The Origins Of Fast Food

Global

Most people don't put fast food chains on their travel itineraries - but what if you could eat in the first ever Dunkin' Donuts, or order a coffee from the first ever Starbucks? Discover the stories behind some of America - and the world's favorite fast food.

  • Dine
  • Cafes & Restaurants
  • Gastronomy
  • Fast Food
  • Long-standing Classics
  • Quintessential
  • Famous
  • American
matt

Updated 2 months ago

Editor's Pick

Discover how much your favorite fast-food chain has changed through the years. Get a feeling of nostalgia with a side of interesting facts about your go-to fast-food restaurants!

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Dunkin' Donuts

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South Boston, United States • Wishlist • 

Founder William Rosenberg opened his first donut shop in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1948, and two years later he renamed it Dunkin Donuts. In 2011 the original location received a retro revamp so it's one of the only locations where you can see the original script font, and sit at a counter while you sip on a coffee. Sadly you can no longer get a dozen donuts for under a dollar.

  • +16174729502
  • 543 Southern Artery, Quincy, Massachusettss, USA

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Starbucks - Pike Place

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Seattle, United States • Memory • 

Seattle is home to the Starbucks Corporation and its first ever store was in the famous Pike Place Market. Emblazoned with the original logo, it's a popular stop for tourists, though the coffee tastes exactly the same as every other Starbucks in the world :)

  • +12064488762
  • Pike Place Market, 1912 Pike Place, Seattle, Washington, USA

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Original McDonald's Site and Museum

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San Bernardino, United States • Wishlist • 

Opened in 1948 by brothers Richard (Dick) and Maurice (Mac) McDonald, this is the site of the original McDonalds restaurant. No longer a functioning restaurant, it was bought by businessman Albert Okura for $135,000 in 1998 and turned into a privately run McDonalds museum.

  • +19098856324
  • 1398 N E Street, San Bernardino, California, USA

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McDonald's

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Los Angeles, United States • Wishlist • 

The oldest still functioning McDonalds is McDonalds #3 in Downey, CA. It was almost demolished in 1994 but was added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, and preserved. It is almost unchanged from when it opened in 1953, with the retro golden arches and hamburgers sign.

  • +15626229248
  • 10207 Lakewood Boulevard, Downey, California, USA

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The Original In-N-Out Burger

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Los Angeles, United States • Wishlist • 

Ask any Californian where to get the best burgers and they will likely direct you to In-n-Out. Californians have been eating double-doubles and "animal fries" since the original location was opened in Baldwin Park, California, in 1948 by Harry Snyder and Esther Snyder. You can peep into a recreation of the original shack, complete with cigarette vending machine and retro sodas, although to actually order a burger you'll need to head to the restaurant and company store across the road

  • +18007861000
  • 13766 Francisquito Avenue, Baldwin Park, California, USA

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Chick-fil-A

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Atlanta, United States • Wishlist • 

On May 26, 1946, Truett Cathy opened a restaurant in Hapefille, Georgia serving chicken called the Hapeville Dwarf House! This later became the first Chick-fil-A, and there are now over 2,000 across the USA. At this location you still have the option of going to the full-service Dwarf House or counter-service Chik-fil-A; like other branches of the chain it's closed on Sundays due to the religious beliefs of the founders.

  • +14047621746
  • 461 North Central Avenue, Hapeville, Georgia, USA

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KFC

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Salt Lake City, United States • Wishlist • 

Which state was the first KFC located? Kentucky right? Wrong! While Colonel Sanders started selling his chicken in Corbin, Kentucky (where you will find the Harland Sanders Café and Museum), the first franchise of KFC opened in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1952. You'll find a life-size bronze Colonel statue with Pete Harman, the first franchisee.

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Tim Hortons

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Hamilton, Canada • Wishlist • 

Canada's favourite coffee chain opened in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, the brainchild of Tim Horton, who played in the NHL from 1949 until he died in a car crash in 1974. Today there's a small museum upstairs from the original location, and a regular Tim Horton's downstairs. The 2014 merger with Burger King was something of a national scandal in Canada.

