Mammoth Orange Drive‐Ins

Mammoth Orange Drive‐Ins

Orange shaped-and-colored refreshment stands used to be numerous along the highways of California, New Mexico, and Arizona. During the 20s and 30s, they provided the perfect outlet to utilize fallen fruit and sell it in the form of juice. Later, when oranges became synonymous with these regions, tourists were compelled to sample the best local fruit groves had to offer. You see—more than a half a century ago, soda pop was reserved for special occasions. Back then, freshly squeezed orange juice was the real thing and people didn’t mind stopping on the side…continue reading →
From Fish Brine to Ketchup

From Fish Brine to Ketchup

Ahhh ... that tangy, thick, and sticky condiment known as ketchup—where would American road food be without it? Certainly, drive-ins, diners, coffee shops, and in many cases—fine restaurants—wouldn't be the same. Burgers would be bland, fries embarrassed by their nakedness, and hot dogs robbed of their bite. In a world devoid of ...
History of the American Diner

History of the American Diner

What do McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Denny's, Arby's, Roy Rogers, Taco Bell, Jack-in-the-Box, and Kentucky Fried Chicken have in common? All have their distant origins in the diner, that unsung institution of roadside America that began over one-hundred years ago, decades before there were automobiles, drive-thru ...
Birthplace of the Hamburger

Birthplace of the Hamburger

Sure, history books tell of the Tartar's fondness for raw meat and how sailors from Germany loved to order Hamburg Style Steak upon their arrival in the New World. The real question is: Who created America's first all-beef patty, ancestral prototype of today's Quarter Pounder, Big Mac, and Whopper? Pinpointing the origination of the hamburger ...
The Texas Pig Stands Drive‐In

The Texas Pig Stands Drive‐In

"People in their cars are so lazy that they don't want to get out of them to eat!" The proclamation still rings as true today as it did when candy and tobacco magnate Jessie G. Kirby first uttered the words in 1921. At the time, he was trying to interest Rueben W. Jackson, a Dallas, Texas physician to invest in a new idea for a roadside restaurant ...
Bob Wian’s Big Boy Burger

Bob Wian’s Big Boy Burger

Robert Wian learned the restaurant business the hard way. When his father’s furniture business faltered during the early thirties, he took a job washing dishes at the White Log Tavern to help out. Although fresh from high-school, it didn't take long for him to become the manager. His experience was soon rolled over into a better job at the Rite Spot, a Glendale eatery favored by Angelinos. There, he learned all the rules of the eating-out game—realizing he had a growing desire to become his own boss. When two elderly ladies considered selling…continue reading →