Sandy's Sheridan Road, Peoria, Illinois

Sandy's Sheridan Road, Peoria, Illinois

Peoria Sandy's Sheridan Road was Sandy's number one. It opened on August 8th, 1958 and was originally planned to be one of the first McDonalds east of the Mississippi River. Ray Krok, however, changed the leasing agreement to his favor when the building was being built. The founders of Sandy's were not happy with the new terms which were violations of the original contract. They decided to follow the McDonald's playbook and open their own drive-in and called it Sandy's which is a Scottish play on the Irish McDonalds and to present a theme of swift and thrift service.

This is the Sandy's Sheridan Road location which was Sandy's number one. Here you can see how the location looked before it switched to Hardees.

The choice of Peoria turned out to be a great one and by 1961 there were three Sandy's locations in the city which were incredibly popular. Supported by Peoria's numerous high schools as well as Bradley University, they became powerhouse businesses and Sandy's was on its way spreading across the nation and becoming a dominant force in the fast food industry. Sandy's participated in media advertising with both television and radio commercials. The radio commercials from 1959 thru 1962 are featured on Peoria's favorite radio station WIRL AM 1290 and can be found on their website www.thebig1290.com or by clicking on the link to their files here

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Sandy's Peoria was not only the birthplace of the chain but it also was the spearhead of the transition between Hardees and Sandy's. Sandy's was in need of capital for expansion as well as to keep up with the leading fast food rivals in the nation. Based in Kewanee, Illinois, Sandy's had one bank for financing. McDonalds, on the other hand was based in Chicago and had many of the most powerful banks in the world to choose from to finance their expansion plans. In order to compete, Sandy's had to either issue stock or merge with a competitor. Hardees, on the other hand, needed Sandy's strength, which was its board of directors and had plenty of capital. The merger made total sense. Sandy's was to maintain its image and remain a seperate company.

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Brick Lundberg, founder of Sandy's, saw what was happening in the industry in the early 1970s. Local fast food restaurants such as Mr. Quick had problems due to lack of capital. Brick did not want the Sandy's franchisee's eventually lose everything they had worked for and came back from retirement in 1972 to convince the franchisees to switch over to Hardees. In this rare amazing historical picture, we see Brick Lundberg, one of the founders (on the left), Paul White another of the original founders (on the right) and franchiseer Bo Batchelder (on the ladder) switching one of the Peoria locations from Sandy's over to Hardees.

The switch was not immediate for all locations. The merger itself was announced in December of 1971. At some point, most likely in 1972, Sandy's decided that it was in its interest to allow Hardees to buy the corporation out and become one. The picture above was taken on May 15th, 1973. Ninety percent of Sandy's by this point had converted into Hardees. A few locations such as the Muscatine, Iowa Sandy's remained Sandy's well into the late 1970's! Other locations became independant operators such as Bucky's in Lawrence Kansas which continues to this day in 2004! Notice the Hardees "H" at the top of the sign as well as the Sandy's name. Welcome to Hardees goodbye Sandy's and it was never the same again.

Yet another rare historical picture of the merger of Sandy's and Hardees. This is the Sandy's sign which has now become Hardees charco broiled burgers. No longer Hamburgers 15. No longer Thrift and Swift. Those days were gone forever.

Drive into Sandy's in your new 1967 Mustang!

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Rebecca Gillespie not only remembers Sandy's, she grew up eating at the original location on Sheridan Road in Peoria!

I remember as a young child, around 1959, my parents use to take my brother and I to the Sandy's on Sheridan in Peoria, Illinois. My dad use to love the milk shakes and my brother and I, of course, loved the burgers and fries and the ice cold soda. I also remember my mother promising to take me to Sandys if I wouldn't cry when she took me to the dentist, as long as I was able to eat afterwards.

We always looked forward to going to Sandy's as a treat to the whole family, we couldn't afford a lot, but Sandy's was one resturaunt we could afford. I remember the hamburgers were only 15 cents and fries were 10 cents, I don't really remember how much the drinks were. We always sat in the car and ate. Those were happy memories for me.

Rebecca James Gillespie

Chillicothe, Illinois

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UPDATE! 11/17/04... Special thanks to Sandy's fan Laird Carter who sent the following information regarding Sandy's today in Peoria, Illinois!

