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

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Ketteract
Cheeseburger
2012/12/06 09:24:05
Pizza Hut served up its first slice in 1958, Little Caesar's opened in 1959, Burger King's Whopper came out in 1957, McDonald's switched from barbecue to hamburgers in 1948, Arby's started up in 1964, the first Taco Bell appeared in 1962, KFC materialized in 1950, Hardee's in 1960, Carl's Jr. in 1956, and on, and on...

I've always been curious about what those original fast food products were like - or, at least, what they were like only 10-20 years out. 

I've heard tell of Pizza Hut's recipe having been completely different when they were all sit-down restaurants; of Arby's having once carved its sandwiches to order off real steamship rounds of beef; of Taco Bell's standard ground beef having been something other than the economical paste it is today.

So I invite anyone who's been around long enough to experience that stuff to tell their stories!  Would love to hear!
ChrisOC
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 11:13:25
  I remember my first visit to McDonald's.  I guess it was in the 60's.  We drove up to a small building that looked like a custard stand.  You walked up to a window and got your burgers and fries in a red plasic basket.  You carried your food back to the car to eat.  I believe the burgers were 15 cents.
  I do remember  Arby's carving a big roast at the counter.
  I also remember when every burger chain had a salad bar.  Roy Rogers was the best, until Wendy's came up with the superbar.
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 11:14:10
I can just hear the hum of all the Commodore 64s and TRS-80s firing up to respond to this question...
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 12:35:24
Well, back when I was just a younger fast food was cutting off a slice of passing brontosaurus and chewing while running for your life.
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 13:16:42
As a young girl, there were few fast food places, although they were showing up. My parents loved going to one of a kind places, thus my Roadfood introduction. I rememeber Dad's first taste of McDonalds ......we were on our way to the east coast.he took one bite of their cheeseburgers and flung it out the car window( 67 chevy impala) He hated McDonalds. Yet Moms's last meal( she died 12 hours later) at her request, was a cheeseburger and chocolate shake from there. She couldnt eat, but thats what she wanted.Dads last request was a martini. Gin, of course.
Pigiron
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 13:40:46
The first time I had McDonalds (around 1970) and the last time (at least 15 years ago) it tasted exactly the same...which I always thought was the whole idea of fast food.  
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 15:01:09
I refuse to answer.
iluvcfood
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 15:42:22
I grew up in a very small town in the country and the fast food places were not chains but were locally owned!  Capn. Yobeys, 2 Clowns etc were just a couple of the local places.
We didnt have any Wendy's, Carls Jr. Pizza Hut , Taco Bell etc. The only 2 major chains we had were McDonalds and A&W root beer.  The A&W Root Beer was a drive up joint where they roller skated to your car with your orders.
The McDonalds burgers were .19 at the time and the burger was the size of a Silver dollar stuffed inside of a huge gigantic stale bun!  In those days it was legal to keep all the un-sold burgers and fries and re-heat them and sell them the next day!  
The only pizza place we had was called Pietro's pizza and it was Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy  across the bridge in the other town.  It was a ROYAL treat in those days when we got Pizza.
 
MilwFoodlovers
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 15:49:26
I used to go to McDonalds and buy their 12 cent french fries; head across Appleton Ave and buy a good  local hamburger and a chocolate malt. I always hated shakes, still can't understand any appeal. I never much ate chain food even then except for a special order burger at Red Barn, which tasted much better when fresh, and making a "whopper" at Burger Chef. I've gotten sick after eating 3 of the 4 real Whoppers I've eaten in my life so to me they always were bad. I recall Mahalia Jackson's chicken as much better than Kentucky Fried Chicken but a local place called Sehmers made broasted chicken that beat everyone. I've never had a chain pizza that got a second visit from me. Now I won't even try any. I thought Arby's tasted like bad wedding beef when it was fresh cut beef and now imho whatever it is in the bun is possibly better than back in the day.
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 16:03:17
Hey Ketteract, since you're a KC'er, you might be interested to know that the 2nd Pizza Hut ever was on Mission Road at County Line, on the SW corner next to a Laundromat, just into Roeland Park. 
Kittycornered from what is now OK Joe's, but was then Logan Moore Lumber. It was pretty cool in 1960 to have FF pizza just a few blocks away.
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 16:03:17
Hey Ketteract, since you're a KC'er, you might be interested to know that the 2nd Pizza Hut ever was on Mission Road at County Line, on the SW corner next to a Laundromat, just into Roeland Park. 
Kittycornered from what is now OK Joe's, but was then Logan Moore Lumber. It was pretty cool in 1960 to have FF pizza just a few blocks away.
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 16:15:58
 
Well, not an old-timer, but a "middle-timer's" perspective .....
 
