrisOC I also remember when every burger chain had a salad bar.  Roy Rogers was the best, until Wendy's came up with the superbar.


Every? Where and when was this? I recall there was a brief period in the eighties(?) when a very few burger chains had salad bars in some of their stores in Toronto but my memory of this is very hazy. Therefore it could not have been long or very widespread.



Granted, I wasn't really aware of fast food prior to about 1978, but literally the only FF place where I have ever seen a salad bar was Wendy's, and that was in the 80's. Never saw one in Arby's, or Burger King, or McDonald's, or White Castle, or Burger Chef, or anywhere else. They did have one a Pizza Hut for a while, too, but that's about it.
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totillie
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 01:57:19 (permalink)
Mr. Mayor, I remember McIntyres. Good, good, good clams. And rings. Sad that is is gone.
 
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totillie
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 02:03:13 (permalink)
Yes, Mr. Hoffman  I m guessing it was one of the first franchises.  It was a classic Arches/order/eat in the car deal. I do not remember the exit, but we ate there in the early/mid mid-sixties.  My grandparents moved upstate in '65, so ...
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ChrisOC
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 09:00:50 (permalink)
mayor al

Never saw a salad bar at a McDonalds.

 
In the mid 70's McD had salad bars in the Philadelphia area.

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kland01s
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 10:51:52 (permalink)
Wendy's had a pretty decent salad bar in the 90's.
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Cosmos
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 11:15:45 (permalink)
......The 90's are the 'old days'?
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 11:48:37 (permalink)
totillie

Yes, Mr. Hoffman  I m guessing it was one of the first franchises.  It was a classic Arches/order/eat in the car deal. I do not remember the exit, but we ate there in the early/mid mid-sixties.  My grandparents moved upstate in '65, so ...

Oh, you meant off an exit. I thought you were saying it was on the Merritt, which had/has no places to eat.
 
The first McDonald's I remember in Connecticut was on the Post Road (U.S. 1) in Orange back in the late '50s. It was owned by a guy named D'Andrea and it was next to his driving range. D'Andrea also owned the Three Judges diner off the Wilbur Cross (an extention of the Merritt) in New Haven.


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MetroplexJim
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 12:18:56 (permalink)
As I will turn 65 next month I guess I qualify as an "old-timer".
 
My first fast food experience was in 1962 at the McDonald's on Wilmington Road in New Castle, PA: an original "Golden Arches" walk-up design with no seating.  Their sign had changeable numbers that racheted up every time another million sold.  Their menu was simple and everything was "one size":  hamburger $0.15, cheeseburger $0.19, fries $0.12, coke $0.10, shake $0.19.  Due to its novelty, we really enjoyed eating there; really though, the food hasn't changed much in the half-century since but the novelty has really worn off.  And, "just because" I have tried McD's in London, Paris, & Rio:  it is indeed the same everywhere.
 
Back then McD's weren't even the biggest bargain in town; that was the Red Barn about a mile south that sold a 3 piece chicken dinner w/fries for $0.59!
 
(Of course all that was at a time when I was earning $0.85/hr. as an after-school stock-boy/soda jerk at our local small town drug store).
 
A few years later I enjoyed eating at the original Arby's in Boardman, OH (just south of Youngstown).  It was truly wonderful, but the original sandwich certainly has changed over the years.
 
