Special Report

Original Locations of Famous Restaurants That Still Exist

Courtesy of Maria E. via Yelp

Some chain restaurants seem like they’ve always been around, and always will be. But just like all restaurants, even the biggest chains started out with one single location – and in some cases you can still visit them today. (These are America’s 30 oldest restaurant chains.)

Some chains are so associated with a specific place that the location of its founding is obvious – Margaritaville in Key West and In-N-Out in Southern California, for example. But many chains are designed in a way that either is intentionally misleading about their origins (Outback Steakhouse was founded in Florida, not Australia, for example), leans into the local community (like Applebee’s putting photos of local high school sports teams on the walls), or actively avoids any time of place-based association. (Here, though, are some regional restaurant chains we wish were nationwide.)

When the original location of a now-ubiquitous restaurant chain still exists, it can be fun to visit. While some of the survivors have been updated and remodeled to align with current designs, others have been left pretty much as is, or remodeled to look like they did when they first opened.

To compile a list of original chain restaurant locations that are still open, 24/7 Tempo reviewed chain restaurant lists and histories on USA Today, Eat This Not That, Mental Floss, Taste of Home, Reader’s Digest, and Delish, and verified information when possible on the chains’ own websites. 

Click here to see original chain restaurant locations that still exist

In most cases, the locations on this list still serve their original purpose, though menus have evolved over the years and facilities have been remodeled and upgraded. Two of the addresses here now function not as operating restaurants but as museums – one official, one unofficial – themed around the restaurant chain whose original location they occupy. In another case, the original location was demolished but rebuilt as a larger replica of the original.

Source: Courtesy of Nick N. via Yelp

Chipotle Mexican Grill
> Year founded: 1993
> Original address: 1644 E. Evans Ave., Denver, CO


Source: Courtesy of Marie M. via Yelp

Jamba (Jamba Juice)
> Year founded: 1990
> Original address: 17 Chorro St., Suite C, San Luis Obispo, CA

Source: Courtesy of Candi R. via Yelp

Carrabba’s Italian Grill
> Year founded: 1986
> Original address: 3115 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Source: Courtesy of Grace K. via Yelp

Panda Express
> Year founded: 1983
> Original address: 3214 Glendale Galleria, Glendale, CA


Source: Courtesy of Travis B. via Yelp

Fuddruckers (Freddie Fuddruckers)
> Year founded: 1979
> Original address: 8602 Botts Lane, San Antonio, TX


Source: Courtesy of Bojangles' (Charlotte, NC) via Facebook

> Year founded: 1977
> Original address: 300 West Blvd., Charlotte, NC

Source: Courtesy of Chick-fil-A via Yelp

> Year founded: 1967
> Original address: 2841 Greenbriar Parkway SW, Atlanta, GA

Source: Courtesy of Wei C. via Yelp

Tim Hortons
> Year founded: 1964
> Original address: 65 Ottawa St. N., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Source: Courtesy of Vincent L. via Yelp

Dunkin’ (Dunkin’ Donuts)
> Year founded: 1950
> Original address: 543 Southern Artery, Quincy, MA

Source: Courtesy of Christie L. via Yelp

Waffle House
> Year founded: 1955
> Original address: 2719 E. College Ave., Avondale Estates, GA (Waffle House Museum)


Source: Courtesy of Karole W. via Yelp

Sonic Drive-In
> Year founded: 1953 (as Top-Hat Drive-In), 1959 (as Sonic Drive-In)
> Original address: 215 N. Main St., Clearwater, OK (first location under the Sonic name)

Source: Courtesy of Christie L. via Yelp

> Year founded: 1952
> Original address: 3890 S. State St., Salt Lake City, UT (rebuilt at the original location)

Source: Courtesy of Maria E. via Yelp

> Year founded: 1940
> Original address: 1398 No. E St., San Bernardino, CA (Juan Pollo Restaurants headquarters and unofficial McDonald’s Museum)


Krispy Kreme
> Year founded: 1937
> Original address: 534 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC

Nathan’s Famous
> Year founded: 1916
> Original address: 1310 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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