I probably remember eating at McDonald's as early as the early 1970s.  The closest McDonald's at that time was up in Warwick, RI, which was 2 towns north of where I grew up in No. Kingstown, RI.  It was the old style type with the actual yellow ("golden") arches as part of the building's structue.   From what I can tell, the burgers themselves have not changed much since then.  The big change is the fries.  They used to be fried in beef tallow, and they were really good.   Of course, now they are fried in veg oil, and not as good as they once were. 
 
KFC seems awful now.  I have no idea what they did to their recipe, but they were at least edible 30+ years ago.  
 
A BK came to town in the mid or late 70s.  As with McDonald's, the burgers seem similar over time, but they screwed up the fries, going to those awful things with the coating on them some time in the early or mid 90s. 
 
We didn't go to Arby's.  None were around, as far as I know.  What we did have was a local RI roast beef chain called "Walt's Roast Beef".   For a fast food type roast beef, that place was and still is really good!   RI has about 5 locations of Walt's Roast Beef.    
 
There was a Burger Chef that we occaisionally enjoyed.   Of course, they have gone under, so there is no modern version to compare to.  The big plus at Burger Chef was that it had a "fixins bar", where you could add as much or as little onion, lettuce, etc. that you like.
 
Wendy's came to the area a couple towns away around the late 70s.   They seemed to stay consistent up until about a few years ago when they started going downhill.  
 
I haven't been to Roy Rogers in a few years,  but at least up until then, they still sliced real roast beef for the sandwiches.   I assume they still do this?       
 
 
Glenn
 
  
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 17:22:46
A "Mighty Mo"  at Hot Shoppes in DC, Marriott srarted as a Root Beer stand, built, Hot Shoppes, curb service, and a Mighty Mo was a must, ahhh, the smell when the tray of food was attached to your window, great memories. Hot Shoppes are no more, I'm pretty sure there is a Marriott or two, still around!
Cosmos
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 17:29:09
I don't hold any reveries about fast food back then ('60's) any more than I cherish the thought of dining in any corporate food vendor now.
 
We had a Carrolls in town before Mickey D blew in...In fact we had 2 Carrolls in town before Mickey showed up. A burger and fries was essentially the same as a kids meal today. It was considered a treat to take the kids out for a burger and fries. We never considered it as real food. My mom was a very capable cook and really the only reason to go to one of those joints was for french fries because we could and still can make waaaayy better burgers at home than any fast food joint.
 
iluvcfood
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 18:58:04
McDonalds used to be famous for their fries and were the absolute best but no longer!  I cant stand them and refuse to order them.
Same thing goes for KFC.........  they too used to be the best but not anymore! Every time as of late (which is rare) whenever we get KFC the Chicken is pink in the middle and the crust just isnt what it used to be!  Believe it or not.......to me the BEST fried chicken you can buy now comes from the Albertsons Deli!  
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/06 19:30:00
In the early to mod '50's we often spent our weekends working on a cabin on the high desert in what is now Apple Valley, CA. we would drive (I was 10-12 yr old then) from the South Bay area thru Pomona to Rt 66 in San Berdoo then over Cajon to the Desert.  Our one food stop was on Holt Ave in Pomona at "MEL'S Burger Stand". Burgers were 15 cents, FF a dime, drinks a dime also. Add 2 cents for cheese on your Burger.  This was about the same time that McDonalds was making a name for itself  in that area.  The foodstand was still in operation last time I passed by a few years ago...Viet-Mex menu on the sign.
 
A couple of other memories... When I returned from the military in 1963 I worked in Lawrence MA while starting college in nearby Salem. At the McDonalds there I tried to get a Burger on a Friday evening, and the server/cashier had to ask a 'leader' to get it for me, as she would only handle Fish Sandwiches...it seems the Fish on Friday thing was a really big deal to those folks.
I didn't see home-delivery of KFC until I got to Indiana in 1978, but Gino's, who had the market name for KFC in the eastern USA did a good job with it.
 
I think the earliest FF chain stand I remember was an A&W Root Beer Stand that sold Burgers and Tacos (early 1950's)...on Redondo Beach Blvd across from El Camino College.
totillie
Hamburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 02:14:55
Mayor? McD's in Salem? I do not recall it.  Or was it across the bridge in Beverly? That was our first McD's. Arches and all. Order at the 'roomy' window, eat in the car. My poor dad, who commuted from Boston and then had to eat in the car.
 