In the 1980's I was an enthusiastic patron of the first Five Guys, next to Brenner's Bakry in Arlington, VA.  I remain their enthusiastic patron "down here" in the Metroplex.
#40
mr chips
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:04:15 (permalink)
I grew up in the 60's and graduated from high school in 1971. At that time The Dalles was considered too small for a McDonald's and Burger King and Wendy's were not in view. A & W was around with bad pizza , decent burgers and good root beer.  Dairy Queen was closed in the winter .One of my friends  was the evening manager at the Arctic Circle and we could get a decent burger and fries and drink combo for around a  buck. McDonald's even seemed a little exotic when I could walk to one from my college campus. And there was no breakfast at McDonald's then. 
post edited by mr chips - 2012/12/09 03:26:01
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Foodbme
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:08:07 (permalink)
I was a Teenager in the '50's.
I guess the Lunchonette/Soda Fountain places and the Drive-In's (ala Sonic style) would have been considered the FF places of that era. 
Can stil taste the Hamburgers and Milkshakes! My little hometown had a DQ before we had a McDonalds. Can remember my family driving over 150 miles one way down to Pittsburgh just to see what this "McDonalds Thing'" was all about!
post edited by Foodbme - 2012/12/08 14:12:24
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kozel
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:29:58 (permalink)
I always thought that Wetson's served a better product than McDonald's especially the fries.  The one place I remember as a kid (50's maybe) that is still there today is the Charcoal Pit in Delaware.
 
http://www.roadfood.com/R...view/1363/charcoal-pit
 
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:39:42 (permalink)
Cosmos

......The 90's are the 'old days'?

Not at all, it's just when I remember when Wendy's had salad bars to answer a question upthread.
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1bbqboy
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 15:03:47 (permalink)
Does the OP mean FF=chains? Because fast food has been around for quite a while, hasn't it?
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Root-Beer Man
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 15:58:00 (permalink)
Well, back when I was a kid the food at the fast food joints was better. I fondly remember eating at the Taco Bell in Gulfport and looked forward to eating there. It was a lot better than it is today. As for your mention of Pizza Hut redoing their recipes, yep. They sure did. I used to love their Thick and Chewy line. Best fast food pizza out there, (especially when you lived where there was no such thing as NY style pizzerias). Always loved to eat at the now long gone A&W Root Beer stand in Meridian, MS. Great hot dogs and ice cold root beer in a mug. Nothing quite like it.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 16:24:31 (permalink)
Cosmos

......The 90's are the 'old days'?


For some ... Casual Friday last, I wore a Coogi-style sweater and my students "went wild" over it.  They were amazed when I told them that the sweater was older than they! 
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 17:05:08 (permalink)
I figured, I was kidding, but yes to some the 90's is the old days...just makes me feel even older...
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mjambro
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 18:02:26 (permalink)
Cosmos

I figured, I was kidding, but yes to some the 90's is the old days...just makes me feel even older...

 
After all, that was in the last century.....
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plb
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 20:29:09 (permalink)
One of the first in my home town was named Mr. Fifteen.  They later had to change their name due to inflation.  It became something like Burger Man with the same mascot.
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ces1948
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 22:32:37 (permalink)
I grew up in Tulare, Ca. Born in1948. We had an A&W in town which I guess was a chain though I don't think we realized it. The nearest McDonald 's was about 40 miles away in the "big" city of Fresno. I didn't eat there until I was about 17-18 and I was pretty fascinated. Burgers were 12 to 15 cents. It was hard to find a cheeseburger I didn't like in those days.  
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lynndunham
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 22:48:58 (permalink)
I remember eating at Arby's in the mid 60's. The roast beef sandwiches were really good - real, not like the mosaic looking slices they use today! I hate mosaic meat! They also had a shaker of nutmeg for their vanilla shakes. I would be happy to pay a dollar or two more if they would go back to their original food. In fact, I would always prefer that a restaurant raise its prices a little rather than cut corners or lower the quality. If I can't afford it, I won't eat there often. But if the quality is lacking, I still won't eat there plus I won't respect them.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 23:26:13 (permalink)
ces1948

I grew up in Tulare, Ca. Born in1948.

That was the year Tulare resident Bob Mathias, age 17, won the decathalon at the Olympics.
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starfire62
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 23:49:27 (permalink)
i actually remember when fast food places had trash cans all around.stopped at wendys other day while wife was having medical test .i ate in car and couldnt find a trash can anywhere.
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totillie
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/09 02:12:40 (permalink)
argh. I mis-spoke. It was definitely on the Merritt, but I can't pinpoint a location. I'm CA now, we have off-ramps. We're talking 50 years ago...50 years. oh my.
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mjambro
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/09 08:37:49 (permalink)
Technically, the Merritt Parkway exists between the NY/CT line (continuation of the Hutchinson River Parkway)  to Stratford (near the Sikorsky plant) where the name changes to the Wilbur Cross Parkway which technically ends at Meriden (all part of rt 15).
 
