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The 1970s and 80s Restaurants We Ate At As Kids

80s Restaurants include Hot dog on a stick

Check out some of the 1970s and 80 restaurants Gen Xers ate at as kids. Which one was your favorite? Among this selection, mine was Hot Dog On A Stick. There was one at OKC’s Penn Square Mall back in the 1990s. I loved their hallmark lemonade and it was always fun to see the workers in those funny tall hats. According to the Hot Dog On A Stick website, those hats were so highly coveted by people that employees were required to leave them in the store.

LaShea Delaney writes about her experience working at the fast food joint in late 1990s in the Santa Monica Mall.

“All Hot Dogs on A Stick are very similar in design — they all have the red, blue, and lemon-yellow sign, the three jugs that prominently display the cherry, lime and original flavored lemonade — and give off an air of “enthusiasm”. The deep fryers, therefore, are off to the side, hidden behind a very useful barrier that keeps customers from being burned by hot oil. The best thing about Hot Dog on A Stick is the staff uniforms: a pair of eclectic blue polyester shorts, a striped, red, white, blue and yellow shirt, and a hat that sits on the top of your head like a flattened dunce cap. Every stand of hair must be tucked in that cap and your name tag must be attached to the front…”

Favorite 1970s and 80s Restaurants

My Favorites

My favorite 80s restaurant was probably Monterrey House in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and Warr Acres, Oklahoma. In Warr Acres, it was located on NW 39th Street and was a frequent stop during my college years. Jeanie, my college roommate, and I went frequently. They had great food. I also went there once or twice with Joe when he’d drive me home to Bartlesville from our high school in Southeast Kansas.

I will be gradually adding more photos 1970s and 80s restaurants to this gallery so check back soon. Also, you might enjoy this post I wrote about Molly Murphy’s House of Fine Repute, a popular Oklahoma City restaurant during the 1980s and 1990s.

Special thanks to the following for screenshots and/or submissions:
Retro Roadside Photo
Debbie Schlussel
Lost Laurel
BurgerMafia on Flickr
French Fry Diary
Columbusin Pro Boards

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Anonymous

    I wish Hardee’s would go back to their “”Nostalgic “” restaurant. They were so inviting, and the hamburgers smelled so good cooked on the charcoal. They are cold and impersonal today.

    • Jennifer X

      All the Hardee’s have disappeared in Oklahoma, it seems.

  2. Charles lacey

    There is still a sambos in lincoln city oregon. We stop there whenever we go to the beach.

  3. Ginger Peters

    My childhood restaurant visits, here in Ashland, KY, ran the gamut from “The BBF”, “Burger Chef”, “Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips” (Oh my word, those pronto pups in that fish breading were divine) “Crisp Dairy Cheer”(the home of the BEST footlong hotdogs on earth, still going strong to THIS DAY), “Long John Silver’s Seafood Shop” ( my Dad liked to tease me & call it Seafood Silver’s Long John Shop. He also called a certain federal holiday “George Birthington’s Wash Day”) & finally a large, impressive place I’ve never seen since “King’s Table”. Back then, I’d only seen food laid out in a buffet style @ church homecomings. King’s Table was decorated in medieval decor. The doors looked like towers with battlements & everything was big & the seats were these carved, or molded, thrones !!! I’ll NEVER forget it. It went out of business when another restaurant, which was actually built like a castle, called ” Queen’s Castle” began undercutting them. Some time after they put each other out of business, we settled into a pattern of KFC, LJS & then McDonald’s.

    • Jennifer

      Great memories, Ginger. Thanks for sharing. Your dad and my dad had something in common. My dad loved to purposely mispronounce words and/or come up with his own version of something. He called Long John Silver’s Short John Slivers. LOL. Was your dad a member of the Silent Generation? Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Steven Schlah

    Since I somewhat grew up in Santa Barbara, I must set the record straight about the closing of the largest restaurant chain in the US. First, Sambo’s was not a racist name, but a contraction of the two original owners, SAM Batistone and BOhnett. The government closed them down due to labor / management irregularities. Finally, SB was a good place to start successful business chains, as evidenced by Motel 6, Carrows Restaurants, Rayne Soft Water, and Mountain Aire Sports.

    • Jennifer

      Thanks for the clarification, Steve. I do remember as a little girl backlit signs in restaurants of a tiger chasing a dark-skinned boy. I think some people interpreted these as racist. As a kid, I thought the boy was famous. =)

  5. Amy

    Nice to see some OKC places.. I miss the salad bar car at Molly Murphy’s. Also never ask where the bathroom is, the server would take you all over and tell people you had to go to the bathroom. The servers also were dressed up in awesome costumes- you could see Minnie Mouse, the Karate Kid, etc. Molly Murphy’s was open until the mid 1990’s before it closed. I don’t remember why though, it was always crowded. Another good place to eat was Taco Tico. There are still a few in Oklahoma last time I checked. Bonanza and Sirloin Stockade were also big back in the 1970’s and 80’s in Oklahoma. Great to see this site and all the memories! Another defining moment for our generation was the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. I heard the explosion and felt it, thought at first a plane had crashed from Tinker AFB, but when going outside to look, saw the smoke from the detonation. My friend Rebecca Anderson passed from that. The bombing is still the largest act of domestic terrorism in the U.S.; thus a part of legacy. Sorry for getting way off topic, but the memory popped into my head and thought I would share.


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