But it was new to us, and oh, those fries. When we used to visit the Grands in NYC, we kids clamored for McD's on the Merritt Parkway. Laughing, our last M. visit was three years ago in the middle of nowhere because there wasn't anything else to eat. Except for a Burger King. ewwww
 
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 02:44:38
McDonald's on the Merritt?
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 02:49:56
Totillie,
The McDonalds was in Lawrence, close to North Andover,  I don't remember the exact location. I worked at Malden Mills that first spring before starting college.
 
 I was hooked on McIntyres Fried Clams and Onion Rings on U S 1 in Rowley (now gone). We lived in Georgetown during my college years ('63-'68) and I worked nights either at the Post Office in Haverhill, or the HoJo's on I-95. That seems like a very long time ago.
6star
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 09:25:03
Well, after all Al, it was about 50 years ago!
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 09:28:03
We didn't have any FF places in the town I grew up in circa 1960's but we did have a drug store lunch counter and a news stand lunch counter further down the street. There was also a bar/liquor store/restaurant that we would go to on Friday or Saturday for shrimp dinners or pizza. Whenever our parents let us go to the local "big city" of Elgin we'd always go to lunch counters or the restaurant in the bowling alley. Everything was mom & pop places back then.
ChrisOC
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 09:48:13
chewingthefat

A "Mighty Mo"  at Hot Shoppes in DC, Marriott srarted as a Root Beer stand, built, Hot Shoppes, curb service, and a Mighty Mo was a must, ahhh, the smell when the tray of food was attached to your window, great memories. Hot Shoppes are no more, I'm pretty sure there is a Marriott or two, still around!


Mighty Mo or the Teen Twist washed down with an Orange Freeze.  Boy, does that bring back memories of my teenage years in the late 50's!
We would have a full car load and ask the person on the intercom to send our order out with #27, our favorite waitress
post edited by ChrisOC - 2012/12/07 10:31:31
jaylhorner
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 09:57:39
White Castle
 
Carrolls
mjambro
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 10:06:18
In the late 50-s - mid 60's:
 
For a start, the fries were always (or most places, from what I recall) fresh cut and were typically twice fried in a solid shortening product (lard?).  Unlike today's fries, they were VERY tasty / enjoyable, albeit probably not all that healthy.  (Then again, is there anything healthy about today's fries?  or enjoyable for that matter?) Most orders were for an equal number of small fries & burgers - no large items other than soft drinks & coffee (12 & 16 oz).  People were a LOT THINNER back then.
 
A second biggest difference was that there were no breakfast items and supper time was the primary busy time.  Today, it seems lunch time is the most popular.  Evening lines were MUCH longer.  I recall still my first night working fast food (Howdy Beefburgers - owned by Dunkin Donuts) where all I did was pour soft drinks constantly for two hours - it was that busy.  It would not be uncommon to have four lines, 20-30 customers deep on each on Friday & Saturday nights.  It was equally busy for the fry man & two on the grill - constant use of two cooking fryers (plus two blanching fryers) & the grill.  Since the fries could not be cut up fast enough, they would start blanching inventory in the afternoon and building an inventory of baskets in a walk-in refrigerator to help with the evening rush.  Business seemed to be essentially non stop from about 5:30 - 8:00.
 
A third big difference was in the help.  Most, if not all, were college males - few, if any females and few, if any trying to make a living there.  Pay was minimum wage (almost all part time) where the manager would get 10-20 cents / hr premium.  The math was done primarily in one's head (no help from the cash register, although there were pads of paper available, but rarely used). Of course, the math was not all that hard since there were no combos, burgers were 15 cents, fries 10 cents and drinks either 10 or 15 cents with few other items.  Typical staffing was two on the grill, one to wrap the burgers, one on fries with another cutting, rinsing & blanching fries, one on soft drinks, one on shakes (when busy) and two - four on the windows plus a manager who would fill in where needed..
 
Cheeseburgers and shakes messed up the easy math a bit being 18 cents and 20 cents, respectively.  Trick was to add in 10 and 15 cent denominations and at the end, adjust for the odd cent items although cheeseburgers tended not to be too popular back then.  The orders were typically matching numbers of fries, drinks & burgers, i.e four burgers = 60 cents, plus four fries = $1 and four 10 cent drinks (large drink orders tended to be uncommon) = $1.40 cents plus tax off a chart (adding in each cheeseburger, 3 cent premium just before the tax) . Requests for special orders were rare - perhaps a few / night such as fries without salt or a burger without mustard, etc.. 
 
Coke was still the most popular soft drink, but root beer was perhaps 1/3 of the sales.  Uncarbonated orange was also available.  Shakes would sell about 5 chocolate to three strawberry to one coffee.  Coffee was available, but not all that popular of an item (Dunkin Donut coffee, but not labeled at the Howdy's where I worked). 
 
