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

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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 11:17:54 (permalink)
My first stop in New York after getting off the train from New Haven in Grand Central was always the Nedicks stand for a couple of hot dogs off the roller grill and an orange drink.
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Tony Bad
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 12:06:10 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman

My first stop in New York after getting off the train from New Haven in Grand Central was always the Nedicks stand for a couple of hot dogs off the roller grill and an orange drink.

 
As fate would have it, that corner where the big Nedick's was...down by back entrance to tracks 20-21...is now a McDonald's.
 
They probably closed in late 70's or early 80's. Someone bought the brand and reopened a Nedick's counter down in Penn Station, but it wasn't close to original.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 13:25:24 (permalink)
Now that's really sad.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 13:31:37 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman

My first stop in New York after getting off the train from New Haven in Grand Central was always the Nedicks stand for a couple of hot dogs off the roller grill and an orange drink.

 
Hmm - Does Tad's steakhouse count as fast food?  (Quality wise - for sure, and probably speed of service vs. many traditional FF places).  Ate at one near Times Square several times in my early days visiting NYC - left quite an impression. 
 
On a trip last year, I was quite surprised to find that location still in existence, but didn't have the nerve to revisit it after some 40 years. 
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Tony Bad
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 13:49:02 (permalink)
mjambro

Hmm - Does Tad's steakhouse count as fast food?  (Quality wise - for sure, and probably speed of service vs. many traditional FF places).  Ate at one near Times Square several times in my early days visiting NYC - left quite an impression. 


 
Tad's makes me think of Rodney Dangerfield's line from Caddyshack...
 
"Tell the cook this is low-grade dog food…this steak still has marks where the jockey was hittin' it."
 
http://hark.com/clips/hnj...e-jockey-was-hittin-it
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/20 16:29:50 (permalink)
There were only two fast food chains in London, Ontario when I was in elementary school.
 
One was White Horse Carry-Out, which was the local franchisee for Kentucky Fried Chicken. I knew of only one location but there could very well have been one or two more.
 
The other was A & W. London had four of them in the sixties although I'm not sure how long each had been open. On occasion my parents would stop to patronize the one in West London on Springbank Drive. It looked a lot like this one:
 

 
I loved it of course and would get a Teen Burger and a root beer. One time though my father came back from a fishing trip and he and his buddies had evidently stopped at the A & W because he had two of the mugs in his possession. I'm sad to say though that he didn't obtain them properly. He actually bought them. It's been almost fifty years and I still have them.
 
The Chicken Delight on Wharncliffe Road may have been the next to open around 1965. I thought it was very cool, albeit a bit pricey for me at the time. It lasted around fifteen years before closing up and I quite miss the Chicken Delights now because there are none within hundreds of miles.

 
 

 

 
 
post edited by Hepcat - 2012/12/22 14:37:25
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Hepcat
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/20 16:42:08 (permalink)
iluvcfood The A&W Root Beer was a drive up joint where they roller skated to your car with your orders.

I've heard of drive-ins with roller skating waitresses but I thought that this might have been a feature at the odd California drive-in that was romanticized and immortalized in movies. But if even A & W had them, roller skating waitresses must have been a lot more prevalent than I'd previously thought.  I wonder though if that was a phenomenon confined to California? When did roller skating waitresses disappear from the scene then?
 

 
 
 
 
post edited by Hepcat - 2012/12/21 22:28:42
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/20 17:10:27 (permalink)
Our A&W drive-ins here in Michigan had rollerskating waitresses, but not in the winter. It was the only way to get your food, since they had no counter or drive-through. You pulled into a parking space next to a menu and speaker, ordered your food, and it was skated out to you on a tray that mounted on your car door (with the window down).
 
Rollerskating wait staff has not disappeared. Sonic does it.
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MetroplexJim
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/20 18:20:39 (permalink)
Tony Bad

mjambro

Hmm - Does Tad's steakhouse count as fast food?  (Quality wise - for sure, and probably speed of service vs. many traditional FF places).  Ate at one near Times Square several times in my early days visiting NYC - left quite an impression. 



Tad's makes me think of Rodney Dangerfield's line from Caddyshack...

"Tell the cook this is low-grade dog food…this steak still has marks where the jockey was hittin' it."

http://hark.com/clips/hnj...e-jockey-was-hittin-it


I do so miss Rodney; I heard his last interview on Howard Stern a day before the heart operation from which he never woke: 
 
"Afraid?  No!  The worst thing that could happen is that I'll never wake up.  What a way to go!" 
 
