If you’re old enough to remember, you’re OLD…

The menu is supposedly from the Downy, CA location in 1953!!!

I don’t remember ever eating in a McDonalds until the early 70s…


TBT… — 26 Comments

  1. No McD where I was, but there was a Big Chef, signature burger The Big Chef. Joined USAF, Basic, then Chanute AFB, Rantoul, IL. They had no Big Chef.

    On my first off-base pass (tech training) I walked into the usual fast food place and ordered a Big Chef.

    Got nothing but stares. I was in a McD, the only fast food in town.

    • That was late 1963 or Jan ’64, by the way. I left for my first permanent station in February; rodeos and Lone Star longnecks on weekends, Carswell AFB, Fort Worth, TX.

  2. Man, I don’t think McAllen Texas got a McDonalds restaurant until the 1970’s. Burger Chef and A&W Drive Ins – yes.

    Just confirmed – 1st McDonald’s in the RGV Texas was 1974. 49 years ago.

  3. I remember the same design of their stores into the 1970s. But I also remember glove compartment doors that opened flat and acted as trays. Some even divots to hold cups

    I remember eating at McDs in the 1960s and still remember their commercial about getting 2 burgers, fries, a drink and still getting change back from your dollar.

  4. Probably the sixties and I remember my first experience at Mickey Dees.
    I spent the fifteen cents or so, and hated the burger because I don’t like either mustard or ketchup.
    I’m still feeling the same about that chain today!

    • I’m the same way. Coming back from camping we stopped at Mickey Dees and ordered. We waited and waited and when my dad ask what the hold up was they told him it was the dry burger with the garden on it!

      • DW. Yes, I remember much the same experience when ordering a dry burger.
        Many years ago, my family took a long road trip from Philly to Shreveport, LA to visit my Dad’s side of the family.
        I remember my horror when I found that a burger in a southern restaurant routinely came with a thick layer of white slime. By that I mean mayo, and no, wiping it off doesn’t make it go away!

  5. nine items on the menu. one meat item. they did what they did and did it well.
    today you have 30+ items to chose from… and that’s just breakfast.
    they are now trying to do everything and they are doing everything poorly.
    and you wonder why i rarely eat from fast food chain stores

    • Breakfast is the best thing on their menu nowadays.

    • I remember going into an Arby’s and “I’ll have an Arby.” That or a junior size. Sliced the meat, steamed the bun, put it all together, all where you could see it maybe 10 feet away. Now they hide the process and serve everything by pancakes. Ask for “An Arby” and you get a blank stare.

  6. I was dischared from the AF in 1970 and was offered a job by an individual who was selling franchises out of an office in western PA and there were no McDonalds or other franchises anywhere at that time. I never took him up on the offer and went to work at an established manufacturer in my home town. That was a mistake because the franchises started to grow and grow, especially the McDonalds franchises. Had I taken that offer I probably would have been a lot richer than I am. But we make choices and live with them. I am probably better off and happy with what I have. A solid house, a good pension,my health, and most of all a good wife who is the best cook I have ever known.

  7. I am from Alhambra, CA and remember my mother taking me and my brother and sister to McD’s. It was the early 60s and I was about 7 and my brother just turned 13 and my sis was 15. I loved getting a chocolate shake and a cheeseburger. We ate outside as nothing was inside at the time.

  8. There was a McDonalds within close walking distance of my parent’s house. It was one of the old style arches one with no indoor dining. I think it was built in the 50’s? All I know is it was always there. Still is, though of course they tore down the old one and put up a ‘new’ one in the 70’s. I remember prices pretty close to those.

  9. I don’t remember McDonald’s in San Diego during the late 60’s, early 70’s, but I do remember A&W, Burger King and Jack ‘n The Box.

  10. As DownEy was my home, I ate at that location several times until my parents divorced in the mid-70s and my mother moved us to the northern part of the state.

  11. There is a McDonalds in Gurnee,Illinois that still has the original building and a few times a year they do the throwback menu prices. Kind of fun.