A fourth difference was that there was no in-door seating.  Most ate in their cars or at a few outside tables.  Customers typically just tossed their trash out the car window.  Birds loved it, local residents hated it.  At closing, we'd sweep the lot of the papers - typically covering most of the pavement. 
 
All in all, I wonder how FF places make it today considering the short lines, cost of seating and higher number of employees preparing all the specialized items.  Of course, a typical customer did get a meal for 35 cents ( no tax unless the order exceed $1.00 in CT). 
 
Favorite FF place (of all time) - that's easy - It's clearly Burger Chef with Howdy's being a far second.  It would be a challenge to name a 3rd position - way back in line.    For quality of food (excluding their FoF), last place clearly would go to McDonalds with Burger King a close second (to last).
post edited by mjambro - 2012/12/07 12:23:41
FriedClamFanatic
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 10:31:18
Growing up on Cape Cod (Falmouth) in the late 50's and 60's, there were no true FF in town.  There was a great Hamburger joint that sold smallish burgers, almost sliders, at 25 cents each or 5 for a buck.
 
I remember when a local guy from Hyannis wanted to put a Kemps Burger (19 cents I think) in town.  The town fought him tooth and nail....and even though he offered to make the place look "colonial" with hidden parking. Poor guy was about 5 years ahead of himself. In the late 60's, the first Friendly's came and the rest followed on later.
 
With some great Mom & Pop takeouts, we locals never seemed to need the FF businesses....at least at first.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 10:42:57
The ad in my 1962 high school year book. One of my classmate's parents owned the first Burger Chef franchise in Indianapolis.

Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 12:55:42
ChrisOC

chewingthefat

A "Mighty Mo"  at Hot Shoppes in DC, Marriott srarted as a Root Beer stand, built, Hot Shoppes, curb service, and a Mighty Mo was a must, ahhh, the smell when the tray of food was attached to your window, great memories. Hot Shoppes are no more, I'm pretty sure there is a Marriott or two, still around!


Mighty Mo or the Teen Twist washed down with an Orange Freeze.  Boy, does that bring back memories of my teenage years in the late 50's!
We would have a full car load and ask the person on the intercom to send our order out with #27, our favorite waitress

It was easy to get a Brain freeze dringing an Orange Freeze to fast, boy they were great! Bill Marriott Jr. was a waiter at the Connecticut Ave. Hot Shoppes, talk about learning the biz from the bottom up!

ChrisOC
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 15:13:06
iluvcfood

Believe it or not.......to me the BEST fried chicken you can buy now comes from the Albertsons Deli!  


That is interesting.   Some of the best fried chicken in the Ocean City area comes from the deli at Acme (which is Albertson's)
Hepcat
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 15:36:26
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 for long or very widespread.
 


post edited by Hepcat - 2012/12/07 19:49:02
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 15:57:36
Never saw a salad bar at a McDonalds.
rumaki
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 16:14:14
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.  
BelleReve
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 17:37:15
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.
felix4067
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/07 19:10:11
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.
totillie
Hamburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 01:57:19
Mr. Mayor, I remember McIntyres. Good, good, good clams. And rings. Sad that is is gone.
 
totillie
Hamburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 02:03:13
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 ...
ChrisOC
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 09:00:50
mayor al

Never saw a salad bar at a McDonalds.

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

kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 10:51:52
Wendy's had a pretty decent salad bar in the 90's.
Cosmos
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 11:15:45
......The 90's are the 'old days'?
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 11:48:37
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.


MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 12:18:56
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.
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:04:15
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
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:08:07
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
kozel
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:29:58
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
 
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 14:39:42
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.
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 15:03:47
Does the OP mean FF=chains? Because fast food has been around for quite a while, hasn't it?
Root-Beer Man
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 15:58:00
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.
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 16:24:31
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! 
Cosmos
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 17:05:08
I figured, I was kidding, but yes to some the 90's is the old days...just makes me feel even older...
mjambro
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 18:02:26
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.....
plb
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 20:29:09
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.
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 22:32:37
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.  
lynndunham
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 22:48:58
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.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 23:26:13
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.
starfire62
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/08 23:49:27
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.
totillie
Hamburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/09 02:12:40
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.
mjambro
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/09 08:37:49
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
kozel
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/09 11:06:39
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.
Ketteract
Cheeseburger
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 10:17:57
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.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 10:49:39
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.
Tony Bad
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Oldtimers: What was fast food once like? Do tell! 2012/12/10 10:58:54
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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