Tag Archives: fast food

Dick’s Drive-In

Dick’s Drive-In

~ Seattle Washington based chain ~

The infamous iconic Seattle-based fast food burger joint / drive-in, Dick’s is a major Seattle attraction. It was founded by Dick Spady, H. Warren Ghormley, and Dr. B.O.A. Thomas in 1954 within the Wallingford neighborhood on N.E. 45th street. A second one was opened in Capital Hill during 1955. In 1960 one was opened in Crown Hill, followed by one in Lake City in 1963, and a fifth in Queen Anne 1974. They opened a sixth location in Edmonds off 220th street and Hwy 99 in 2011. They opened a 8th location in December 2018 in Kent, Washington off Highway 99. There is no customer seating available at any of the locations except the Queen Anne which has indoor tables but no drive-in.

They boast a simple low-cost menu that gives them their fame – fast food staples such as hamburgers, hand-cut french fries, and hand-made milk shakes. They are notable for the “Dick’s Deluxe” which includes the burger, lettuce, mayonnaise, and chopped pickles. They don’t allow substitutions and all burgers are cooked to well done. They have been cited as being really good to their employees, even offering them matched 401(k), 100% employer-paid medical, and a $22,000 college tuition scholarship after 6 months of employment. They were voted the “most life-changing burger joint in America” in 2013 Esquire.com.

As much as I desire to quit fast food, this is one staple in Seattle I often still visit as the food is affordable and tasty. Most locations are quite busy and always involve a line-up and obscene traffic. The wait is worth it though in most instances. The shakes are to die for. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 Fast Food – Low.


Jack in the Box

~ National Chain, the Americas ~
FAST FOOD – Medium

One of the top fast food restaurants in America, Jack in the Box was founded in February of 1951 by Robert O. Peterson in San Diego, California. Today they have over 2,200 locations mainly on the West Coast of the United States. They can also be found in the central states with popularity in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Ohio. They also operated the Qdoba Mexican Grill until 2017 when the Apollo Global Management took over Qdoba. They offer a variety of selections from burgers, chicken tenders, tacos, and egg rolls. They took on a circus-like decor around a starry-eyed clown in the 1940s. It took on its current iconography in 1951 wrapped around the then popular drive-thru intercom technology. A Giant clown projected from the roof and a smaller clown head sat atop the intercom saying “Pull forward Jack will speak to you.” Peterson created a holding company for it called Foodmaker Inc managing the popular chain. Foodmaker was sold to Ralston Purina Company in 1968 and it became the most prolific growth television commercial based fast food giant in the 1970’s. They hit some struggles afterwards trying to expand to the Eastern coast, and in the 80’s made a marketing strategy “The Food is better at the Box” competing with its competitors not for the kids of McDonald’s but the affluent yuppie customers with a higher quality more upscale menu. They flashed their ads with the Jumbo Jack, seasoned Curly Fries, salads, and diverse menu. Ralston Purina sold Foodmaker in 1985 to management and became a publicly traded company with over $655 million in sales by 1987. There is an array of food types and selections, a quick fast food fix to the hungry palate. But it is fast food still none-the-less and carries the unhealthy characteristics of junk food.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5


Qdoba Mexican Eats

Qdoba Mexican Eats

A international fast food medium-range chain that can be found throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In 2003 it became a subsidiary of Jack-In-The-Box. In 2017 it was purchased by Apollo Global Management for 305 million dollars having over 700 restaurants in over 47 states, Canada, and Mexico. It began as Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill in 1995 being founded by Anthony Miller and partner Robert Hauser in Denver, Colorado. They focused on Mexican cuisine using healthier preparation methods, fresh vegetables, herbs, and vegetable oils instead of traditional animal fats. They changed their name to Qdoba in 1999 to avoid lawsuits from companies claiming infringement on the Zuma and Z-teca names.

The food is grand and delicious with the right amount of herbs and spices. I’ve enjoyed the bowls and burritos, chips, salsas, and drinks. It’s a satisfying experience.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Burger King

Burger King
~ Worldwide ~

Good tasting food but horrible greasy gut bombs that will takes years off your life. Such would be the image that documentaries like “Super Size Me” would dictate. It is fast food that is meant as a treat, not for substance. Burger King is a competitive hamburger fast food restaurant that is almost as popular as McDonalds. They do have substantially better quality food than McDonalds. It is today a global fast food chain that has its headquarters in Miami-Dade County of Florida. It was founded as “Insta-Burger King” in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida by David Edgerton and James McLamore who bought the company and renamed it “Burger King”. They saw financial difficulties in the 1960’s as “Insta Burger King” but by the 70’s saw a Golden Age in advertising where they found success. By the 80’s they lost focus and started to lose business. They improved again in 2003. Through its history has changed hands of ownership four times by 2018. It merged with the Canadian donut chain “Tim Hortons” in late 2010 and later became Restaurant Brands International (another Canadian Company).

