I read the news today, oh, boy...
OK, so it's not that dramatic, but I did read in the paper (The Columbus Detached) this morning that the original Wendy's restaurant, store #1, located at at 257 E. Broad Street in Downtown Columbus, would be closing this Friday, March 2, 2007.
According to the newspaper, Dave Thomas opened this restaurant on November 15, 1969 as Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers.
I've captured the story and posted it here (the original story probably won't be available online after a week or so...).
According to the story, this store hasn't been profitable since COSI moved from its downtown location directly across the street from Wendy's in 1999 and the required repair and renovation costs to the existing building are too high.
I've been to this Wendy's a number of times and it's a very interesting place, filled with memorabilia from Wendy's history, including the original drive-through sign, instructing people how to order - the drive through was a new thing back then...
I remember the first time I went there - it was in early mid-late July of 1986. I had just graduated from college a couple of weeks before and had traveled over from Dayton to apply for a job at some Columbus hospitals. After applying at St Anthony's (where I would eventually be hired), I stopped at this Wendy's for lunch. it was a pretty big splurge for me that day, since I was running a bit low on cash - after all, I needed a job! I think I had a chili (their hamburgers never quite agreed with me) and a Coke. I might have even sat at this very table...
It's one of the old fashioned kind they used to have that was supposed to look like ol'timey newspaper ads. Kitschy, yes, but that was Wendy! I have many other memories of Wendy's, since I used to work at the one near the now defunct/demolished Salem Mall in Dayton during college (Salem Mall death photos here...). Actually, I worked at McDonald's AND Wendy's at the same time for about 6 months. I would work at Wendy's during lunch , then after that shift I would change into my McDonald's uniform in the Wendy's bathroom, order and eat (usually a chili) in the Wendy's "dining room" -in my McDonald's uniform - then walk two storefronts over to work the night shift at McD's. And yes, I stunk awful by the time I got home...
So with all of these memories swimming in my head this morning, I decided to take Boogie downtown for lunch. We had several errands to run today, so I figured what the heck. He'd never been there, and I thought it would be fun for him to see the place before it was gone.
When we arrived and finally found a place to park a block and a half away, we discovered that that seemed to be the same thought half the people of Columbus had, too - the place was jammed packed and we waited among a genial and generally nostalgic crowd for about 40 minutes to to get our meal. I could hear many people telling stories of their first visits to Wendy's, their visits to this original store and past working experience at other Wendy's stores. It was a long wait, but kind of fun. Every one was looking at the memorabilia on the walls taking pictures and talking to each other.
I guess a fun time was had by all. And the food wasn't bad either. Boog had a Kid's meal with chicken nuggets (way tastier then McD's) & I had the chicken sandwich which was quickly commandeered by my dining companion:
After our meal we still had 7 minutes left on our parking meter, better than a few of our fellow diners who received $20 meter violation tickets. It was odd, they didn't seem to care. Their last meal at the original Wendy's seemed more important.
I have other memories of Wendy's - Founder R. David Thomas was a hefty contributor to Children's Hospital and a huge advocate for adoption. His passing in 2002 was a very sad day for all involved in both endeavors.
So, we had our meal, had our experience, took our photos and went on our merry way, off to do the grocery shopping, then home to try to stay warm and play Lego with mommy... one more day to remember.