Restaurants of the 1950s reflected a changing world and a cultural shift. When thinking about eateries of the decade, certain images likely come to mind. Most likely a diner with checkerboard tiles and a jukebox tops the list. For some, the old-fashioned malt shop is the definition of Fifties dining. However, this was also the era when fast food really took off. You might be surprised at some of the popular restaurants today that started in the 1950s.
The McDonald’s We Know Emerged in the 1950s
To be fair, the first McDonald’s actually opened in the 1940s. However, if it had not been for entrepreneur Ray Kroc growing the franchise in 1954, the fast-food giant may have gone down as another small business from a bygone time. Mr. Kroc’s McDonald’s location in Des Plaines, Illinois, sold its 100 millionth hamburger in 1958. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pizza Hut and Domino’s Brought Cheesy Goodness to the Masses
In the 1950s, the economy was booming, people flocked to the suburbs, and families sought out new ways to keep everyone fed while spending less time in the kitchen. Thus, the era of the TV dinner and the drive-in was born. In the later part of the decade, both Pizza Hut and Domino’s took fast food beyond burgers and fries. Clearly, the idea paid off.
Donuts, Chicken, and Challengers to the Burger Throne
Sure, McDonald’s took a dominant position in the fast-food market early on, but another ’50s startup declared itself “Burger King” in 1954. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken opened its doors in 1952. And, America got its first taste of Dunkin’ Donuts all the way back in 1950. These and a few other fast-food favorites are still going strong today. Which one is your favorite?
This tasty trip down memory lane is part of our weekly look back. The Greatest Generation celebrates the people and places that made America what it is today. For more articles like this, keep up with our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.