They expanded from basic burgers to offering a variety of burgers, chicken burgers, french fries, sodas, chicken fries, milkshakes, and their signature “Whopper” that competes with McDonald’s “Big Mac”. From 2002-2010 they targeted young 18-34 males with larger product sizes with unhealthy trans fats and fats. By 2016 it had over 16,000 stores in over 100 countries of which half are located in the United States. The knock off in Australia, Hungry Jacks utilized the theme, look, and operations of Burger King.

Rated: 2 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions ~

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McDonald’s Fast Food Chain
~ https://www.mcdonalds.com/ ~

As a child, my parents and school system were captivated victims of the advertising brainwashing of this corporate fast food giant. I myself have fallen into their lure many years of my life, and still victim of the addictive taste of their food. Just like most parents, a quick simple failing nutritious meal for their kids, I was taken to McDonalds at an early age. I remember a school trip to a farm making the industry look wholesome and local, taken into a set-up building where they showed us kids how to flip burgers, gave us special hats, and made us want to grow up to be a burger flipper for them. As a kid, McDonalds excited me. I have had the same issue having exposed my son to them – and its a hard habit to break, an addictive drug is their food, that captivates billions of people around the world. The Expose “Super Size Me” shows the dangers of the restaurant chain and how brainwashed the world has become.

But is it truly dangerous? it definitely has its delicious appeal. It wasn’t always a corporate giant. They of course like all businesses chase after money. They wanted success and they got it. The restaurant was started in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald with its founding in San Bernardino, California. Not a surprise right? California. That home farm experience I attended in school was in upstate New York in the 70’s. They were already en route to world dominance by that point.

With humble beginnings, McDonald’s started out as a hamburger stand. It turned into a franchise in the 50’s when Ray Kroc in 1955 talked them into starting a franchise, opening the fist one in Phoenix, Arizona. The owners were suspicious at first and were originally reluctant to the expanding ideas. Kroc purchased the chain from the brothers, and moved its headquarters to Oak Brook, Illinois, and then global headquarters to Chicago by 2018. Since the campaign to turn to franchise, extreme advertising and promotions, world dominance across the Great Pond happened relatively quickly. Today McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, boasting over 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries.

McDonalds sells a variety of sandwiches from hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches, french fries, soda, milk shakes, wraps, desserts, cafe items, coffee frappacinos, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Since the 1980’s they have been attacked for their world dominance, menu, food quality, and unhealthiness of their food. Since then, they have made annual changes to their menu to address the concerns promoting a healthier option line. They are also the second largest private employer in the world next to Walmart.

Rated: 2.5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Five Guys

Five Guys
~ Worldwide ~

On the way to Burning Man, passing through Fort Collins, Colorado – my travel mate introduced me to this fine Burger Joint. Freshly cooked and prepared, there is a bit of a wait, so not your atypical fast food chain – but higher quality and creation. They are a fast growing chain, casual diner style with that 60’s-80’s decor. Free peanuts to snack on while you wait. Originally was called “Five Guys Burgers and Fries” it has been shortened to “Five Guys”. They focus on hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. Their headquarters is located in Lorton, Virginia and opened their first location in 1986 (Virginia). Today they have over a thousand locations within the United States and Canada. (2018)

I’ve had the pleasure of dining in and take out, as well as delivering for them. The burgers and fries are great. I have yet to try the hot dogs.

