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Roy Rogers, Making A Comeback - 50 East Coast Franchises, Nearly 20 in Maryland and Virginia


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Ughh.... We had a Roy's on campus (not called Roy's but something else but it was the same food and same menu back when Marriott owned Roy's and was also doing campus food service...) and it was awful. Awful. Nightmarishly awful.

And yet, I ate many a roast beef and cheese sandwich there because the rest of the food services was so bad.

I also remember stealing horseradish packets to do a Passover Sedar. How many other fast food chains can you say that about????

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I remember Roy's from 20+ years ago.  For someone with very specific condiment requirements the fixin's bar was great.  :lol:

You can always come down to Mt. Vernon area of Alexandria and still enjoy one of the last remaining Roy's outposts. The fixin's bar hasn't changed at all. In fact, our local elementary school had a fundraiser there last week. A little girl at the fixin's bar managed to get ketchup all over the front and back of my husband's shirt and tie.

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I feel a thread split coming on......

I love Roy's. Especially the old buttered buns for the roast beef and the fixins bar. Whenever I'm going up 95, or taking 70 back to Pittsburgh, Mrs JPW knows that we are stopping at a Roy's. I wish these guys the best of luck, especially as they seem to want to take Roy's back to its pre-Marriott days.

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Not to continue the Roy's discussion - but there are two locations in Leesburg as well.

Not that I ever eat there - Roy's ranks somewhere below Hardee's (they were part of the same company at one point) at the bottom of my fast-food scale. Talk about dry burgers...

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Not to continue the Roy's discussion - but there are two locations in Leesburg as well. 

Not that I ever eat there - Roy's ranks somewhere below Hardee's (they were part of the same company at one point) at the bottom of my fast-food scale.  Talk about dry burgers...

Yeah, but there is only one reason to go to Roy's -- Roast Beef.

(ok, and the cute little holster for the fries)

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Count me among Roy's fans (even though I haven't eaten it since junior high). I loved it growing up and am excited to try it again.

I really liked their chicken nuggets and the strawberry shortcake dessert which really is a hot biscuit with vanilla softserve and strawberry sauce.

Hope they open one in DC.

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Not to continue the Roy's discussion - but there are two locations in Leesburg as well. 

Not that I ever eat there - Roy's ranks somewhere below Hardee's (they were part of the same company at one point) at the bottom of my fast-food scale.  Talk about dry burgers...

There was a time when it was a good fast-food chain. The fried chicken and roast beef were not only eatable, but quite good. However, most people's recollection of Roy's is after Marriott tried to make change it from a well regarded regional chain into a national chain, or even worse when they were part of Hardees. I can still remember the day that they changed their fried chicken from the original Roy's to the Marriot style fried chicken that ubiquitous to every place that was catered by Marriott (hospitals, schools, prisons, hotels). The old chicken actually had flavors, and spices other than just cracked black pepper. That was the beginning of the end for this chain. Soon the quality of the roast beef declined and the last time I ate there it was a fetid dry salt lick. The burgers were once fairly decent loose packed patty, on a good bun with quality toppings (the Double-R-Bar burger comes to mind), and of course the fixin's bar. That soon changed to a dense greasy blob of indistinguishable meat. Before the great chicken change the fries were also good, they were similar to what McDonalds used to be, and they came in a holster. They then tried to be different and switched to the thick fries that never seemed to be hot, and always left an oil streak on top of your mouth.
While Roy's was never high cuisine, it was dependable, and very far from being in the same realm of vent worm nuttness that it became. I have not tried any of the new restaurants, so I cannot say if they are coming close to what they once were. I do wish them luck.
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I recall many years ago an article in the Post in which several big-name local chefs of the time were asked what is their favorite "down-and-dirty" local eats? Roy Rogers fried chicken (so called Pappy Parker's chicken) received a number of mentions.

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Two memories of Roy's:

Being a card carrying member of the Buckaroo club (although I can't for the life of me remember what that ever got me).

Being horrified that my mother would always ask me to get extra lettuce and tomato on the side while fixing my burger so that she could have a "salad".

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I patronized the River Road Roys near Talbert's (not too far from the Whole Foods, which was once Bowl America). I loved how you could smell the place from so far away. 9 nuggets, large fries, lemonade. What?!

I hope this means bowling is coming back!

(Shucks, I called Talbert's Talbots at first. Not good)

Edited by Meaghan
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Mrs JPW is a fries with horseradish straight kind of girl. No wimpy mayonnaise mixing for her.

