Original fast food locations you can still eat at today

As a fully functioning, red-blooded member of the human race, you've probably hunkered down on a two-piece box of craggy, pressure-fried chicken from KFC at least dozens, if not hundreds of times. But while you were marveling over the secrets of that original recipe of 11 herbs and spices, lazily mixing your instant gravy into your powdered mashed potatoes, or wondering just how any human hand could possibly manage to get the cabbage pieces in your slaw so incredibly tiny, did you ever stop to think about the FIRST outpost of one of your fast food favorites?

Turns out, many of the pioneer locations of some of our favorite fast food restaurants are still going strong, in full operation and slinging quick-service grub to legions of loyal fans, just as they have since the very beginning. Join us, won't you, on a journey from a gas station in Kentucky to a sideshow carnival in New York City, as we track down some of the original fast food locations you can still eat at today.

To visit the first KFC, you'll have to visit Kentucky — and possibly Utah

1002 W. Dixie Hwy, Corbin, KY

We begin our list with a bit of a contentious entry, since the path to tracking down the location of the world's first KFC depends a lot on who you ask. Or maybe it comes down to your definition of "first." According to Roadside America (and the national historical society of North Corbin, KY), the "birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken" is located inside Sanders Cafe, which is where the Colonel first developed the recipe for his signature chicken, and where the public first came to love it. Today, hungry diners can still feast on the chicken that put Corbin on the map, in a dark wood-paneled dining room populated with the original maple tables and chairs from the 1940s, and which is also home to a small collection of KFC and Colonel Sanders memorabilia.

"But, but, but," we can hear you saying, "That may be where Colonel Sanders first learned to cook his chicken, but where was the first actual KFC franchise location?" For that, you'll have to travel west, to Utah.

3890 S. State St., Murray, UT

You can still get a three-piece tenders basket (or anything else on the KFC menu) at the original franchise location, which opened in 1952, near Salt Lake City. A life-sized bronze statue of the Colonel — along with the original franchisee, Pete Harmon — greets hungry customers. Inside, you'll find a collection of additional Colonel Sanders memorabilia, including original posters, advertising, and that iconic white suit.

You can still eat at this retro-restyled original Dunkin' location

543 Southern Artery, Quincy, MA

Donuts stuffed with Oreo cookie frosting? Gigantic Styrofoam cups of "light and sweet" coffee, as big as your head? Frosty plastic buckets of ice cold Coolatas, impossibly tinted to match every color of the rainbow? Record amounts of microwaved breakfast meats? It all started right here, at the first ever location of Dunkin' Donuts, opened on the Southern Artery in Quincy, MA in 1950. Present-day visitors to the store's first location may not find cups of coffee for just a dime, but the location received a retro makeover in 2011 to honor the 1950s-era roots of the original. 

Here, you'll find a unique script logo emblazoned on the outside of the building, along with horseshoe-shaped counter service (complete with spinning chrome stools) inside. It's the only location where you'll find this retro revival; according to the Boston Globe, a spokesman from Dunkin' Donuts has promised that it won't approve any other throwback renovations in any of their other nearly 11,000 locations worldwide.

You can still get a Cherry Limeade at the original Sonic Drive-In

215 N Main St., Stillwater, OK

You know how anytime you see movies about the 1950s that were made in the 1980s, sooner or later there's going to be a scene at a drive-in hamburger stand where carhops wearing rollerskates and poodle skirts are gliding effortlessly around a parking lot, while carrying trays loaded with milkshakes and french fries? 

You guessed it. That was the scene at Sonic Drive-In, when it opened its first franchise location in Stillwater, OK in 1958. According to Roadside America, the original building was razed in 2015 to make way for more "modern" Sonic architecture, but the original sign advertising "Service at the Speed of Sound" has been preserved, and a newer building was erected in the same spot. As is unique to Sonic, anyone who dreams of eating fried mozzarella sticks while operating heavy machinery can still get service at this original location. Don't forget to check out the life-sized bronze statue of founder Troy N. Smith, where you can genuflect and pay your respects. Keep in mind that this wasn't actually the first drive-in owned by Smith, but it was the first one to be given the Sonic name… so there you go.

The nation's first Chipotle is still slinging burritos in Denver

1644 E Evans Ave., Denver, CO

Sometimes, we all get smacked in the mouth-feels with a furious hunger that can only be satisfied by a gigantic burrito the size of a newborn baby wrapped in tinfoil, and that's exactly where Chipotle has planted its flag on our fast food landscape. As one of the pioneers in fast-casual restaurant chains in the United States, the public's insatiable desire for Chipotle's unique blend of infinitely customizable burritos, fresh ingredients, and sometimes downright weird dining room music continues unfettered. And it turns out, it's been that way from the very beginning.

Well…almost. According to Bloomberg, the world's first Chipotle was located in a barely-functional block of buildings in a run-down neighborhood in downtown Denver. Multiple storefronts used the same water supply, which meant that if someone was getting a shampoo at the hair salon next door, Chipotle's fountain soda machine stopped working. Founder Steve Ells estimated that to stay in business, he'd need to sell 114 burritos per day. Soon, he was selling over ten times that many, out of a storefront that was basically broken half the time.

Lovers of the chain's mission-style burritos can still slide into the original location (renovated in 2017 to include, we presume, running water) for their Chipotle fix.

