Remember Kewpee's that was located in Oneida Square in the 1940's? What happened to it?

With some digging around we came across The Kewpee's History
As written by David Kristopeit.

Kewpee was founded in 1920 by Dick Sanford and has been in operation for over 70 years. It is part of a small franchise. It is one of the oldest franchises in the country and had over 200 restaurants east of the Mississippi before WWII. That's 25-30 years before the first McDonald's opened it's doors. Most of those Kewpee's closed during the war when ground meat was so hard to get. There are only six Kewpee's left now. The headquarters is located in Lima, Ohio, which is the site of three Kewpee's. The other two Kewpee's are in Lansing, Michigan.

.kewpee.com/merchandise via Kewpee

We asked a trivia question during a contest. "What Oneida Square fast food business later became Burger King?" The answer we were looking for was Carrol's, but many of our listeners answered 'Kewpee." We had no idea what a Kewpee was. Then, we received a few messages giving us more info.

From Joe Tyo:

Here is a photo from 1947 of Kewpee’s in Oneida Square. Your trivia question got so many answers you didn’t expect, you asked for help. The best burgers, fries, dogs, etc… in town. Pull in, go in and order. They made it in front of you! Or, stay in the car, turn on your lights, and out came a car hop to take your order. Food came out on a tray that hung off your window. They closed in the mid ‘70’s. Burger King is owned by Carrols Corp. Carrols was re-named as Burger King. Burger King built on the Kewpee location. That building is now a Dunkin Donuts.
Hope that helps.

 

When we discovered the Kewpee website, we also found the guestbook loaded with memories from the Utica location.

I grew up in Utica NY and worked at Kewpees in the mid-50's. Will always remember the advertising slogan " Kewpee Hamburger, pickle on top, makes your heart go flippity flop." My job was working in the basement, scooping raw meat from a large container, with an ice-cream scoop, and stacking the balls into a pyramid on a large flat tray. It took two of us to get the tray up the stairs to the grill. Thanks for the memories. Chuck Wilson.

Dear Dave, I still talk about the burgers Kewpee had to offer, they are the best will always be the best. I have lived in Utica, NY all of my 61 yrs, and I would just give anything to bring back a Kewpee Burger. I also went to a High School only a few blocks away from Kewpee's. Talk about a wonderful business; I will never understand why they left the area. We all want Kewpee's back in Utica NY we don't want Burger King and McDonalds they can't hold a candle next to Kewpees.

Dear Dave, I grew up in Utica, N.Y. and can sure attest to the wonderful Kewpee's hamburgers, etc. My sisters and I ate their countless times. Our high school was only a couple blocks away, and a walk to the "Square" was a frequent after-school activity. Kewpee's was one of the first places I took my future husband when he visited Utica---he loved them, too. Thanks for the memories! Barb {Long} Green- Fairport, N.Y.

Why not consider coming back to Utica? We would love to have you back; Have heard many positive stories of the times when your burger place was here...Thanks, keep in touch....JIMBO
Dave, I am originally from Utica, NY. It was such a pleasure to find your site with the historic information. It's a pleasant surprise to see it still in operation. It was such a piece of my childhood. It makes me think "Dave Thomas....you are a very bad man" Utica was to Kewpee as Lima or Racine is today. Where would one contact for franchise info?...Art

I think of the Kewpee in Utica, N.Y., still.. I am nearly sixty. Have you ever considered marketing the name again in the Rome/Utica area.. We enjoy a great area with a lot of hardworking people and families with old fashion ideals. A safe area to live, do business in and to raise a family. I could help you with introductions - GLADLY.. There are plenty of people like myself that would go and enjoy the great food and relive the memories. Kewpee's would fit right back into our lives... Merino J. Ciccone, Jr.

Grew up in Utica NY & went to high school only two blocks from the Kewpee's on Oneida Square. Kewpee's had square burgers on round rolls decades before Wendy's. And the frosted was fabulous. I see a picture of it on your web site. It was very busy back in the fifties. If I ever get to one of the remaining ones in the midwest...............yeah! Pat Lukas

My wife and I are originally from Utica, NY and truly miss a Kewpee burger. The one in Utica was replaced with a Burger King, Yuck! We now live in Southern California but still miss Kewpee. Is there any possibility that one again you may increase the size of the franchise. If you come to California, I know that you will be a tremendous hit Walter & Joan Scheiderich Sim Valley, CA

I too remember the one in Utica, NY. I grew up in nearby Clayville and Sauquoit during the sixties. My mom and I would go after shopping. And while I remember one of the first MacDonalds in Yorkville and Voss hamburger stand (shaped like a milk bottle and is still there), they and ALL other burger chains, don't even approach the greatness of the Kewpie! As a kid, my favorite tongue twister was trying to read their flashing sign aloud while lit! "Please do not blow horn - use lights for service!" Any chance of ever seeing a Kewpies here in Los Angeles or Leesburg, Florida where my brother runs the Shamrock Lounge? ThankZ for the memories and I will have to get to Racine just for a Kewpie burger and frosty! Michael
Michael J. Zuccaro...

I USED TO LIVE IN UTICA N.Y. I REMEMBER MY DAD BRINGING US KEWPEE'S LATE AT NIGHT WHEN HE CLOSED HIS RESTURANT. I MISS KEWPEE. I NOW LIVE IN SUNNY ARIZONA. IS THERE A CHANCE THAT KEWPEE WILL COME OUT WEST?? I HOPE SO!! I HAVENT HAD A KEWPEE SINCE THE 60'S... SAD HUH??? UMMMM BURGER... I USE TO EAT MY LITTLE SISTERS...WHEN SHE GOT UP TO EAT HER BURGER, ALL THAT WAS LEFT WAS THE WRAPPER!!! IM REALLY NOT CRAZY. JUST A FAN. YOU CAN ONLY HAVE SO MUCH BURGER KINGS AND MCDONALD'S. WELL IN CLOSING, "HAMBURGER WITH A PICKLE ON TOP MAKES YOUR HEART GO FLIPPTY FLOP !!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
Francine ...

I remember Kewpees when I was a teenager some years ago. Back in the 60's, you were located on Oneida St. square. The boys and I always stopped for a burger and malt.I enjoyed the car hops you had taking our orders. I'm referring to the Location In Utica, NY. We really miss you folks and would Love to have you back here in Utica. Ps. I also would like to thank you for the Kewpee's wrappers I received from you to make my 50's and 60's party a big hit. Everybody loved the idea but really wanted the burgers to go with it. Hopefully, next year a bunch of us are coming down to Lima for a Real Treat. Thank you
Peter Mastrovito ...

I am from Utica, New York, and was immensely please to see an old photo of the Utica Kewpee's on your web page. The site is now occupied by a (yuck) Burger King. If I had a chance, I would take the whole skating club to lunch at Kewpees. What's the chance of getting a Kewpee's franchise going again here in Utica? Dave Buono...


NEXT: Best Of Central New York 'Country Photos'