And that's the way he went.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/20 18:26:44 (permalink)
Being in a small Texas town, we had the chains, A&W and Dairy Queen. We also had KN Root Beer.
 
The best fast food place was a local merchant, Watson's Drive In.  Watson's is still at its original location today. 
 
Then we got Sonic Drive In and Whataburger.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/20 22:13:07 (permalink)
Hepcat

iluvcfood The A&W Root Beer was a drive up joint where they roller skated to your car with your orders.

I've heard of drive-ins with roller skating waitresses but I thought that this might have been a feature at the odd California drive-in
that was romanticized and immortalized in movies. But if even A & W had them, roller skating waitresses must have been a lot more prevalent than I'd previously thought.  I wonder though if that was a phenomenon confined to California? When did roller skating waitresses disappear from the scene then?







Steak 'n' Shake opened their first location in Normal, IL, about 50 miles east of Peoria, in 1934., the same year I was born.  I can remember Steak 'n' Shake using roller skating waitresses during the summer in the '50s and '60s, even though they have always had a counter if you wanted to go inside.  Generally the counter is used by the older folks, and the kids eat in their cars.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/21 22:34:27 (permalink)
felix4067 Our A&W drive-ins here in Michigan had rollerskating waitresses, but not in the winter. It was the only way to get your food, since they had no counter or drive-through. You pulled into a parking space next to a menu and speaker, ordered your food, and it was skated out to you on a tray that mounted on your car door (with the window down).

I could be wrong but I don't remember the A & W's in London having the speakers in the early sixties.
 
felix4067Rollerskating wait staff has not disappeared. Sonic does it.

Cool! Another reason to look up a Sonic next time I'm in the Detroit or Port Huron area.
 

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Hepcat
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/24 11:46:09 (permalink)
Davydd 

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.

I take it this was in Indianapolis. What years though?
 

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MetroplexJim
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/24 16:24:58 (permalink)
Found this circa 1966 menu for Red Barn.  FYI:  the chicken dinner had 3 pcs. + fries. 
 

post edited by MetroplexJim - 2012/12/24 16:26:19
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/25 13:59:02 (permalink)
Jim, you should send that menu to the producers and writers of the CBS comedy "How I Met Your Mother".  I'm thinking they could get some serious mileage out of "Big Barney".
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/25 14:07:30 (permalink)
In 1965 in San Jose, CA, Kentucky Fried Chicken sold beef hamburgers. They came with lettuce, onions and tomatoes and Thousand Island dressing. They only sold them about a year or two.
 
In the late 1960's Taco Bell sold a loose meat burger on a bun (the loose meat was the same as the taco meat), sprinkled with shredded yellow cheese and topped with a sauce similar to the Mild Border Hot Sauce, called a Bell Burger. Later in the 1980's it returned as the Bell Beefer with more ingredients.
 
In the late 1960's regular McDonalds hamburgers were 15 cents (they once had a sale and sold them for 12 cents). When Big Macs first came out, I think they were 55 cents.
post edited by Antilope - 2012/12/30 20:44:36
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wingmanBBF
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/30 20:20:15 (permalink)
When I was ten the McDonalds on Berlin Turnpike in Newington opened directly on the route from our house to my Grandparents....and I must admit I was instantly hooked.
The ten cent fries were absolutely real...so real that my sense memory of the place includes the constant Whoomp! of the potato guillotine creating more skin-on shoe string fries.
The burgers, though probably the same as what I now consider unthinkable, were rapturous...to the extent that I started hoping, praying and lobbying that we would stop on the way home, before we were even in the car to leave the house.
Security became a reluctant nod from my dad...reluctant because he hated that it ws mostly "Hoods" that hung out in the parking lot...It asn't until much laterthat I discovered he had been a hood himself.
When I was allowed to stay home from these frequent visits (older sister), I was an emotional wreck until I heard the crinkle of paper bag as they came through the door. The strutting wink of that ungodly burger head is etched forever in my memory as the only thing on my mind more often than I care to admit.
But then, like every ten year old today, I didn't know or care that the proliferation of McDonalds meant the end of too many mom and pop dog stands, soda shops, and burger spots, childhood obesity beyond measure...the end of pride in product and pleasure in a summer or after-school job...and the beginning of so much bad and end of so much good....but, when I was ten, Mcdonalds was crack, pot, heroin, video games, tv and porn all rolled up in a paper wrapper...and it owned me...
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/30 20:33:46 (permalink)
wingmanBBF, that's a terrific post.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/30 20:52:47 (permalink)
Our local Sonic in So Indiana has roller-skating car hops...but only in good weather.
I agree with Michael in his comment on Wingman's Post...read that while watching the scenes at the drive-in  in the movie "American Graffiti" and you will really touch a historical nerve for us 50's kids.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/30 21:09:48 (permalink)
wingmanBBF

