Did You Know Illinois’ Oldest Fast Food Joint isn’t McDonald’s?
Is it just me or didn't we all think McDonald's was Illinois' oldest fast food joint?
I've heard the story countless times about Ray Croc, the Des Plaines location, and 1955 I didn't think it was possible there was another fast food joint older than the original McDonald's franchise.
Turns out, I was wrong.
Fully expecting to see McDonald's listed as Illinois' oldest fast food joint in a recent article from LoveFood via MSN, what I got was something altogether different.
It was a restaurant I was completely unaware of, in a town I've only visited a few times in my life.
I mean, I did go to Springfield as a child to see the state's capital and all that good stuff, but I guess I should have begged to make a stop at the Cozy Dog Drive In.
That's because that tiny drive-in has been around longer than McDonald's and it's officially the oldest fast food joint in Illinois.
Founded in 1946, this retro restaurant on historic Route 66 has a lengthy fast food-oriented menu, but the main attraction is its signature Cozy Dog, which is essentially an early version of the now-familiar corn dog. Ed Waldmire started toying with recipes for corn batter-coated deep fried hot dogs on a stick back in the 1940s and they’ve continued to be a favorite in Illinois.
Is Waldmire and the Cozy Dog the inventor of the corn dog?
The story goes like this, Waldmire was in Oklahoma and he had a hot dog baked inside cornbread, but thought it took too long to make.
So according to Bar-S:
He (Waldmire) told his friend Don Strand about it, and Don, whose dad was in the bakery business, got to work coming up with a recipe that would become the modern battered and deep-fried corn dog. After years of perfecting their recipe, they launched cozy dogs in 1946. Would you say they really invented the corn dog, though, or just perfected it?
I guess we'll never know who for sure invented corn dogs, but I can at least tell you we know for certain that Cozy Dog Drive In, 2935 South 6th Street in Springfield, is Illinois' oldest fast food joint.