08 May, 2010

Traces of the Past (A Photo Essay)

OK, here's a post about KFC that has nothing whatsoever to do with Double Downs.

KFC has had kind of a checkered past in my hometown, with restaurants opening and closing, coming and going as taste (and the real estate market) changes.

Photo (c) Google
The first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant that I remember in town was on US 5 in North Thompsonville.  After KFC closed, it became a fish market.  There were lobster tanks running along the north side of the building (behind the big window on the left in the picture.)  After the fish market moved, the landlord - a garage/filling station located across the street) never rented it out again. They use it as a parking lot for vehicles in various states of disrepair, but the building is still recognizable as a former "classic" KFC.

Photo (c) Google
Then there was Kentucky Roast Beef.  You might not even remember that chain, but I remember them for the really massive roast beef sandwiches, and how the roast beef was the real deal, and not that chopped/compressed/loaf-shaped garbage that somehow passes for "roast beef" these days. It was a short-lived experiment round these parts, though, and the building stood empty for a few years before it was bought by a graphic arts printing and design company.  Nowadays, it's a convenience store, but it still retains the overall lines of a Kentucky Roast Beef.

This really doesn't have anything to do with KFC itself, but outside the restaurant I saw what might very well be the last functional Yugo in the state of Connecticut.  (I was going to say "New England" but I bet there are at least a handful of these up in Maine and New Hampshire, beat to hell but still running, being used as disposable tote-road vehicles in the woods.)

Anyway, after Kentucky Roast Beef closed their doors, the Colonel must have decided that Enfield was more trouble than it was worth, because it was a long time before they were back.  A new strip mall was developed on Route 190, and the developers set the stores back a way from the road and sell "pad sites" up by the street for fast food places. We got a McDonald's (our third, hooray for us I guess,) a Dunkin' Donuts, a Taco Bell, and a D'Angelo's sandwich place.  And a combination A&W - Kentucky Fried Chicken. The KFC side did well, but the A&W part never really got off the ground, thanks to a lease restriction:  McDonald's lease claimed exclusive rights to selling burgers at that strip mall, and A&W didn't find out until they were forced to pull all the burgers from the menu after they opened.  Root beer and hot dogs weren't enough to keep the logo on the walls, so eventually, A&W  gave up and moved every bit of their stuff out - except the single piece of furniture in this picture -  the "Mug Return" station - which waits patiently for the mugs which will never come back.



tree ocean said...

Interesting! Strange to see the derelict lot the former KFC has become. Some convenience stores around here change hands and names but stay basically the same store. You can tell how long someone has been around by which name someone calls it. One store was Stickney Corner, Pinger's, C& S..and several other things since but I still call it C&S from about ten years ago...

Jenny said...

I saw a Yugo here in Seattle few days ago. It looked fine.