When I was ten the McDonalds on Berlin Turnpike in Newington opened directly on the route from our house to my Grandparents....and I must admit I was instantly hooked.
The ten cent fries were absolutely real...so real that my sense memory of the place includes the constant Whoomp! of the potato guillotine creating more skin-on shoe string fries.
The burgers, though probably the same as what I now consider unthinkable, were rapturous...to the extent that I started hoping, praying and lobbying that we would stop on the way home, before we were even in the car to leave the house.
Security became a reluctant nod from my dad...reluctant because he hated that it ws mostly "Hoods" that hung out in the parking lot...It asn't until much laterthat I discovered he had been a hood himself.
When I was allowed to stay home from these frequent visits (older sister), I was an emotional wreck until I heard the crinkle of paper bag as they came through the door. The strutting wink of that ungodly burger head is etched forever in my memory as the only thing on my mind more often than I care to admit.
But then, like every ten year old today, I didn't know or care that the proliferation of McDonalds meant the end of too many mom and pop dog stands, soda shops, and burger spots, childhood obesity beyond measure...the end of pride in product and pleasure in a summer or after-school job...and the beginning of so much bad and end of so much good....but, when I was ten, Mcdonalds was crack, pot, heroin, video games, tv and porn all rolled up in a paper wrapper...and it owned me...

Do you write for a living? Tight man, tight. RL
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wingmanBBF
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/01 15:00:34 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman

wingmanBBF, that's a terrific post.


WOW! Michael Hoffman, Mayor Al, RF Legends and Scrumptious Chef...Thank you so very much for your encouragment. As to your question...not a professional writer...just the son of a latin teacher/grammar nazi who would return my letters from college with corrections...curse for a child...blessing for an adult.
It's so refreshing to be on a board with Big Guns who encourage, rather than haze and bully, neophytes like myself.
It actually makes me want to share more of my personal, though very limited, knowledge of road food.
In fact, it may even prompt me one day to reveal my deepest secret....Teressa Bellisimo's actual, orignal recipe and the strange way it came to fall into my greasy fingers.....
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mar52
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/01 16:06:31 (permalink)
wingmanBBF, now you have me interested.
 
Welcome and Happy New Year!
 
Scot's was my introduction to fast food.  Well in reality it was McFarland's which soon became Scot's.  We'd stop there three times a week after swimming lessons when we were young. We were not the driver.
 
Outdoor wooden picnic tables with pigeons looming overhead.
 
Scot's had the McDonald's feel, but we didn't get McDonald's until a few years later.
 
Scot's went the way of land being more important than the occupant, but if it were in existence today I'd still be eating fish sticks out of a paper basket along with a chocolate maltedThe only difference is I wouldn't have to be sharing it with my brother.  I would share with a pigeon once in awhile.
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bartl
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/02 21:05:43 (permalink)
I recall when a White Castle opened up across the street from my elementary school in the early 1960's, my older brother came home one day and mentioned he had eaten there. When my parents asked what he had, he said, "5 hamburgers." My mother practically screamed out, "YOU ATE 5 HAMBURGERS????" thinking of them as regular size burgers. It took several minutes for my brother and I to calm her down by explaining to her the size of the burgers.
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/03 15:31:24 (permalink)
wingmanBBF But then, like every ten year old today, I didn't know or care that the proliferation of McDonalds meant the end of too many mom and pop dog stands, soda shops, and burger spots, childhood obesity beyond measure...the end of pride in product and pleasure in a summer or after-school job...and the beginning of so much bad and end of so much good....

 
Not only well written but very true as well.
 
wingmanBBFIt's so refreshing to be on a board with Big Guns who encourage, rather than haze and bully, neophytes like myself.

 
But we can do the latter as well if you step out of line.
 
 


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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/07 23:41:06 (permalink)
I'm 39, but have been a foodie for at least 35 years, so here goes.
McDonald's has always tasted the same. The only thing that changes is the price inversely to the size of the burgers. Simple McD cheeseburger is still one of my life's thrill. I loved McPizza for the short while it was around.
 