If you don't already know, I thought I would bring you up-to-date. Of the original Sandy's locations turned into Hardee's in the Peoria area, only one (the Sandy's #1) is presently occupied. It was remodeled a few years ago into a Dairy Queen. All the rest of the buildings are now empty, even the one in Creve Coeur. The Creve Coeur Hardee's/Sandy's closed shortly after they instituted a "no smoking" policy this past year. Before that, groups would have formal and informal "dinner" meetings there, since there was a smoking area.

McDonald's have taken over Peoria, with some of them being as close as a mile away from each other, which is really a sad state of affairs. Having graduated from Peoria High School in 1951, I have seen the rise and fall of fast food in the area! Good luck with your website. I am glad I found it thru Roadfood.com - Laird

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Great website. I spent many afternoons and evenings as a kid in the back of our station wagon enjoying a Sandy's hamburger while soaking in the bright neon S-H-O-P .....SHOP! over at Sheriden Village. In my day, Sandy's was the high road of fast food, while McDonald's customers were looked down on.

Listening to a WIRL commercial which listed locations, there is a Hardees still operating on McClure between Knoxville and North Roads. Thanks! mm

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Larry Ware remembers when Sandy's was the best!

What a great website!!

As a native Peorian our family ate at the Sandy's Drive-In on McClure near Linn St. I have in my collection two old Sandy's glasses (clear glass -small) with the "Scottish Lassie" on them. I also have some Sandy's "Quick Chiller" blue plastic cups (12 oz.) that they gave away in the early seventies just before they sold out to Hardees.

Also, my oldest brother worked at the first Sandy's restaurant on Sheridan Rd. across from Sheridan Village back in 1959. The restaurant is now a DQ but you can still see the original Sandy's building framework inside of the glass enclosed structure.

If you were watching Channel 47's "At Issue" last week you would have heard the WIRL Robyn Weaver Sandy's Lent commercial playing at the end of the program. I was a guest on the program with Lee Ranson and Lee Malcolm (both WIRL former DJs) talking about some of the history of WPEO and WIRL radio.

Lee Ranson said (on that program) that Sandy's outsold McDonalds 10 to 1 during the height of their popularity. I have a taped copy of it.

Larry Ware

Peoria, IL

Larry not only ate at the Peoria McClure Sandy's growing up, he also lives close to the original Sandy's #1 Sheridan Road, Peoria location! Larry explains that the original Sheridan location still exists & has been converted to a Dairy Queen. The incredible part is the original wooden beams which hold up the roof fins are still being used by DQ! As a matter of fact, the entire main structure of the building is most likely just covered up with facade! IN OTHER WORDS, SHERIDAN ROAD, SANDY'S POWERHOUSE #1 LOCATION .. THE ORIGINAL SANDY'S IS READY TO GO WITH RESTORATION! WHO WOULD EVER GUESS THAT THE ORIGINAL BUILDING STILL EXISTS!!!!

Here are the DQ photos showing the first Sandys Drive-In location on Sheridan Rd. across from Sheridan Village in Peoria, IL. The DQ management very graciously gave me permission to take these photos. I'm happy to say that the current operation is very well run. The store was clean and the help friendly - a real tribute to the Sandys heritage. (Also, I had a chocolate shake while I was there and I have to say they are the best shakes in Peoria and not unlike the old Sandys ones in taste!!)

The Sandys exterior framework is still intact, although now fully enclosed to allow for interior seating.

It's funny how, when you live right in the back yard of something that you take it for granted. I think I've only eaten at this DQ once or twice. I did go to this location when it was Sandys and then later Hardees. The Hardees management left the building as it appears in the early 70's shot on your Sheridan Rd. picture (very first picture on this page) with the windows appearing joined to the large wooden framework. The original Sandys was just the small, glass "boxed in" arrangement with the heavy wooden beams supporting the roof as the older Sandys pictures on your website appear.

The famous "Sheridan Village" circa 1955 still exists right across the street from this current Dairy Queen (I almost shot a picture of it). On the WIRL radio commercials you always hear the Sheridan Rd. Sandys location with the reference to "across from Sheridan Village." This Sandys location was just swamped with business during the Christmas shopping season from shoppers at Sheridan Village. We would avoid it at during those times.

Hope you enjoy these (and I know where our family is eating Friday night!!)

Larry

Sandy's Sheridan Road lives! Check out the Sandy's hardwood beam!

Check out the beautiful hardwood side beams inside of Sheridan Sandy's. There are three sets of beams inside which held up Sandy's trademark roof fins! The interior wood also matches the beams which may indicate that they are original Sandy's fare as well!

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Special thanks to the archives at the Peoria, Illinois Public Library.

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