Kewanee Sandy's opened in 1965. It opened with much excitement on the main highway on the southern edge of town. Kewanee was most likely thought of as too small in the early years of the drive-in franchise but now was a welcome addition to the community and quickly became a popular place to visit. Today, August 2004, the building itself still stands and houses La Gondola restaurant, maintaining the strong food establishment foundation laid by Sandy's some thirty-six years ago. When Kewanee Sandy's turned into Hardees, they later eventually moved rather than tearing the building down, thankfully leaving it preserved now some three decades later.
Here is a picture of Kewanee Sandy's today. The first picture is a shot from the back and it shows a unique view of the back roof facade taken off. The view of the picture appears that Sandy's had changed into the new Sandy's concept building or perhaps Hardees when it took over Sandy's, changed into the building. The walk up drive-in building itself is most likely still within the building shown here, however it has been build around and is no longer recognizable as the classic it once was.
The following color picture was found among the previous four black and white photos and appears to be an unknown Sandy's location. Its roof fins are clearly shorter and the upper glass above the winter frontage doors is also missing. The picture is dated July 1974 so it was most likely a franchisee who did not immediately turn into Hardees in 1972 with the majority of the corporation. Other Sandy's were successfully operating at the same time as well such as Muscatine, Iowa which did not switch until 1976 or 1977 and Peoria, Illinois which was open at least until 1974. This is an excellent picture providing the color scheme as well as showing a Sandy's late in the existance of the franchise, still with the classic fins and possibly no indoor seating. The classic architecture of the walk up drive-in can clearly be seen as it has only been enclosed by the winter cover (the glass doors).
Ruth Aldridge is a Sandy's fan & she remembers how fantastic it was!
Just wanted to tell you I lived in Kewanee when Sandy's was going strong. They were the best hamburgers ever. Fast food today just doesn’t taste like it did then. Specially down here in Texas. Nothing can beat the corn fed beef of Illinois.
My son lives in Moline and he sent me Bill Wundram's column about Sandy's. It brought back good memories. Ruth Aldridge Texas
Sandy's fan Tom May remembers Sandy's!
Your website is great... I remember many stories about Sandys and grew up with the founder's kids in Kewanee. One of my favorite ones concerns the store they opened in Kewanee. They made it bigger so they could train managers and new employees and they were certain that it would be loser, but wanted it in Kewanee anyway. They were surprised when it became one of their better locations and that's when they started moving into smaller towns!
I run a bar and grill here in Kewanee and over our waitress station I have a Sandy's Globe given to me by Fred White. Another story that might be correct is just how they arrived at the name Sandys Paul White's wife was Bonnie and that could have been the name, but she vetoed the idea and I thought Sandy was the name of a friend's daughter ( Bill Kiddo) they then decided to use.
02/14/2009 ... Sandy's fan Gary Rodriguez -in 60s known as Chi-Chi - wrote;
Thanks for hosting the Sandy's nostalgia site. I had the priviledge of working during my high school years at the Tenny St. Kewanee location 1966 - 70 and the Honeywell 120 Computer at Sandy's corporate offices from 1968 - 71, until the draft. So I had the priviledge of meeting many of Sandy's founders, managers and trainees and following their careers for awhile. I still value those "rabid entrepreneurs" and have tried to emulate them throughout my life. For example, both generations of the Sandy's buildings were designed by Bob Armstrong, who was a character in his own right. It was an inspiration to watch his vision of the new "mini" take shape, although that isn't what he called it.
Thanks also to the Star Courier article which was forwarded to me by Mom.
The following picture is the Kewanee Sandy’s at 425 Tenney St., as it looked shortly after opening in 1965 with walkup serving windows and signature wooden “fins” giving the fast food restaurant a contemporary look. The store was later enclosed for inside dining. The entire front of the structure has now been enclosed after becoming LaGondola Spaghetti House in 1998. Note the Piggly Wiggly supermarket and S & H Green Stamp redemption center in the background. - Special thanks to Columnist Dave Clarke and the Kewanee Star Courier. Don't forget to scroll the page to see the rest of the picture including the incredible Sandy's sign!
The Kewanee Sandy’s at 425 Tenney St., as it looked shortly after opening in 1965 with walkup serving windows and signature wooden “fins” giving the fast food restaurant a contemporary look. The store was later enclosed for inside dining. The entire front of the structure has now been enclosed after becoming LaGondola Spaghetti House in 1998. Note the Piggly Wiggly supermarket and S & H Green Stamp redemption center in the background. - Special thanks to Columnist Dave Clarke and the Kewanee Star Courier