Roy Rogers

Once a popular fast food chain, with locations scattered across Long Island during the 70s, Roy Rogers had a little something for everyone on the menu, but its days were numbered. Today, although the franchise survives in other parts of the country, local fans of the restaurant can no longer get their fix on the island.

Roy Rogers restaurants emerged in 1968, owned by the Marriot Corporation. Contrary to popular belief, their only connection to the cowboy star was the name, which the company licensed for use. Pictures of Roy were displayed in each location, but it is unlikely that he ever actually stepping inside one of the restaurants.

 

What set Roy Rogers apart from the competition was that they offered a trifecta of hamburgers, roast beef and fried chicken, all of which were of better-than-average quality. The roast beef was tender, moist and freshly cut from an actual roast beef. The fried chicken (later to be re-branded “Pappy Parker’s Fried Chicken,”) gave the Colonel a run for his money.

The featured hamburger was the Double-R Bar Burger, notable for the layer of ham atop the hamburger. Many locations also contained a “Fixin’s Bar,” allowing customers to take control of their own condiment choices.

 

The first Roy Rogers restaurant on Long Island opened in Shirley in 1975. Shortly after, another location was added in Lake Ronkonkoma, replacing a Hardee’s restaurant. More and more locations would surface around the island, and in the years that followed, there were over 600 Roy Rogers scattered across the east coast. Then, in 1989, Marriot made the decision to halt their fast food efforts, selling both Roy Rogers and the popular Howard Johnson’s chains, much to the dismay of local fans, who saw many locations converted to Hardee’s, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other common entities.

Today, there are no more on the island, the last one having closed in 2010. The only remaining locations in New York State include one on 7th Avenue in Manhattan and seven addition restaurants all located upstate. Memories of these eateries abound among Long Islanders, who watched one of their beloved places to eat ride off into the sunset.

Do you have memories of eating at, or working at, a Roy Rogers restaurant on Long Island? If so, I’d love to hear your recollections in our comments section below.

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14 Responses

  1. As a student at Nassau Community College back in the early 1990s, we spent time between classes at our on-campus Roy’s. Curly Fries 😉

  2. tchrn8r says:

    My first job was at one. One morning, I was riding my bike to work (downhill) when the front wheel popped loose. It was bent like an ‘S’, the front of the frame was all askew and the chain became damaged. As for me, my right forearm skid along the pavement taking a good deal of skin with it, but not bleeding profusely. I threw the bike aside and tore off for work. I was a bit late, but not much. The manager took one look at my arm and his eyes widened like ping-pong balls. I washed it and he sprayed some kind of anti-bacterial spray on it and put me to work. I was at the grill station. Once we opened, it wasn’t long before customers began to notice. I suppose turning my arm in their direction to make the wound all the more visible didn’t help matters much, either.

  3. Rohmell Brills says:

    I frequented the Roy Rogers in Uniondale, at the corner of Uniondale Avenue and Hempstead Tpk. (Today that location is a McDonald’s) Their chicken was excellent, and I remember buying the “Holster of Fries” to go along with my burgers.

  4. Deanna says:

    I too frequented the one on Uniondale Avenue. While my father worked late, my mother would always pile me and my two brothers into her Gremlin every Friday and that was our favorite spot to eat. My favorite part was the cinnamon and sugar coated apple pies, the ending to a delicious meal! Happy memories!

  5. Deanna says:

    I too frequented the one on Uniondale Avenue. While my father worked late, my mother would always pile me and my two brothers into her Gremlin every Friday and that was our favorite spot to eat. My favorite part was the cinnamon and sugar coated apple pies, the ending to a delicious meal! Happy memories!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I miss Roy Rogers used to go at least once a week Hempstead turnpike

  7. Robert miles says:

    My wife worked there in the 70s, she was a Hostess-short little skirt, western boots, cowgirl hat, her greeting was: Howdy! Welcome to Toy Rogers! How can i help you? Nice memories, and the food was great! Double R bar burger, to die for now. Saf yo see it go!

  8. Doug Torborg says:

    I loved Roy Rogers restaurants growing up even into my teens and had a drivers License. Growing up in East Rockaway Long Island NY. I went to the one in Lynbrook the village north of mine about 10 minutes away. And if that was to busy I drove to the other Roy Rogers restaurant in Oceanside the town east of mine. So I had two with in 15 minutes driving time. And was so sad to see them go but when I moved to upstate NY. I found out they are still around one in a Mall near by and another one in a rest stop along the NYS Thruway near my home.

  9. andrew says:

    When carl jr took over hardees, all long island locations closed.

  10. Christopher Santoro says:

    Roy’s chicken was the bomb. Blew the colonel away. Went to lake Grove location.

  11. RobinVA says:

    Neat article. Roy Rogers (the man) most definitely stepped in Roy Rogers (the restaurant). As a young kid in the late 70’s I met the man, along with his now dead and stuffed horse Trigger, at the grand opening of a Roy Rogers in northern Virginia. That restaurant is still a Roy Rogers and I’ve been going to it a few times a month for the last 40 years. Good times!

  12. Andrew A. Fernandez Jr. says:

    arbys killed it too.

  13. Tom says:

    Was there a Roy Rogers in Long Beach circa 1990

  14. Anonymous says:

    Roy Rogers are coming back to Long Island! Can’t wait!

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