Rated: 4 stars out of 5. (Overall Worldwide) ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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KFC: Kentucky Fried Chicken


Harland Sander’s Cafe and Museum
* 688 U.S. Route 25W, North Corbin, Kentucky * worldwide chain ~

Home to the infamous fast food chain “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, the privately owned 1940’s cafe is the original location of the entity when it first started out as a mom and pop fried chicken stand. It is now a National Historic Places property as of August 7, 1990. One of Kentucky’s famous historic restaurants located in North Corbin, Kentucky as the home of Colonel Harland Sanders and his wife. Sander’s founded the recipe and ran the restaurant from 1940 until 1956. In 1930 he opened a service station just across the street from the present location along U.S. Route 25 serving meals from the back of the gas station at his own dining table that seated 6. He became a popular stop-off and infamous for his batter. Across the street at the present-day location, he built the Sander’s Cafe that seated up to 142 patrons, but it caught fire two years later. In 1939 the cafe was rebuilt and is the present day museum and location. It was made into a motel complex in 1940. Business in the 40’s and 50’s boomed, but changed when Interstate 75 was built and bypassed the city entirely. He sold the cafe in 1956 and started selling franchises. In 1990 the cafe was turned into the museum and restaurant it is today.


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In-N-Out Burgers


In-N-Out Burgers

I was first introduced to In-and-Out when I was living in Los Angeles as a paid audience member and extra for Hollywood, needing fast food, “in” and “out”. I was introduced to their un-advertised attraction, the leaf wraps. Those were back in the days when I had no problems with fast food or the health consequences of having that kind of diet. I have since made motions to thin out (and someday totally eliminate) fast food from my diet. Me and my wife are on the gluten-free path, so the idea of a leaf wrap sandwich when there was no other open food options sounded perhaps ‘healthier’ than some of the alternatives. While ditching the gluten by skipping the bun, it still was a mild option to the the extremes that is fast food. Traveling through the American Southwest we were curious to give it a gander. Personally in terms of fast food, its not much different than the others, though the quality outside of the lettuce was good tasting but same as most fast food. We were surprised they didn’t advertise the lettuce wrap option on their menu and that its more a “word-of-mouth” item, especially since its an element that makes them stick out from the others. The In-N-Out Burger chain is regional, with locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Texas. It was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park, California in 1948. Their grandchild Lynsi Torres currently runs the operation. It is not franchised nor public, and has distribution centers in California; Phoenix, Arizona; Draper, Utah; and Dallas, Texas. They have not changed this practice in order to maintain quality and customer consistency. They are one of the few fast food chains in the U.S. to pay their employees higher than the state and federal mandated minimum wage guidelines. They offer three burger varieties – hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and the “Double-Double” (their trademarked double meat, double cheese). They also sell french fries, milkshakes (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry), and typical fountain drinks. Burgers come with lettuce, tomato, optional onions, and their special sauce (like McDonald’s, a variant of thousand islands dressing). They do however have a secret menu available at most In-N-Outs. These can be found on their web site. These include a 3×3 (three patties, three slices of cheese), a 4×4 (four patties and four slices of cheese), 20×20, Neapolitan shakes, grilled cheese sandwich (no meat, two slices of melted cheese), Protein style (wrapped in lettuce – all ingredients of a burger just no buns), and Animal style (animal style: burger cooked in thin layer of mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions, and extra spread – hot peppers option. Animal fries come with two slices of melted cheese, spread, and grilled onions on top). Their decor is red, white, and yellow branding – white building exterior and uniforms, red for the roof and aprons/hats, yellow for the roof’s decorative band and iconic zig-zag in the logo. They also plant palm trees often to form an “X” in front of the restaurants. One problem with In-N-Out is its secret proselytizing of Christianity. They print discreet references to Bible verses on their paper containers such as the Double-Double burger wrapper and the drink cup. These consist of the book, chapter, and number of the verse not the actual text of the passage. This came into play during the 1980’s when Rich Snyder was president, as a reflection of the Christian beliefs he held. Because of their fundamentalist Christian practices and the fact that the food is not healthy (not company specific – fast food overall), I will no longer frequent this company. For those of you desiring junk food and not minding the Christian fundamentalism, enjoy your GMO beef. Rating: 2 stars out of 5.


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Wok in a box

Wok in a Box
* www.wokcanberra.com.au/ * 3/88-96 Bunda Street * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * 2601 * (02) 6162 0965 *

Wok in a Box gave us a quick evening snack at affordable prices. It is located in the heart of the city center. They offer a great menu selections with a range of Authentic Asian specialties such as Gyoza Dumplings, Teriyaki Chicken Bento, Udon Noodle Soup with Katsu Chicken and much more. I had the Pad Thai which was quite tasty. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Hungry Jacks

