Friday, April 20, 2012

Roy Rogers Restaurants back in the day

Roy Rogers Congressional Plaza -1960's

In the mid-1970's my family and I used to go every Sunday to Roy Rogers Restaurant.. It was one of the  bonding activities, that my father chose to do to  keep us together after my mother died.   We usually went to a midday Sunday  mass, and then  we would drive to the Congressional Plaza in Rockville, MD to the Roy Rogers there. I would always  have a Coke, Fries and a burger. My brother would always get the Roast Beef Sandwich. I don't remember what my sister would get. Originally, the chain had girls in fancy cowgirl  miniskirts out on the floor, cleaning the tables, that was kind of cool.

Vintage  Roy Roger Commercial from Youtube

The 1970's and 1980's  were the golden age of Roy Rogers Restaurants. Their food was a cut above other fast food chains, and I think that  was true of most of the food I ate there, though the chicken was not as good as KFC.   Roy Rogers  were owned by the Marriott Corporation, which at the time was known primarily for it's restaurants until it sold or shut  them all down to focus on providing mediocre food for airlines.   In 1990, Marriott sold Roy's to Hardee's, a lower quality fast food restaurant, that excelled at breakfast and little else. 

Hardee's  quickly switched most of the Roy Rogers Restaurants to  the Hardee's brand name, which was greeted with wide disdain, to the point where many of the switched Hardee's had to be switched back to the Roy Rogers nameplate.  But the damage was done, and eventually most of the Roy  Rogers leases  were sold off to other restaurant chains.  Surprisingly, today, Roy Rogers  still exists in a much smaller chain, it is now owned by the sons of one of the men who created the chain.

Posted originally April 2012 by J.C. Bernhardt

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