Harvey's burgers have remain unchanged. High in soy but the best around. Buns have changed over the years, fries changed a couple of times. They used to serve deep fried okra and briefly teamed with Church's Chicken in the 90's. One downtown from here was next to a Swiss Chalet and would deliver orders over fifteen dollars. Best. Pickles. Ever.
 
A&W: Made a huge comeback in my hometown of Hamilton this year. Still great stuff, but I remember the Teen Burger having real bacon, not precooked, it was a lot greasier and saltier than it is now. The onions were diced back then, instead of the thick slices they put on now.
 
Taco Bell: I was at the grand opening in town in '81. I was vegetarian to boot, the irony was delicious. The tortillas used to be real and flour like, not the rubber dental dam they wrap with now. Meat was greasier, more mysterious, but otherwise the same. Saucy bean burrito and taco bellgrande are the dinosaur ghosts of my childhood (started eating meat in '82). No drink refills, sauces were in cup packets, not squeeze packets, no late night drive thru. And they served red/white wine and beer up until 1989.
 
Wendy's: same quality unchanged. Hate the Baconator, miss the salad bar.
 
 
#85
gostillerz
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/09 22:28:15 (permalink)
You're up in the Hammer? I went there a few years ago to hang out with a few Xbox buddies I play hockey with. We stayed at the City Motor one night. We just went through a few cases of Lakeport and Macklay's watching cops arrest druggies every few hours...good times! It was a complete dump, but it had to have been an awesome motel when it was first built.

I still can't get over that Taco Hell serves fries there.
post edited by gostillerz - 2013/01/09 22:31:56
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Sonny Funzio
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/10 22:15:28 (permalink)
Around 1971  I had a passion for hitting two food stands together whenever I was nearby ... Hot Sam and Orange Julius at the Tel-12 mall in Southfield Michigan. 
On a hot summer day, getting in out of the heat and having a big, cold Orange Julius drink and a couple Hot Sam's pretzels with mustard was like goin to heaven.
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ann peeples
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/11 07:43:51 (permalink)
My goodness, Sonny, i remember those places well!
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seafarer john
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/11 10:42:24 (permalink)
Where I grew up, in Poughkeepsie, NY, in the era stretching from about 1939 to 1950, there was lots of fast food - altough we never thought of it in that exact term.
 
Every saloon had a free lunch on the bar - wursts, salads, boiled eggs, pickled eggs, pickles, cold meats, roll mops, bread, pretzels, clams, oysters, and much more. Not every saloon had all of the items listed above - the choice in any given place  was usually quite limited by ethnicity, season, or just the whim of the saloonkeeper. This was really fast food - men (very very few women) would rush in, chug down a shot and a beer , grab some free lunch and rush out again. When I was about 12 years old my father started to occasionally take me to a bar and I'd load up with whatever was available while he gabbed with his friends, placed a bet on the horses, and had a beer. I can't say children were especially welcomed but they were tolerated  if they behaved.
 
We also had several diners and lunchrooms where you could get a quick meal (take-out was available in some places, but not commonly used).  The quickest meals were things like a bowl of stew or soup, a cold sandwich, a hot open-face sandwich or  a slice of cake or pie. Unless we had to wait in line they could always get us in and out in 10 minutes or less-  how fast do you want? 
 
And, of course, there were food carts and trucks serving hot dogs and hamburgers and cold sodas and such. It seemed like any event that could draw fifty people would be sufficient to bring out the carts and trucks. 
 
The only specifically fast food place I remember was the White Castle on Main Street. As I remember they only served those little square hamburgers and french fries - nothing else on the menu - and they were very fast.
 
Pizza (apizza in those days) was not considered fast food. Alloys ( dating from 1928 and still in business and still very good) was the only pizza joint I was aware of until about 1950 when the whole pizza craze really started to boom. At Alloys we ordered our pizza (a square pie), sat at the bar or a table and waited about 15 minutes while the pie was freshly prepared. ( I think we could usually get a slice of pizza served immediately at room temperature - I guess that's about  as fast as fast food gets.)
 
Every grocery store (we did have two or three  proto-supermarkets) had a display of little pies  and such - wrapped in wax paper.  They were a popular source of a quick snack.
Cheers, John 
#89
Michael Hoffman
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Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2013/01/11 10:52:54 (permalink)
Boy did that release a flood of memories.
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