  • +19055444515
  • 65 Ottawa Street North, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Greggs

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Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom • Wishlist • 

All hail the mighty Greggs sausage roll, now seemingly as important a part of British culture as drinking tea and talking about the weather. Founder John Gregg opened the first shop in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951, there are now over 1,850 shops across the UK.

  • +441912851508
  • 133 High Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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MOS BURGER - Narimasu Shop

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Asaka, Japan • Wishlist • 

The Company's founder, Satoshi Sakurada opened the first MOS burger in 1972 in Narimasu, Tokyo. Although the chain's most famous creation, the rice burger where rice patties replace the burger bun, did not debut until 1987. You can still visit the original Narimasu location, or any of the 1800 other locations across Japan and elsewhere in Asia.

  • +81339751582
  • 2-15-10 Narimasu, Itabashi City, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都板橋区成増 2-15-10

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Café Coffee Day

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Bengaluru, India • Wishlist • 

One of the newest chains on this list, CCD opened its first branch in 1996 in Bengaluru (Bangalore), India. The increasing middle classes in India wanted an upmarket venue to drink coffee, and CCD quickly expanded, opening 1530 outlets across 28 states of India, and outnumbering Starbucks in the country by 10 to 1.

  • +918032486263
  • Windsor House, 13-15, Brigade Road, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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Bob's

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil • Wishlist • 

Why is the first Brazilian fast food chain called Bob's? The American-Brazilian tennis champion Robert Falkenburg, who won the Wimbledon tournament in 1948, introduced the fast-food concept to Brazil in 1952, after turning down a $100,000-a-year professional tennis contract. The first store on Rio's famous Copacabana beach, sold hot dogs, hamburgers, milkshakes, and ice-cream sundaes, a novelty at the time as Brazil would not allow the import of American soft-serve ice cream machines. Falkenburg sold the chain in 1972, and, aged 93, is still alive and retired in California.

  • +552125491287
  • Rua Figueiredo Magalhaes 219, LJ 1, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Nando's - Rosettenville

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Johannesburg, South Africa • Wishlist • 

Perhaps most popular in the UK, home of the "cheeky Nandos", the original location was in Rosettenville, South Africa, founded by Mozambique-born Fernando Duarte and South African-born Robert Brozin. They tried the peri-peri chicken at a Portuguese takeaway named Chickenland, and loved it so much they bought the restaurant and renamed it after Duarte's son.

  • +27116839003
  • 117 Main Street, Rosettenville, Johannesburg, South Africa

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The Original Pizza Hut Museum

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Wichita, United States • Wishlist • 

Pizza Hut was founded in June 1958 in Wichita Kansas, by two Wichita State University students, Dan and Frank Carney. The small building they acquired to run their restaurant only had room for eight letters on the sign, 5 of which were PIZZA, leaving just enough room to add HUT to name their business. The building was later relocated onto the Wichita State's campus and is now a museum.

  • +13169784488
  • 2090 Innovation Boulevard, Wichita, Kansas, USA

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Taco Bell

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Corona, United States • Wishlist • 

Glen Bell opened the first ever Taco Bell in Downey, CA, (apparently a fast food origins hotspot, being also home to the worlds oldest operating McDonald's). When the building was threatened with demolition in 2015 the Taco Bell Company loaded it up on a trailer and drove it to their headquarters in Irvine, CA. Four years later, it's... still on its trailer. Drive round the back of the imposing HQ building and you'll find Taco Numero Uno wrapped in black plastic wrap, awaiting a brighter future.

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Shake Shack (Madison Square Park)

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New York City, United States • Wishlist • 

Madison Square Park in New York dates from 1847 but by 2000 it had fallen into disrepair. As part of the renovations, Randy Garutti ran a hot dog stand for three years, and its popularity led to building a permanent kiosk which opened in 2004 serving burgers and milkshakes. It wasnt originally planned as a chain, bur Shake Shacks can now be found around the world. In summer people wait an hour for a meal.

  • +12128896600
  • Madison Square Park, Madison Avenue &, E 23rd Street, New York City, New York, USA

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