Hungry Jack’s
* Australia * www.hungryjacks.com.au *

One who first looks at the “Hungry Jacks” logo might get confused because it awfully looks identical to the “Burger King” logo in the States. That’s because “Hungry Jacks” is part of the “Burger King” Franchise. It has been operating in Australia as “Hungry Jacks” since its first Perth store opened in April 1971. It rapidly took over since that date. Within 10 years, there was 26 stores in 3 states. They even took over the near-dead “Wendy’s” Hamburger chain stores in Victoria when they purchased them in 1986. So why not just call it “Burger King”? When Burger King expanded into Australia it found that “Burger King” as a name was already trademarked by a takeaway food shop in Adelaide. Therefore, the Burger King franchisee Jack Cowin, had to operate Burger King under a different name. Cowin selected “Hungry Jack” after one of Pillsbury’s US pancake mixture products. By 1990, “Competitive Foods” was permitted to franchise Hungry Jack’s as independent businesses. It was around this time that Burger King was trying to expand in Australia and wanted all stores under their “Burger King” logo. But because the “Hungry Jack” trademark had 30 years of heritage, it made more sense to keep it as a separate brand. It is also known as “HJ’s”, “Hungry’s”, or “Hungie’s” and stands as an exclusive Australian master fast food franchisee of Burger King wholly owned subsidiary of Competitive Foods Australia, privately held under Jack Cowin. In 1991 Burger King took Hungry Jack’s Pty Limited to court as it wasn’t meeting up to terms with its franchise agreement in opening a certain number of stores each year as promised. After the Australian trademark on the Burger King name lapsed in 1996, Burger King made a claim that Hungry Jacks violated its conditions for renewal and wanted to terminate the agreement and thereby in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell’s Australian division began opening its own stores in 1997. Jack fought back in 2001 claiming Burger King violated the conditions of the master francising agreement and the Supreme Court of New South Wales agreed with Cowin, awarding him with 46.9 million Australian dollars. This led to Burger King terminating its operations in the country and in July 2002 transferred its assets to its New Zealand franchise group – Trans Pacific Foods. They agreed in 2003 to re-name these locations to “Hungry Jack’s”. Today there are over 300 Hungry Jack stores throughout all states of Australia and is known as a well-established Australian brand. Most of the new stores have a 1950’s theme, with music played from this era occasionally through a 1950’s style jukebox with associated contemporary pictures and memorabilia as part of the decor. Many of the larger sit-down style restaurants have their seats and tables laid out in a 1950’s diner style. The only Burger King trademarks sold at Hungry Jack’s are the “Whopper” and the “TenderCrisp” sandwiches, all others go by generic names such as “hamburger”, “veggie burger”, or “grilled chicken burger”.

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Pie Face

Pie Face *
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia * www.pieface.com.au *

A great little hole-in-the-wall chain counter/restaurant with fast service dishing out pies for Australians since 2003. First founded in Sydney, “Pie face” greets its hungry customers with a happy face on the pie crust face filled like a pot pie with yummy delicious veggies and/or meats. It was founded by Betty Fong and Wayne Homschek. Originally fashion designers, they first served pies to their audience to get everyone in the mood for their fashion show, and got such great applause for their pies, decided to open a business. The pies are custom made for their customers, and all hand made and baked. Delicious! I’ve enjoyed these fabulous little fast tasty pies in Melbourne, Brisbane, and obviously is also available in Sydney. Rating : 4.5 stars out of 5. Review by Leaf McGowan.

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Nordsee, Old Town, Dusseldorf, Germany

Fisch Nords

Nordsee (old town Dusseldorf)
* Fisch Nordsee Flinger Straße 38 40213 Düsseldorf Tel.: 0211-131806 * www.nordsee.com
One of my favorite healthy German fast food chains. “FFF / Fast Food Fish”. It’s a well-established chain found in all the German-speaking countries (over 355 outlets in Germany) that is a healthier equivalent of a seafood section of a delicattesen on the coast merged with a Long John silver’s minus the unhealthy heavy frying. Fresh and healthy prepared seafood in a fast food format but not as bad as the usual fish n’ chips (though they offer that too). It was founded in 1896 serving salmon, white fish, shrimps, mussels, lobster tails, and various sauces … all in the ability to grab a bite on the go already prepared in a window opening to the street displaying the healthy wraps, pitas, and sandwiches. Prices are cheap and affordable (ca. 1-8 Euro a sandwich or meal) or if you are sitting in, entrees for 7-25 Euro, including lobster, shrimps, and mussels not fried but delicously prepared with veggies or potatoes. Rating: 5 stars out of 5 (fast food rating). On my 3/31/09 visit, tried the special Louisiana cajun crawfish sandwich …. excellent!

