10 Things Remembered: Chain Restaurants

With apologies to non-U.S. readers who may not be familiar with these eateries, I offer the following 10 things:


  • when Ruby Tuesday’s served breadsticks while you waited for your order?
  • when Red Lobster served black olives with their Caesar salad?
  • when Wendy’s had an apple dumpling as a dessert option? or when they had a salad bar?
  • when McDonald’s signs were only in the millions (instead of the current “billions and billions”) and were updated periodically to reflect recent sales?
  • when A&W was a drive-in and had “baby” mugs of root beer?
  • when Pizza Hut was a sit-down restaurant?
  • Shakey’s, where the pizza was served at long, family-style tables with ragtime music and old b&w films playing in the background?
  • when Howard Johnson’s was at every highway exit and, in the south, that it shared the turf with Stuckey’s?
  • Lum’s (a 1960s-1970s predecessor to today’s Applebee’s-style restaurants)?
  • Taco Bell’s “12 Days of Christmas” glasses promotion? (I’m proud to say I have all 12!)

Over the years, we’ve frequented each of these restaurants many times, and each of them has a special spot in our family’s history. For example, our daughter’s first outing, just a day or two out of hospital, was at Lum’s where, as I recall, she gummed a dill pickle (or maybe a lemon wedge?). Am I the only person on the planet that remembers Wendy’s apple dumplings? And, can it be that I have the only complete set of “12 Days” glasses?

Please chime in with your own chain restaurant memories…I would love to know your recollections about these or other favorite restaurants.

I’m participating in Shimellle’s “10 things blogged on the tenth” blog party. If you haven’t already, blog your ten items and join in!

18 thoughts on “10 Things Remembered: Chain Restaurants

  1. I have been trying to get all of the 12 Days of Christmas. I found one seller but the 6th day is missing. About 20 years ago I saw them at a flea market and should have bought them then!!! I could kick myself!

    • I actually have 2 sets of the rounded bottom 12 days of christmas glasses, but recently broke the 3rd day in one of the sets. I need to find it, but can’t.

  2. Oh Shakey’s!!!!!! Who knows if we’re talking about the same Shakey’s, but at the chain I remember, my parents would get so mad at us because we couldn’t finish eating fast enough to go play the games, then they would get irritated when we took forever choosing our prizes.

  3. We also have McDonalds and Pizza Hut, but Pizza hut are few and far between these days. They still have eat as much as you like nights, lol.

  4. Sounds like you had plenty of good times in them! We have McDonalds & Pizza Hut. I went to McDonalds last autumn when we were holidaying in Scotland, just outside Peterhead and a very stormy night!

  5. What a great memory stirring list for us Americans 🙂 I laughed when I read the one about HoJo’s always being by a Stuckey’s, remember those pecan logs…grosssss. Come to my city we still have a sit down Pizza Hut otherwise I would have shed tears when reading that one.

  6. When we would go to “the city”, my parents would take us to “Bonanza”. My parents preferred this to McDonalds. This is my first memory of garbanzos and canned apples that were cinnamon flavoured 🙂

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