  12. I can place my first visit to McDonalds pretty closely – 1966 or ‘67, Salinas CA

    Very much like the ad, as was the menu. Sign outside saying “X millions served” (I don’t remember X, but I think it was single digits, double at most).

    It was the first that 7 year old me had ever seen or heard of. Salinas was the local “big city” (~50,000 at the time) and had, I think, only one.

    Before then, we’d lived in the north part of the state – even the small towns there had an A & W or Frosty Freeze, sometimes both.

  13. A big deal when I was a kid was when one of my buddies had his birthday bash. Dinner Friday Night at the Newly opened MC’Ds in Westbrook CT, followed by a sleepover and then Saturday morning pile 6 sub 10 year old boys, buddies Dad, and older sister (to aid in herding unruly boys and she liked baseball too) into the giant station wagon. Then we went down to Queens in NYC to Shea Stadium to see the Mets. I remember it was 1969 as that was the year the Mets won the World Series. No Tom Seaver didn’t pitch and no the Mets didn’t win that game. Somewhere I used to have the program from the game, marked up with the score card (which my Buddy and his dad showed me how to do). I think hamburgs had risen to $ .25 by that point cheeseburger was $ .29 I think.

  14. All- Thanks for sharing those memories! We had Dairy Queen and A&W Root Beer, and for a short time, a CharBroil place. I do remember you could get an entire ‘meal’, sandwich, french fries, and a drink for under a dollar.

  15. I don’t remember McD’s that cheap. But I do recall that back in high school, in the late 70s, if you had a $5 bill, you and a friend could eat well.

  16. I remember a McDonalds in the early sixties outside gate 7 (I think that is the correct gate) at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi where I was stationed for my one year tech school, the Technical Instructors Course and the rest of my 4 years and nine months of active duty. Got out in May of 1966. Had a buddy John Pace that worked part time at that McD’s and I ate there often.

  17. There was a McDonalds’ across the street from UALR in Little Rock. It was so old it only had a single arch on the sign.

    The whole street was fast food places, catering to the students. They’d been there for at least thirty years when the college decided they wanted to turn the “student union” into a profit center, and had a 10 foot high, 10 block long fence built walling the campus off from the fast food places.

    All the fast food places went under, as the campus was by far their largest customer base.

    The student union kitchen was only open for a few hours a day, lunch time for day shifters. Half the campus were evening students; not only was the kitchen closed, the whole student union was locked up. And they locked the bathrooms and turned off the water fountains, too. You had adult students peeing behind bushes if they couldn’t hike a little over a mile to the “night student” parking lot and drive to some place with a bathroom in time.

    The University of Arkansas at Little Rock may not be the poorest excuse for a college in the country, but I’m sure it’s in the top (bottom?) ten. I wound up getting a police escort off campus at the end of my only semester there; it seemed to dean of students took a dislike to me.

  18. Those prices look low, but you have to factor in the effect of inflation on wages since then. I don’t recall the actual numbers, but jobs for teens back in the late 60’s only paid about a $1/hr. That would buy you a single meal, basically. Gasoline was about $.25/gal.

    Which reminds me that a girlfriend worked at the busiest McD’s in the world in ’76. Something like 23 registers, and the line went out the door. She did some of the bookkeeping for them, and she had $20k in petty cash to cover various supply deliveries and to keep the registers working. In a southern NJ resort town.

  19. The first McDonald’s as we know it opened its doors for business on 15 April 1955 in Des Plaines, IL, with Ray Kroc at the helm. I was 4 yo and my Mom took us there on occasion. A few years ago a lunchroom loudmouth declared that McD’s food would kill you. “How long would it would take?” I asked. “Not long. It’s poison!” I replied, “I’m 64 yo and have been eating Mickey D’s for nearly 60 years since Ray Kroc opened his first franchise in my home town. I am still here and guess who helps push the pallets you can’t pull?” The response was what Scott Adams calls ‘word salad’ (wish I knew that term then). Heh.