July 21 – National Junk Food Day salute to Amsterdam

2487815735_e9c101e288July 21 is National Junk Food Day. I’ve always equated junk food with fast food franchises which got me thinking about all of the fast food joints Amsterdam has seen come and go in my lifetime. I guess the first fast food franchise to locate in Amsterdam was the White Tower hamburger restaurant that used to be located on the northwest corner of Church and Main Streets. Who remembers when the Mike’s Submarine shop opened up on the corner of Market and Main? It was among the first six or seven locations in the chain started by Albany entrepreneur Stanley “Mike” Uzdavinis. My family used to eat subs for dinner back then about twice a month and I’ll always remember that a Mike’s Sub was the very first time I ever had shredded lettuce and oil added to a sandwich.  I believe Carrol’s Hamburger’s was the next fast food franchise to come to our area and also the first one to locate on what is now known as the Route 30 Miracle Mile north of the city. Carrol’s fifteen cent hamburgers and fifteen cent bags of french fries destroyed any hope I had of developing healthy eating habits as a teenager. My first Carrol’s hamburger was the first time I ever ate a hamburger with tiny diced-up grilled onions, mustard and a pickle added to my usual topping preference of ketchup. I think Red Barn was next and I used to love their “Whaler” fish sandwich. Speaking of fish, we can’t forget Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips, which stood where Liberty Fresh Market is now located. McDonald’s of course became this town’s dominant fast food destination as soon as it opened its doors on Market maxresdefaultStreet sometime in 1975. I believe Kentucky Fried Chicken opened about the same time as it became regrettably more and more fashionable to destroy Market Hill residential properties in the name of progress. When the downtown mall opened it added Mister B’s, Orange Julius and a Pizza Hut to our urban landscape. By then, the Carrol’s location on Route 30 had become a Burger King. Domino’s became the second pizza franchise in our community and remember when the new KMart store opened it also had a Little Caesar’s? Though Mike’s is long gone we can now get our subs from Subway and for a while we even had a Quizno’s. We also once had a Hardee’s that was converted into this area’s second McDonald’s before closing, getting demolished and becoming a new Hoffman’s Car Wash. Now we have a Taco Bell, Wendy’s, two Dunkin Donuts, Moe’s, Menche’s Yogurt, and Panera’s. Recovery Room is a chain as is Ruby Tuesday’s but both have upscale menus compared to the “order off the wall” offerings all of the above meal purveyors featured. It was reported that Sonics was coming here but now I’ve heard that they’ve backed out. Have I missed any fast food franchises from Amsterdam’s past or present?



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