Looking Back: Say, Didn't That Used to Be A&W Root Beer?

Businesses come and go. But buildings…well, they come and go too.  But more often than not, they are re-purposed for new businesses many times during their existence.  Particularly interesting is when a new business moves into a distinctly designed franchise building. There are many examples of this around town, but it was really brought to my attention not long ago when driving down Meridian near Fruitdale Avenue.  As I approached Fruitdale heading north on Meridian, I saw four buildings (two on each side of the street) that had all been re-purposed. On the left was what had originally been a Wienerschnitzel and a Mister Donut, and on the right was what had been a Taco Bell and a A&W Root Beer restaurant.  They have all been converted to different restaurants, so I thought that it would be fun to revisit them while enjoying offerings from their original menus. 

 

Image:  On the left I'm enjoying a mug of A&W root beer in front of the old A&W building which is now home to Mr. Chau's. On the right, I'm enjoying a coffee and donut in front of the old Mister Donut building. Previously an H.Salt Esq. Fish & Chips franchise, it is now a Subway.   Photos ©Ralph M. Pearce.

Image:  On the left I'm enjoying a mug of A&W root beer in front of the old A&W building which is now home to Mr. Chau's. On the right, I'm enjoying a coffee and donut in front of the old Mister Donut building. Previously an H.Salt Esq. Fish & Chips franchise, it is now a Subway. Photos ©Ralph M. Pearce.

 

Image: Enjoying a Wienerschnitzel hot dog in front of the iconic Wienerschnitzel building. The structure was more recently home to The Flying Falafel at 919 Meridian Avenue. According to sjpermits.org, this and several properties south are slated to be the future home of a three-story medical-dental building with ground floor retail. Photos ©Ralph M. Pearce.

Image: Enjoying a Wienerschnitzel hot dog in front of the iconic Wienerschnitzel building. The structure was more recently home to The Flying Falafel at 919 Meridian Avenue. According to sjpermits.org, this and several properties south are slated to be the future home of a three-story medical-dental building with ground floor retail. Photos ©Ralph M. Pearce.

 

Image: I conclude my nostalgic fast-food-fest with a crunchy Taco Bell taco in front the old Taco Bell building, which has been operating as a Thaibodia restaurant (closed in June).  Photos ©Ralph M. Pearce.

Image: I conclude my festive fast-food-frenzy with a crunchy Taco Bell taco in front the old Taco Bell building, which had been operating as a Thaibodia restaurant (closed in June). Photos ©Ralph M. Pearce.

 

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Comments

I love this! I live right around the corner and have recognized the building architecture as something else but with a different business inside.

to see what replaces the Thaibodia, and I guess we'll be losing the Wienerschitzel building...

Great post, Ralph!

I loved the Flying Falafel. sorry the indie delicious fast food didn't last. Sad that a medical building will replace the former Der Wienershitzel bldg.

to see what's in the new retail spaces though...

And my elementary school friend's dad used to own it way back in the day. (But then again he could have been the manager or something similar but I distinctly remember Robert saying "oh yea, my dad owns it", who knows)

I remember getting root beer floats there back in the '80s.

Also, the last owners of H. Salt have re-opened it as Harbor Fish and Chips in San Jose, http://www.harborfishandchips.com/html/story.html It's the same exact place, just in a different location, same newspapers on the cart, same help yourself condiments, same owners. I was told that they lost their lease and the corporate office in L.A.wanted to charge them to use the name H. Salt Fish and Chips, they didn't want to, so they moved.

Thanks for the update on the fish & chips folks. We had an H. Salt Esq. near us in the Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center in the late 1960s/70s.

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