8 fast food chains you wish you could eat at again
Your mouth will water while remembering these now-defunct hamburger restaurants.
Craving a burger? Chances are, there's a McDonald's right down the street. Fast food is an American tradition that brings up memories of drive-thrus and good times. But for every Burger King, there's a Burger Chef that is long gone. While you can't go to these eight fast food chains anymore, their memories live on in our hearts and taste buds.
With the popularity of McDonald's in the 1950s, Burger Chef sprung up around the country in the 1960s. The chain was so popular, in 1972 there were 1,200 outlets across the country — second only to McDonalds. But the rapid expansion proved to be the downfall of the chain, which was eventually sold to Hardee's. Burger Chef leaves behind a big legacy with its Fun Meal, the first ever kid's meal to include a plastic toy.
Image credit: Burger Chef Memories
Before the recent health craze took over, there was D'Lites. The Georgia-based fast food chain sold tasty food that focused on health and nutrition. D'Lites had a brief run in the late-'70s and '80s, but it managed to franchise over 100 locations around the country. The chain's downfall came when McDonald's and Burger King started to offer healthier menu options.
Image credit: Flickr
In the mid-'50s, Bresler's Ice Cream Company decided to jump on the growing fast food action by opening Henry's Hamburgers. By the early '60s, people could get "ten burgers for a buck" at over 200 restaurants around the countries. The success of other chains led to Henry's Hamburgers' decline in the '70s, but it didn't disappear completely. There's one location still open in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Image credit: Ames Historical Society
"When the hungries hit, hit the Red Barn." That's exactly what customers did for more than two decades. The fast food chain, founded in 1961, served up "Big Barneys" and "Barnbusters" in 19 states. By the '80s, Red Barn's parent company was bought out by Motel 6, and the chain eventually went defunct.
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The four founders of Sandy's originally operated some of the earliest McDonald's franchises. But when they couldn't open a location in Peoria, Illinois, they decided to start their own business. The Scottish-themed Sandy's opened in 1956, expanding on what McDonald's had done. In the early 70s, Sandy's merged with Hardee's, and the brand all but disappeared later in the decade.
Image credit: Come As You Are... Hungry!
When Wetson's opened in 1959, it was the McDonald's of New York, complete with 15-cent burgers and two clowns for mascots. The reign of Wetson's was short, however. When McDonald's and Burger King came to New York City in the 1970s, Wetson struggled to keep up and the chain went defunct in 1975. Recently there's been talk about a revival, but so far nothing has come to fruition.
Image credit: Long Island 70's Kid
White Tower Hamburgers
Often deemed an imitation of White Castle, White Tower Hamburgers first opened in Milwaukee in 1926. At its peak, White Tower had over 200 locations across the eastern half of the United States. But with the migration of people to the suburbs, many locations no longer served a purpose. The franchise slowly declined, and today White Tower Hamburgers has one location left in Toledo, Ohio.
Inspired by the hamburger-loving Popeye's character of the same name, Wimpy's opened its doors in the 1930s and steadily grew across the Midwest until the 1950s. In the 1970s, Wimpy's all but ceased to exist in the United States when the founder died and no one purchased the rights to the Wimpy name. Surprisingly enough, the chain is still big in the U.K. and South Africa.