I like to get a couple of little plastic cups of pickels with my roast beef. Not to put on the sandwich mind you, just to munch on.

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One of my favorite memories of Roy's was while in High School, the cousin of one of my friends was the assistant manager of the Olney store. So occasionally around closing time (and after we had been drinking) we would go and get fried chicken. This same friend also had a penchant for getting very drunk, very quickly, and falling asleep wherever we were. On one particular night before our chicken run, we shaved-off half of the mustache that he had been growing since Jr. High School, then put purple mouse in the remaining half, and spiked his hair with more of the mouse. We were able to rouse him enough to go into Roy's where he took a seat at a table and thought that the girls at a nearby table, who were staring at him, were doing so because he was "so damned good looking". To add to it all, when he got up to talk to them, he got his head stuck in the light fixture above the table. We were all laughing so hard that we could not help free his head.

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I patronized the River Road Roys ...

That's the one I would go to in high school. Each day during our 20 minute lunch, we'd pile into someone's car and race out there (along with hundreds of other students) during lunch time just so we could stand in a long line of high schoolers, order our food, and eat it in five minutes on the ride back to school. I became very adept at driving my car with both knees while holding a drink in one hand and my burger in another. The person riding shot-gun would be responsible for feeding me fries :lol:
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I've lived in Silver Spring for 33 of my 40 years. My local Roy's was on Randolph Road near the intersection with Georgia Avenue (where the Chevy Chase Bank is now), although I'd also go to the one in White Oak (New Hampshire Avenue near Rt 29). The fried chicken was my favorite, especially when dipped into their BBQ sauce. I'd either get the chicken or the roast beef - don't think I ever tried their hamburgers.

If memory serves me right, Roy Rogers bought out Gino's and converted them to Roys - I actually preferred Gino's fried chicken, but such is life.

Must lure my husband to an existing Roy's so he can try the roast beef. Hope it's still good...

Edited by perrik
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If memory serves me right, Roy Rogers bought out Gino's and converted them to Roys - I actually preferred Gino's fried chicken, but such is life.

Gino's is really old school. Gino's had the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken at the time) franchise for the area. So the chicken you prefered is KFC (and yes it used to be much better than the crap they serve today) over Roy's. I have very few actual memories of the food at Gino's and the only one I remember was in Gaitersburg right off of 355 across between the Golden Bull and Joe's Place Pizza.
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Gino's is really old school. Gino's had the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken at the time) franchise for the area. So the chicken you prefered is KFC (and yes it used to be much better than the crap they serve today) over Roy's. I have very few actual memories of the food at Gino's and the only one I remember was in Gaitersburg right off of 355 across between the Golden Bull and Joe's Place Pizza.

The Gino's at Four Corners was awesome. Quarter-pound Sirloiner. Mmmm.. Did they not have Pappy Parker Fried Chicken? Or was that the Hot Shoppes in Wheaton? Or Farrell's? Or maybe the Capri Italian restaurant who offered spaghetti in butter sauce? Or IHOP in Langley Park? Or a concession at KiddyLand with the sideways roller-coaster (Joe H did you sell that to them?) across New Hampshire Avenue from the McDonald's Hamburger College? Or the Allen theater? Or the God-awful Lang-Lin? I just can't remember.

And who was Pappy Parker?
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The Gino's at Four Corners became a Roy's, then a Hardee's, and now a McDonald's. Chicken McNuggets are unworthy to occupy the same locational aura as Roy's chicken, or Gino's. Pappy Parker chicken was served at Bob's Big Boy, wasn't it? There was a Farrell's in Wheaton Plaza - probably a Hot Shoppes too. I spent my formative years in shopping malls all over the mid-Atlantic (it's a long story), which means I ate many Hot Shoppes meals. Sometimes a wave of nostalgia dulls my tastebuds, and I crave Jell-O with a big dollop of Cool Whip to remind me of those days.

Gino's had burgers?

Almost tempted to stop off at the Gaithersburg Roy's on the way home from New Fortune on Sunday, just to pick up a roast beef sandwich and some fried chicken. Although if I remember correctly, the crust on Roy's fried chicken didn't stand up well to re-heating...

Edited by perrik
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If memory serves me right, Roy Rogers bought out Gino's and converted them to Roys - I actually preferred Gino's fried chicken, but such is life.
I had forgotten about Gino's. We were living in Wilmington, DE at the time and I remember being devastated that Gino's was becoming something new. But then I became obsessed with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and, of course, his trusty steed Trigger. I watched all their movies!
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The Gino's at Four Corners became a Roy's, then a Hardee's, and now a McDonald's. Chicken McNuggets are unworthy to occupy the same locational aura as Roy's chicken, or Gino's.