Louisiana Cajun crawdad sandwich


Ollie’s Trolley (Washington, DC)

Ollie’s Trolley

Ollie’s Trolley
* www.olliestrolleydc.com * 425 12th St NW
Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 347-6119

A little historic Burger and sandwich joint right off 12th near the National Mall is a burger shack/diner called “Ollie’s Trolley” which is a DC Landmark institution for the last 30 years. Family owned and operated, voted best for its burgers and seasoned fries as well as its shakes. Brightly lit and vivrant, not hard to miss. I had the Crab Cake burger which was fabulous, but wasn’t that impressed by the infamous seasoned fries. Cheap and affordable. Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5. Visited 2/21/09.

Crab Cake sandwich, fries, and coke


Tokyo Joe’s (Grant street, Denver, Colorado)

Peanut Skewers and Unagi Bowl at Tokyo Joe’s

Tokyo Joe’s * 1360 Grant Street * Denver, CO * 80203 * 303.830.7277 * http://www.tokyojoes.com/findus/6grant.html
As I’ve quit typical Amerikan fast-food, I’ve switched to some of the more healthy fast-food alternatives when in a rush and a need for a cost-effective meal that’s good for me. Colorado’s small (yet fastly growing) fast food Japanese chain, Tokyo Joes is upbeat and expanding. The food is good, fast, healthy, and affordable. How can you go wrong? In like-style of Noodles and Company in presentation and design, Tokyo Joes takes a different artistic approach. I adore their Unagi Rice Bowls, the California Rolls are delicious, and the chicken satay yummy. As usual, my experience is what I expect. Though seems each time I get the Unagi bowl of the last two years, I’m seeing less and less Unagi, and more rice. That sucks. But still the great dish I’ve come to be addicted to on each of my Denver weekend trips. It’s a great healthy fix. Rating 5 stars out of 5 (for fast food: Japanese quality 3 out of 5). Visited 2/14/09.


Kokoro Sushi (Arvada, Colorado)

Kokoro Sushi Restaurant
303) 432-0600 * 5535 Wadsworth, Arvada * (55th and Wadsworth)

Kokoro is an amazing “fast food” Japanese restaurant that can be found in two locations throughout Denver. It is a small chain that is in similar style of the other popular Colorado chain “Tokyo Joe’s”. But Kokoro has more Japanese fare than Tokyo Joe’s does these days (2018). Kokoro specializes in lunch and dinner fare, and they have a healthier menu than most regular restaurants, albeit fast food. They are nutritious, fast, and friendly. Back in 2012 they had a location off Broadway with outside dining which was a spectacular memory of my past, as it is no longer. I visited again on 3/24/2018 and had a wonderful experience enjoying my favorite dish – the Unagi Bowl, the happy hour Spider Roll and carafe of Saki. The staff friendly and right to your attention with drink refills and making sure you were well taken care of. I’ve been visiting this location since 2006 and have forever marked it as a fine dine. Rating: 5 stars out of 5 (visited 3/24/18)


Tokyo Joe’s, Centennial, Colorado

02.17.08 Tokyo Joe’s, Centennia, Colorado

Tokyo Joe’s (Centennial)
http://www.tokyojoes.com/ * Dry Creek and Yosemite (centennial) * 8727 E. Dry Creek Rd, Englewood, CO 80112 * 303.721.8886

As I’ve quit typical Amerikan fast-food, I’ve switched to some of the more healthy fast-food alternatives when in a rush and a need for a cost-effective meal that’s good for me. Colorado’s small (yet fastly growing) fast food Japanese chain, Tokyo Joe’s is upbeat and expanding. The food is good, fast, healthy, and affordable. How can you go wrong? In like-style of Noodles and Company in presentation and design, Tokyo Joe’s takes a different artistic approach. I adore their Unagi Rice Bowls, the California Rolls are delicious, and the chicken satay yummy. It’s a great healthy fix. Rating 5 stars out of 5 (for fast food: Japanese quality 3 out of 5). Visited 2/17/08. 02/13/11 Visit: “Enroute back to Colorado Springs, I stopped for some takeout from Tokyo Joe’s for the road. A large Unagi bowl with brown rice and some peanut skewers. Delicious, fresh, and quick service. Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5.

Chicken Satay

Unagi Rice Bowl