Visit the original Nathan's Famous, with a side order of sideshow freaks

1310 Surf Ave., Brooklyn NY

Even if you've never visited the original iconic Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Stand, smack on the boardwalk in the middle of New York's "Always in decline, never hitting bottom" Coney Island, you're probably familiar with the brand. In addition to a line of packaged hot dogs and condiments available in supermarkets nationwide, Nathan's Famous has sprawled out to include dozens of locations in finer highway rest areas, airports, and strip malls. And that's not to mention the Nathan's-sponsored annual hot dog eating contest, where each year thousands of people tune in to watch slender men eat dozens upon dozens of soggy, water-soaked hot dogs in the blistering heat of the Brooklyn sun.

Located right down the street from one of Coney Island's longest-operating sideshow and burlesque venues, hungry hot dog gobblers can rub elbows with sword swallowers, tattooed ladies, and some guy from Staten Island starting a fistfight, at the original location of Nathan's Famous, a sprawling, neon-soaked icon of Surf Avenue for over 100 years. That location took a big hit during Hurricane Sandy, but came back better than ever in 2013.

Dust off your passport, because the first Tim Hortons is north of the US border

65 Ottowa St. N, Hamilton, Canada

Americans will need to cross international borders in order to check out the birthplace of the Timbit, located about 45 minutes north of the border in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Road warriors who make the crossing out of Buffalo, New York, may find a surprise waiting for them in the gritty steel town of Hamilton, however. 

There's nothing left of the original Tim Hortons building, opened over 50 years ago in 1964. After receiving extensive renovations in 2015, this new, two-story glass-and-steel ode to Canadian pastry know-how has reopened as both a museum and store, where thirsty customers searching for a Tim's fix can celebrate the growth of the company from a single location, to an empire that dominates Canada's coffee business with more than 4,000 restaurants on both sides of the border. A box full of a dozen Maple Dips will never taste better than it does in this original location.

Take a pilgrimage to Florida to eat at the original Hooters

2800 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater FL

According to the official account of how Hooters came to be, its origins were simple. A game of Parcheesi, played by six Clearwater businessmen, evolved into a conversation about the potential for a new restaurant chain. Unable to agree on much of anything with regard to the restaurant's concept, these six men were able to agree on the foundational aspect of Hooters culture: Your incel uncle will always want to eat spicy chicken wings served by women wearing minimal clothing. And just like that, an empire (and briefly, even an airline) stretching globally over hundreds of restaurants was born.

Though Hooter's original concept may be changing somewhat, thanks to Millennials and their pesky declining interest in cleavage, you can still visit the original location in Clearwater, Florida, where the company serves its trademark combination of hospitality, low prices, and vinegary Buffalo wing sauce.

You can still get a sub from the original Blimpie... but you'll have to chase it

7th Avenue and Washington Street, Hoboken NJ

Quick… name the oldest submarine sandwich chain restaurant in America. If you guessed Subway, you're absolutely… wrong. In fact, it's Hoboken, NJ-based Blimpie, who has been serving up their signature stacks of cold cuts for over 50 years. The chain was launched by three friends in 1964, using only a $2000 loan to bring the tasty subs to the hardworking bros of the 'Boken.

Though the company has changed hands several times since 2001 and has been steadily closing retail locations, you can still visit the original sub shop… even though we're using the term "original" pretty loosely. The original store was located at 7th Avenue and Washington Street, before being relocated to 110 Washington Street in the early 1990s. Then, in 2017, the first Blimpie moved again, to the corner of 14th Street and Willow Avenue, in Hoboken's "Uptown."

You can still get your "Pizza! Pizza!" at the original Little Caesars

32594 Cherry Hill Road, Garden City MI

Back in the 1940's, pizza hadn't really caught on as an American meal.  Oh, sure, pizza was around, but people didn't get too excited about it. That all changed in the 1950s, when pizza's popularity skyrocketed. Enter Mike Ilitch, who with his wife Marian, sunk their life savings into the opening of the first Little Caesars, located in Garden City, MI in 1959, just when Americans were really falling in love with the dish. On their first day in business, Little Caesars sold 49 pizzas, and Ilitch recorded each of the sales by hand in a spiral-bound notebook.

You can still stop in for a "Pizza! Pizza!" at the store's first location (for now), located in an aging strip mall in Garden City. A commemorative plaque hangs on the wall outside, marking the chain's place in pizza history. Just don't go looking for some of the items on the original Little Caesars menu: The chain initially also sold chicken, fish, shrimp and hot dogs.

Sadly concerns over the mall's future mean that Little Caesars are currently planning to leave the original location and relocate to a new store a few blocks away, which will compensate for its lack of history by adding a convenient drive-thru.

You can still get a sandwich at the original Chick-fil-A

461 N. Central Ave., Hapeville GA

Tucked away in a shopping center in Atlanta, sits an important piece of fried chicken history: The legendary Dwarf House café, where founder S. Truett Cathy and his brother, Ben first started tinkering with variations of his signature sandwich in 1946. After lots of testing and feedback from customers, Cathy settled on a recipe worthy of building an empire around, eventually opening more than 2,000 locations.

Chick-fil-A superfans can still stop in at the original location, where they will find numerous unique touches not found in the nationwide franchise locations, including counter and table service, as well as special menu items including BLTs, steaks, burgers, and a "Hot Brown" consisting of a fried chicken filet drenched in gravy and cheese. The original location also serves several southern-fried side dishes not found elsewhere, including macaroni and cheese, collard greens, deep-fried okra, and a sweet potato soufflé topped with candied pecans.

Unlike many franchise locations, The Dwarf House is open 24 hours a day, but only from Monday to Saturday…because hey, Chick-fil-A is still Chick-fil-A.