Sandy's 1419 - 38th Street, Rock Island, Illinois

Sandy's 1419 - 38th Street, Rock Island, Illinois

special thanks to the Rock Island, Illinois library archives

Opened on Wednesday June 28th, 1967 (two days before the grand opening), Sandy's in Rock Island, Illinois still exists as a Hardees today in 2004 thanks to the excellent placement of the restaurant in the community.

The original Sandy's still stands but it unrecognizable as Sandy's. The beams and fins are completely covered by facade. In the above picture, featured in 1967 in the Rock Island Argus before Sandy's grand opening, one can see the original classic Sandy's building, complete with sign and fins, however it is encompassed by what is known as the winter cover. This is a glass covering which surrounded the original walk-up drive-in concept and provided shelter for patrons as well as indoor seating. This was neccessary due to increasing competition in the fast food industry as well as the fact that it was the right thing to do for sales during inclimate weather.

Located in both a residential as well as commercial area, this Sandy's was near Augustana College, a national college famous for its football teams. It was also located close to an International Harvester Plant which undoubtedly gave the workers their favorite place to eat on the way to and from work. Rock Island Sandy's employeed about thirty part time workers. By now, Sandy's was operating in twenty states and this was the 129th location!

Ted Vlahos was the owner of Sandy's Rock Island. He was the owner of the incredibly successful Moline, Illinois location and had the rights to open Sandy's on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River in the Iowa/Illinois Quad City area. Ted was a business genious. One of his principles was to appeal to children. He knew that if they started early in life eating at his restaurants, he had a customer for life due to his high standards of service and quality food.

One way he reached children was through in store special promotions. Another was by advertising on local children's television programming. Mr. Vlahos advertised on the wildly popular Captain Ernie's showboat on local powerhouse television station WOC-TV.

Captain Ernie's showboat featured Captain Ernie (Mr. Ernie Mimms), a cast of characters including a hand puppet who daily gave away a case of Mountain Dew, classic Bugs Bunny shorts as well as the Three Stooges. Mr. Vlahos chose to be a sponsor on Captain Ernie's showboat and became lifelong friends with Mr. Mimms. When Mr. Vlahos was ready to open his Rock Island Sandy's location, he called upon Captain Ernie to appear at the grand opening.

Ted's new location stole the momentum from the blocks away newly opened Mr. Quick Hamburgers as well as the nearby established Henry's Drive-In location drawing families from a ninety mile radius during the grand opening!

Also on hand for the grand opening was the current reigning Miss Moline, Pamela Hasselbusch, and a chance to meet Miss Sandy herself! Balloons and sixteen bicycles were given away free - one every hour on the hour starting at 12 noon to 7 p.m. during the grand opening. The lucky winners were seven boys, seven girls and two adults who received tandum bikes!

Below is an advertisement from this location which included Sandy's greatest promotion, the Sandy's Scottish dancing girl glass. In this promotion, one would receive the glass full of Sandy's famous triple thick shake just by purchasing a burger and french fry! These glasses can be found occasionally on ebay for anywhere between $4 and $10. There is another glass as well which features the newer Sandy's girl icon head on it from the early 1970s.

Sandy's continued the competition against McDonalds with this ad encouraging families with the benefits of eating out. The caption at the bottom of the ad reads: Think about it.. doesn't the family deserve a night out? (This ad ran around 1970 and was a take-off on McDonald's successful "you deserve a break today" campaign). If they do they deserve all the good eatin waiting at Sandy's - hamburgers, fries, soft drinks, shakes, our famous Super Sandwiches, the Hilo and Big Scot - and prices that don't take the fun out of eating out. (Sandy's theme at the time was (Sandy's puts the fun into eating out"). See for yourself... soon.. at Sandy's.

Sandy's continued their theme of "come as you are.. hungry" into the 1970's. The character in the bathtub represents that no matter where you are or what you are doing, when you are hungry, go immediately to Sandy's. The character is also singing the theme which actually was a jingle on Sandy's television and radio commercials.

This is a picture of Rock Island's walk-up window. Rock Island Sandy's started as a walk-up and later converted to sit down seating.

Steve Moller from Rock Island is not only a Sandy's fan, he won the local Sandy's 1970 Pass, Dribble and Shoot competition which was a nationwide event! Steve shares a copy of the local advertisement and shares some information regarding his accomplishment.

I'm from RI I won the pass, dribble shoot contest back about 1970 that was sponsored by Sandy's. I think I still have my awards. The building is the Hardees on 38th street and 14th ave. The letter I received from Sandy's was signed by Tom Kettleson the manager.

- Steve

Special thanks to Sandy's fan Sam Graham;

(Article from qconline.com recognizing Sandy's history in this structure)

R.I. Hardee's to be re-built, down-sized

By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

ROCK ISLAND (11/8/07) - In the fast-food world of super-sizing, a new Hardee's restaurant will be dieting.

Debuting its nationwide prototype for leaner, more efficient stores, Hardee's plans to build a smaller restaurant by early next year to replace its 40-year-old building at 1419 38th St.

A request by franchisee Star Restaurants, Inc., Moline, will be heard Wednesday by the Rock Island Board of Zoning Appeals. A new 2,500-square-foot-restaurant will be built just south of the existing 3,659-square-foot store.

"There have been only three or four built across the country so far, with the closest one an hour from Minneapolis," Star Restaurants president Jeff Reddig said Thursday. There are more than 1,900 Hardee's nationwide.

"The buildings are more efficient now, with smaller kitchens," he said. "It allows us to use less space." The new store seating capacity will be about 72, which is 25 fewer than the current location, Mr. Reddig said.

The existing building originally was a Sandy's, a burger chain bought by Hardee's in 1972. At that time, drive-through ordering was not as popular as today, Mr. Reddig said.

Drive-through now represents 60 percent of Hardee's business overall - even more at 38th Street - reducing the need for inside seating, he said.

"People are so much on the go, they eat in their cars," Mr. Reddig said. Star Restaurants - which owns 10 Hardee's locations in northwest Illinois - will see how the new format does and may replace other local restaurants.

Hardee's made national news a few years ago with a rollout of its "monument to decadence" - the "Monster Thickburger," which has 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat.

The Monster includes two one-third-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame-seed bun.

The Rock Island store will stay open while the new one is built, with about two weeks down time during the transition. The drive-through still will have one window, but the area outside will be larger to allow more cars to be served, including an express lane, Mr. Reddig said.

Hardee's likely will add some employees to its 35-worker roster in the new building, he said. The restaurant will remain 24 hours a day, with drive-through only after 10 p.m.

If you have any memorabilia, pictures or stories of Sandy's in Rock Island, Illinois, the Quad Cities or elsewhere, please email me!