In a tribute to Carl Karcher, who passed away this evening, I wanted to spend some time remembering his lasting legacy, the Carl's Jr. restaurants.
Having moved into Orange County in 1978, from San Diego, it was easy to notice a change in fast-food dominance. In San Diego, Jack-in-the-Box dominated the landscape, having been founded there. In Orange County, it was Carl's. Even though I could still get my fix of "Moby Jacks" (remember that sandwich?), Carl's would eventually get most of my lunch money.
In the late 1980s, when I worked in Anaheim, a co-worker and I would visit the Carl's on the corner of Harbor and Romneya, which was the restaurant next to the corporate headquarters. Carl sometimes would come in to greet the patrons, though I never did get to greet him.
My favorite sandwich was the California Roast Beef. It was very much like an Arby's Roast Beef, except with a whole green chile and monterey jack cheese, and sesame seed bun. They don't make this anymore, but I can still remember the taste.
They also had the crinkle-cut french fries, which had a consistency more like mashed-potatoes, instead of cut potatoes. I wish they brought those back.
I also remember getting a certificate of achievement from Carl's Jr. while I attended Spurgeon Intermediate School, for outstanding attendance. It came with a free meal.
After Carl Karcher earned money with his hot-dog stands in Los Angeles, he opened up a restaurant in Anaheim called "Carl's Drive-In Barbeque". Later on, he opened up smaller versions of this restaurant which he called, "Carl's Jr." for obvious reasons.
I remember for the 50th anniversary of Carl's, the restaurant bought back the hot dogs.
I'd love to hear your memories of Carl's Jr., Carl Karcher himself, his company, or even Taco De Carlos...