A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

The First Locations of 8 Famous Fast Food Restaurants

My, how times have changed.

1 / 8
Michael Gordon/Shutterstock


“The Original McDonald’s,” the tagline of the McDonald’s #1 Store Museum in Des Plaines, Illinois, is a bit of a misnomer—it’s just a replica, and not even of the first store but of the ninth. Richard and Maurice McDonald opened their first restaurant in San Bernadino, California, in 1940, selling burgers for 15 cents. That location closed decades ago, but it’s now home to a museum honoring those first Golden Arches. Don’t miss these other 75 mind-blowing facts about McDonald’s.

2 / 8
Courtesy Burger King

Burger King

Before there was Burger King, there was Insta-Burger King. The fast food joint in Miami flipped burgers and poured milkshakes for just 18 cents apiece in 1954, in hopes of replicating the success of McDonald’s. That same year, Insta-Burger King brought on a new business partner and shortened its name to Burger King. The chain might not have reached McDonald’s status, but it certainly locked itself down as a competitor.

3 / 8


Starbucks’ first location will have a familiar ring to any coffee lover: Pike Place Market, the namesake of its famous coffee blend. The chain spent seven years at one spot in the Seattle market before moving to another spot in 1977, but that “new” spot still pays homage to its roots. Like other brands, Starbucks has tweaked its logo over the years, but at Pike Place, you can still spot its original brown logo. Here are 13 other things a Starbucks barista won’t tell you.

4 / 8
DOUGLAS C. PIZAC/AP/Shutterstock

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Ironically, KFC didn’t get its start in Kentucky—it first opened its doors in Salt Lake City, Utah. Colonel Harland Sanders (yes, he’s real) was passing through and dropped in on the Harman Café’s owner, whom he’d met at a restaurant convention the year before. The Kentucky-based Colonel asked to put his chicken recipe on the Harman menu, and the owner agreed. The restaurant’s Kentucky-fried chicken was a hit, and the rest is history. The original building was torn down, but the location still has a Harman Café sign and keeps memorabilia inside. Learn the secret that makes KFC chicken so crispy.

5 / 8
Courtesy Wichita State University

Pizza Hut

The original Pizza Hut wasn’t exactly a hut, but it was certainly no mansion. In 1958, founders (and brothers) Dan and Frank Carney were students at Wichita State University. When a local landlady suggested they turn the beer joint on her property into a pizza shop, the Carneys took her up on the offer. Their sign for the 500-square-foot brick building only had room for eight letters, and five of those had to be p-i-z-z-a—so they went with “hut.” After the brothers outgrew that tiny kitchen, the building was moved to the WSU campus, where it’s now been converted to a Pizza Hut museum.

6 / 8
CJ GUNTHER/EPA/Shutterstock

Dunkin’ Donuts

In 1950, mom-and-pop doughnut shop Open Kettle changed its name to Dunkin’ Donuts—and started a revolution. Back then, you’d put a dime down for a cup of coffee and only get two choices: regular or decaf. The original location in Quincy, Massachusetts, got a makeover in 2011 taking it back to its retro roots. From the scripted sign to the counterside stools, its décor will take you back in time. Find out the 13 things Dunkin’ Donuts employees wish you knew.

7 / 8

Tim Hortons

You’ve got to admit, the Tim Hortons history is pretty legendary. In 1964, former NHL player Tom Horton decided to open a doughnut shop in Canada, selling pastries and coffee for just ten cents each. The original building in Hamilton, Ontario, was torn down, but you can still head there for your coffee fix—in fact, its corner on Ottawa Street is nicknamed Tim Hortons Way—while browsing the onsite museum.

8 / 8
Courtesy Bojangles', Inc.


Bojangles’ co-founders Richard Thomas and Jack Fulk sure knew their ways around a fast-food kitchen when they opened up shop in 1977. Thomas had owned his own KFC franchises and Fulk owned a Hardee’s. Put those two together and you get a chicken ‘n’ biscuits chain that’s taken the South by storm. Next, learn the 33 secrets your fast food worker isn’t telling you.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.