Showing posts with label Fast Food of YesterYear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fast Food of YesterYear. Show all posts

Foods of YesterYear: Carvel Ice Cream

Monday, June 13, 2022

Believe it or not, Memorial Day has already come and gone.  So, what better way to launch the YesterYear Summer of '22 than with a story about ice cream?  After all, who doesn't love ice cream on a hot summer evening?  Or, you know... all year long?

Some of you may be reading this not knowing what Carvel is.  A mostly East Coast brand, Carvel is heavily concentrated in the North Eastern United States.  The company is the original soft serve ice cream brand in America and markets itself as "America's Freshest Ice Cream." 


Carvel ice cream is one of our favorite treats in my house.  Carvel will, at times, get dropped off via a food delivery service once the little one is in bed so my wife and I can enjoy a night of television or a movie.  (Isn't modern technology great?) 

Growing up north of New York City, we had a Carvel in town.  If I remember right, my Grandfather always preferred Carvel over the local Ma and Pa establishment everyone else preferred.  He really liked the crushed bits of chocolate cookie called "crunchies" between the layers of ice cream.  More than a few times, old Gramps famously wrote letters to Carvel complaining about the inconsistency of his beloved crunchies.  He was rewarded for his efforts of taking the time to handwrite a letter with coupons for free cakes.  Not a bad return on his efforts, if you ask me. 

As we kick off the summer of 2022 and increase our ice cream intake, what better way to kick off the season than to look back at the history of the iconic ice cream franchise!

Restaurants of YesterYear: The Ponderosa and Bonanza Steak House

Monday, July 27, 2020

After the first airline I flew for went out of business, I found myself flying for US Airways Express.  We flew Saab 340 aircraft around the northeastern United States, and one of the overnights we made at the airline was in Plattsburgh, New York.  As lame as a Plattsburgh overnight may sound, it was highly sought after by us pilots.  My brother lives close by, so I always enjoyed getting to see him for a few hours while being paid to be there!

But for everyone else, it was highly sought after because most of the places we stayed in were some run down off-brand motel like the Presque Isle Inn (Presque Isle, Maine) Martha's Vineyard Campground (CAMPGROUND!) or the Beckley Motor Inn (Beckley, WV.)  By the way, Presque Isle is not an island.  It's as far north in Maine as you can go, and you can drive south and still hit Canada.

In Plattsburgh, however, we stayed in a brand new Hampton Inn on the main drag.  There was an Applebees, a few sports bars, some shopping... and directly next door was a Ponderosa buffet.

I mean, who doesn't love a buffet?

The Captain I flew with frequently at the time, Matt, would always say "See you in 5 minutes" during check-in, and that would be code for I'll be at the Ponderosa as soon as I can take off my uniform and run across the parking lot.

So here for the latest installment of "Retro Restaurants," we'll take a deeper dive into The Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse buffets!  You can't tell The Ponderosa Steakhouse story, however, without mentioning it's sister, The Bonanza Steakhouse.  The two restaurants started separately with similar themes and menus but eventually became one and the same.

Fast Food of YesterYear: Roy Rogers

Monday, May 11, 2020

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I grew up next door to my Grandparents.  When I was very young, we would have weekly Sunday dinners at their house after coming home from church.  It was a late lunch really, but my Grandma would always roast a turkey, beef, or ham in the oven while we were at church and come home and make all of the side dishes.  While I was little, I really enjoyed these meals as the family would get together, and, as the youngest, the attention would mostly be focused on me!  Plus, Grandma would always make me my own special dessert because she knew I didn't like the "pun'kin" pie she would often make!  She'd whip up a chocolate pudding pie in a Keebler mini graham cracker crust, and it would be all mine.

As we grew, my brother and I started playing ice hockey, and we'd spend more and more of our Sunday afternoons at the ice rink instead of home.  Eventually, the formal Sunday dinners went by the wayside.  Now that I'm older, I can see how having forced family time with people you spent all morning with at church could get old fast.  We'd spend all morning at church, come home and wait in Granny's living room for dinner to be ready.  Then, we'd have to stall while we waited for my one Uncle who is late to everything.  Honestly, we told him lunch was at 1 just so we could eat before 2.

The 3-course meal would then, of course, be followed by the move BACK to the living room where everyone would talk before drifting away to whatever hours of daylight were left.  It was all delightful 1950s Andy Griffith meets the Walton's... but it was very time-consuming.

Don't get me wrong, that side of my family is pretty WASPY, but I'm quite proud of it.  My ancestors arrived in the 1600s, so folksy Americana tradition is ingrained in the family.  By the 1990s, though, like most of the country, my family didn't have much time for tradition.  When those Sunday dinners ended, one of the side effects caused one of the real true joys of my childhood... visiting Roy Rogers for lunch after church!  Instead of heading home or to the ice rink, we began stopping at Roy's once or twice a month, and my brother and I just loved it there.

I think the french fries at Roy's are my favorite fast-food french fries of all time.  They were always hot, crispy, and loaded with salt.  The burger bun was thick that wonderfully blended freshness with staleness.  To this day, the Fixin's Bar is the only place I ever really enjoyed eating chopped onions.  When we walked in with our parents, the smell of salt and deep-fried oil hung heavy in the air... it was fast-food heaven for 8 year old me.

Fast Food of YesterYear: Kenny Roger's Roasters

Monday, April 27, 2020

During the Corona Virus apocalypse, we all need a good laugh.  So when I saw a meme that made me laugh so hard, I stopped what I was doing and just HAD to show it to my wife.  Why show it to my wife?  My wife is a much larger country music fan than I am.  She grew up a fan of classic country and even enjoys the modern version that sounds more like dance club "auto-tune" pop music than country.  I only really know the biggest hits of the genre, and of course, that includes several from "The Gambler" himself, Mr. Kenny Rogers.

This meme (excuse the language, kids) inspired me to relive some memories and write this article.

Unfortunately, Kenny passed away recently on March 20, 2020.  I didn't want this to be one of the millions of articles that read like a biography for Kenny.  I'd rather it focus on something nearly all of us nostalgia nerds love... the fast-food restaurants of yesteryear.

So here is the story of Kenny Rogers' Roasters!