Drive-Thru Life by John Galardi

der W 04Drive-Thru Life: The Story of John Galardi, Founder of Wienerschnitzel, by John Galadriel, Galadriel Group 2018 ebook

Ever since I was a tad, I’ve loved hot dogs. These days, naturally, everyone says they’re unhealthy, or full of bad stuff or whatever else to discourage a person from eating such a thing, but I still love ’em and I still eat ’em.

Sometime when I was in high school, I came across a Der Wienerschnitzel A-frame, red roofed, and found that for 15¢ (the same price, at the time, of a burger at McDonald’s) I could get a chili dog, with mustard and onions. Boy! There was many a time when, in college in Tucson, a buck in my pocket got me three chili dogs and a soda with change left over. There was a Der Wienerschnitzel in Santa Ana, not far from my home in Tustin, CA and I visited every couple of weeks, or sometimes weekly. There are no franchises here in Oregon, and I miss Der Wienerschnitzel a lot. Yes, I have a T-shirt.

der W 02I got this free ebook from the Der Wienerschnitzel website. It tells the story of Galardi deciding to start a fast food business, learning the ropes by working in a Taco Bell, then launching his first, and many successive stores. Pretty interesting.

I wish I had one of those chili dogs right now.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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17 Responses to Drive-Thru Life by John Galardi

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Never heard of it, but it sounds good to me too. Looks like there are none further east than Louisiana and Illinois. There used to be a German restaurant called Weinerwald featuring different sausages, Weiner schnitzel, etc. that had a branch on 8th Street and University Place in Greenwich Village where I ate a few times in the early ’70s.

    I think I’ve mentioned the L.A. chain Original Tommy’s, where we went when visiting my parents in Southern California, when they lived there from 1974-77. I loved their double chili cheeseburgers, but they have chili dogs too.

    • Jeff, when I was attending art school and living in L.A., I was about 2 miles from the original Tommy’s stand. It was the best! They expanded, then over-expanded and most closed. I haven’t seen one since the 80s.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        My sister and her family went to Las Vegas recently, and I sent her the address of the TWO Original Tommy’s nearby, as she was the one who introduced me to it in the first place. They went there to eat and she sent me a new T-shirt. Most are in the L.A. area but these two are in Nevada.

  2. Cap'n Bob Napier says:

    When I moved to San Jose in 1969 there was a Der Weenie a block from the apartment I shared with Bob and Barbara Juanillo, and she worked there. I ate mustard dogs almost every day for months, usually three at a meal. Back then you could open a franchise for $20,000 and I thought about it even though I didn’t have $20,000. Nine years later one opened in Campbell, CA, that was run by Middle-Eastern people. Their burgers were the best I ever had.
    The last time I had a dog was during a trip to California and it was a huge letdown. Typical fast food joint and high priced. We don’t have any in the PNW.

    • I don’t think I had many burgers there, but it was the chili dogs w/ onions I loved. Still do. There was a time you could get a ten pack for $8.50 and I’d get one on Saturday mornings, then much them all day while watching college football games.

  3. tracybham says:

    How interesting, Rick. I lived in Riverside, CA for about five years (in the 1970s) and there was a Der Weinerschnitzel there. I don’t remember much about it.

    I like hot dogs and did avoid them for many years for health reasons, but now have hot dogs a couple of times a month. We probably buy the ones that are a bit healthier, but whatever we buy, they still taste good.

    When I was still in Alabama in my late teens, I worked at a hospital for a year or two, and many times for lunch someone would order hot dogs from a place nearby. The chili dogs were the best, but messy. But my favorite food back then was barbeque sandwiches, and I wish I could go back and get some from my favorite drive in restaurant. Oh, and the Krystal Burgers. Small square burgers, delicious!

  4. Steve A Oerkfitz says:

    Never heard of this chain before. Apparently they never made it to Michigan. I love hot dogs and still eat them on occasion. Prefer just mustard. Hate onions and relish.

  5. Jerry House says:

    Well hot doggies, Rick, this is a post with real bite. To be frank, the wurst thing about it is that I have never heard of Der Wienerschnitzel. I grew up near Lowell, Mass., whic had an Elliot’s Hot Dog (“Famous from Coast to Caost”) Elliot’s was open 24 hrs and in the morning hours it was frequented by hookers, drunks, and me. The chili dogs were good, but the bacon dogs were fantastic. There was also The Old Worthern, which was once a speakeasy. They had 25-cent hot dogs boiled in beer served by a grumpy bartender named Arthur. Some of the dogs, I swear, had been in that beer vat since Prohibition. Good times.

  6. JohnnyMac says:

    I remember Der Wienerschnitzel fondly because it was there that I was introduced to the idea of
    sauerkraut on a hot dog. One of those culinary discoveries that had me thinking “Why have I not
    known about this before?!? This is great!”

  7. I’m a fan of chili dogs, too. I’m on the bubble with sauerkraut on hot dogs.

  8. Haven’t heard of this chain, but a chili dog is one of the best things ever1

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