During my senior year of high school I got out early once a week and drove from Germantown to Four Corners for music lessons. Was often late because of construction adding a fourth lane to the beltway. But I always stopped at Roy Rogers for a roast beef sandwich and fries.

also a local,

Edited by porcupine
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Bring back the Gold Rush Sandwhich!

The Gold Rush never left you. For those playing at home: a Gold Rush Chicken sandwich is a fried chicken filet topped with bacon, cheese & sweet-honey BBQ sauce.

Sometimes a summer drive up to Frederick (where Roy's never died) during the "dark Hardee's days" hit the spot -- warm weather demands Strawberry Shortcakes (and a holster of fries).

A 2003 Washington Business Journal article gives a good history of the father and sons behind this resurgence of the Roy Rogers brand.

Luckily none were close my high school ... we had Hamburger Hamlet.

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Good grief, I hadn't thought about Gino's in years. IIRC there was one in Bladensburg in the early 70s, from whence the folks would pick up those striped buckets of KFC.

I don't know where you folks found the time to eat outside of the high school. Even with a prohibition on running through the halls of WCHS, it was possible to speedwalk from class to the cafeteria, eat lunch, and speedwalk back to the math lab in five minutes flat, ensuring a quality lunchtime spent on the school computers.

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Roy's ranks somewhere below Hardee's (they were part of the same company at one point) at the bottom of my fast-food scale.  Talk about dry burgers...

You don't go to Roy's for burgers, you go for the roast beef and the fried chicken. Yummy!!! just the right amount of chicken grease to make that deep fried goodness go down...
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All this Roy's nostalgia is revealing lots of locals on this board...who knew?  Maybe DC's not so transient after all.  I went to Jefferson and grew up in McLean-- what about the rest of you locals???

I've only been here about 25 years but when the Roys at Brad-Lee shopping center became a McDonalds, I almost cried. I miss the fried chicken and the extra large clump of pickles I used to hide in the wax paper under the chicken.
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Bring back the Gold Rush Sandwhich!

Roy's on River Rd (by Talbert's) provided many a memory in High School...

Talbert's has a bottle of Dom Perignon in the display case for sale. Sodere in Little Ethiopia has one sitting up on the bar. Think these bottles are in pristine condition?

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I have very few actual memories of the food at Gino's and the only one I remember was in Gaitersburg right off of 355 across between the Golden Bull and Joe's Place Pizza.

For the southern Marylanders...the Gino's in Waldorf was around until the mid-80's at least. Waldorf was at least 20 years behind the rest of the Washington area though, like living in a time warp. <_<

Loved Roy's biscuits, and the Double-R Bar burger. And the fixin's bar.

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A roast beef sandwich for lunch today was just as it should be with the bun a little soggy. Much better than those things run by Marriott on 95.

Where is the Gaithersburg store? I might have to swing by on my way home from the next Costco run. <_<
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I joined a Facebook group this morning devoted the Roy Rogers I frequented in my youth, and I got really, really nostalgic for it. What's the story with the so-called comeback??
I don't know but talk about nostalgia- this was my Saturday childhood ritual with Dad until we moved to a Roger-less area....
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I actually had a job interview with Roy Rogers a few years ago for a marketing position. It was pretty interesting because we ended up talking a lot about branding and how so much of it related to nostalgia and the fact that they were keen on being associated with the sort of Sunday dinner fast food - a bit more family friendly, sit down. Fancy fast food so to speak. At the time they had introduced a crab cake sandwich, which they got a sizeable amount of press for - at least in in northern MoCo and Frederick.

They continued to maintain an outpost in my hometown of Bel Air through the 90s, which changed to a Ranch House and then back into Roys. (Ranch House was basically exactly Roys except that it was owned by a different franchisee). They did a lot to fill the fried chicken jones, and they made a pretty mean strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream.

As to expansion, my guess is that it must not be going so brilliantly as I'm guessing they really started to gear up around the time of that interview, which I had in 2005.

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A long, long time ago Roy's used to do a taco baked potato that I still jones for. Am I the only one who remembers those? I loved them. So heart gloggingly, gut bustingly fulfilling. And some kind of pinkish root beer that was so sweet it made your teeth ache.

There is a Roy's in Brunswick, MD, which is so slow I swear they are cooking the stuff as you order, and yet the fries and bisquits are always luke warm.

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