I don't believe there has ever been food other than basic concessions at the service stations  along either limited access parkway.  South of Hamden, the exits are primarily into very residential areas where there has never been much of any commercial buildup (unlike the CT turnpike).  At Hamden & north, there are many exits that lead into commercial areas off the Wilbur Cross and north of Meriden, Rt 15 becomes commercial (Berlin Turnpike - NOT a limited access road).
 
I'm guessing you may be recalling a McDonalds  that was built in Hamden in 1958 which would have been easy access to the Wilbur Cross section of Rt 15.   Another possibility is the Newington McDonalds (built 1959) which is on the Berlin Turnpike (Rt 5 / 15).  Traveling from Boston - NY, you'd likely have driven that Rt 5/15 stretch from Hartford - Meriden to continue onto the Wilbur Cross / Merritt parkways (prior to the I-91 interstate).   
post edited by mjambro - 2012/12/09 09:35:28
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kozel
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/09 11:06:39 (permalink)
totillie
argh. I mis-spoke. It was definitely on the Merritt, but I can't pinpoint a location. I'm CA now, we have off-ramps. We're talking 50 years ago...50 years. oh my.

I've traveled the Hutchinson River Parkway to the Merritt to the Wilber Cross over the last 55+ years and can't remember an actual fast food franchise on the parkway during this time with the exception of the 1st one on the Hutch in the Bronx. It is now a Dunkin Donut but I seem to recall it being a McDonalds in the recent past (not 50 years ago). 
http://goo.gl/GZF13
Earlier you referred to the g-parents moving 'upstate'. Rarely is upstate referred to as Connecticut but is usually New York. The Bronx River, Sprain Brook and Saw Mill parkways are similar roadways, in New York and may have more 'street crossing' that may have had businesses actually on the route.  On the other hand if Connecticut is where your g-parents lived, the Merritt becomes the Wilber Cross (without much fanfare) after Stratford or Milford CT and after the parkway dissolves beyond Meriden but is still Route 15 it becomes the Berlin Turnpike which had many business along the route. Maybe it is along here your McDonalds was.  If you knew the town your g-parents lived it may help pin it down.
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Ketteract
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 10:17:57 (permalink)
1bbqboy

Does the OP mean FF=chains? Because fast food has been around for quite a while, hasn't it?

My initial focus was, yeah, how the big chains have changed over time - particularly their recipes and menus - but it's also been very interesting to hear about what existed for fast food when those chains hadn't yet spread everywhere.
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Davydd
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 10:49:39 (permalink)
White Castle as fast food has been around all my life-time. The other fast food places were not around until I got in high school. So what was "fast food" before the chains? To me it was the drugstore soda fountain. Just about every drugstore had a counter with stools and many had a few tables with chairs. The food was basic such as hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and cold sandwiches. My go to standard was a grilled pressed ham sandwich on toast.
 
Small counter and stool diners were pretty standard before fast food chains. The drugstores I remember weren't big on breakfast or hamburgers but the diners were. My favorite was a hole in the wall independent greasy spoon place on West Morris Street in Indianapolis where it was just a long narrow counter with stools from front to back and the grill was up at the front window. For 45 cents I could get a hamburger, fries, malt AND a hot Dutch-apple pie. School lunches couldn't beat that deal.
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Tony Bad
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 10:58:54 (permalink)
Woolworth's and Kresge's had lunch counters that I frequented as a kid. Good dogs on grilled top split (what many call New England style) rolls.
 
In NYC there was also Nedick's, a hot dog place also known for their orange drink. I believe they started in the 1920's or 30's.
 
 
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