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Does ANYONE Remember Wetson's??

StarrGazerr 2009/08/29 02:52:03

Wetson's was a fast food hamburger chain that existed from 1959 to 1975. The chain was known for its signature burger the "Big W", 15-cent burgers, 10-cent fries, and the slogans "Look for the Orange Circles" and "Buy them by the bagfull" (very similar to McDonald's "Look for the Golden Arches" and White Castle's "Buy 'em by the sack"). Wetson's also had two clown mascots, Wetty (female) and Sonny (male), in the style of McDonald's Ronald McDonald. At its peak, Wetson's had approximately 70 locations in the greater New York metropolitan area.

History

Wetson's was founded in 1959 by Harold Norbitz and Carl Wetanson. The pair had visited a McDonald's during a trip to Chicago's suburbs in the mid-50's, and impressed with the concept— cheap food and fast service, they, according to Norbitz, "basically duplicated it" (at a time when there were no McDonald's in the metropolitan New York area). Carl Wetanson's older son Herb was the man who did the hard work and helped the chain expand and become a success (the other son, Errol, was for a time married to actress/model Margaux Hemingway).

By 1975, McDonald's and Burger King were battling for dominance in the New York market and Wetson's could no longer compete effectively. That year the chain was purchased by Nathan's Famous and converted to small Nathan's restaurants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetson%27s
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  • M.S 2009/09/15 20:08:29
    M.S
    +8
    Yes, we had one in Staten Island, NY when I was growing up. My Dad brought up the topic the other day, when we drove past the former site of Wetsons. Good Memories, Simpler Times... they are a thing of the past sadly

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  • Gwen 2013/09/09 12:10:45
    Gwen
    +2
    I belonged to a drum & bugle corps that Wetson's hired on Long Island to play at their locations on weekends. Most of my weekends for 3 years or so in the late 60's were spent playing at Wetson's, or at various amusement parks on Coney Island. We kids got food in return, or if we were on Coney Island, handfuls of free ride tickets and free food. It was a good trade, and we had a lot of fun. It sort of burned me out on amusement parks, but it was still a good time, a good time to be a "band geek".
  • carole.manson.1 2013/06/22 08:29:52
    carole.manson.1
    +1
    I have such fond memories of this place. My Wetson's was in Brooklyn right by Prospect Park. My Grandfather and I would stop in there for lunch before going to the zoo and the Botanical Gardens. Sometimes we would get some burgers to bring home for dinner. What a treat. Does anyone else remember the Bond Bread bakery near there? I remember on summer nights when we had the windows open how we could smell the bread baking for the next day. Or, if the wind was blowing from the right direction, the Entemann's Bakery near us baking all their cakes and pastries for the next days' sales. Wow, what great memories. I thought I was the only one who remembered these places. Nice to know that others remember too. P.S., also remember Lum's at Roosevelt Field. Being from Brooklyn, it was like going out to the country for me. Later in life, I worked at Roosevelt Field when it was only one level at Record World. Does anyone remember that place?
  • rparliment 2013/06/01 23:45:41
    rparliment
    +2
    We had a Wetson's in Bay Shore....it was Sunrise Highway just east of Brook Avenue. We would walk there as kids with our 50 cents each and get fries and a shake. I still say they made the best french fries!!
  • Jay Elias 2013/03/25 09:12:43
    Jay Elias
    +3
    The Wetson's I frequented, and the only location I ever visited, was in Brooklyn at the intersection of Farragut road and Utica avenue. I lived on East 48th street very close to Farragut road (about 3 houses from the corner) so it was a short walk for me and I made that walk often.
  • Alton armstrong 2013/01/27 06:21:41
    Alton armstrong
    +3
    In the early 70's that was my sisters favorite in brooklyn on empire blvd across the street from white castles I believe it converted to a Nathan's later on, a few people I talk with rarely remember wetson's
  • Peter 2013/01/22 20:08:06 (edited)
    Peter
    +2
    Remember one @ Hillside Ave near Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica, around 1977-78. Was on the decline when Nathan's took over. Had a job there as a grill man untill I got replaced by the manager's nephew. My first experience w/corporate politics.
  • The Gorn 2012/10/10 21:05:42
    The Gorn
    +3
    I remember as a little kid in the late-1960's going out east to Hampton Bays and visting a Wetson's out that way. I think it was on Sunrise Highway before it became the big highway it is today - maybe around Patchogue - but may have been on Montauk Highway. I wish there was a way to assemble a list of all the old Wetson's there ever were. They were good. I suspect the All-American on Merrick Road in Massapequa (that gets lines and lines of people every day to this day - btw) - I bet this was originally a Wetson's too. Just a gut feeling. TG
  • constance.motley1 2012/08/07 19:29:29
    constance.motley1
    +2
    yeah i grew up on staten island, going to westons and jack in the box thats when fast food was much better than what they have now.
  • EricJM 2012/07/17 05:55:42
    EricJM
    +3
    I remember it well and have great memories. I grew up in Astoria, Queens, NY and it was located a few blocks from my home on Astoria Blvd-between 33rd and 34th Street. This was late 60's/early 70's. It as the closest thing we had to a McDonalds. (Though, we also did have a McDonald's and a Burger King on Astoria Blvd, but in the upper streets, like 83rd or something. Too far for us kids to go to. That was for special occasions, when all the parents on the block would plan together, announce "We're going to McDonalds!" and all us kids would be screaming and shaking in excitement as we were loaded into cars for a field trip to the Golden Arches, taking over the whole parking lot, but I digress...).
    I used to get to walk there(Wetson's) with my friends and buy our meals wih our allowance. We were all around 6-8 years old. Wow, thinking back it seemed like such a safer, friendlier world. It was cool to look at and, similiar to today's Happy Meals, I think they would give toy racing cars with their meals because Herb Wetanson(owner's son) raced sports cars, and the man behind the counter was as impressive and friendly to me as a fireman or policeman. Sadly, without fanfare, it was closed one day. It then became a Hardee's for a real short time, like, 6 months(memories n...
    I remember it well and have great memories. I grew up in Astoria, Queens, NY and it was located a few blocks from my home on Astoria Blvd-between 33rd and 34th Street. This was late 60's/early 70's. It as the closest thing we had to a McDonalds. (Though, we also did have a McDonald's and a Burger King on Astoria Blvd, but in the upper streets, like 83rd or something. Too far for us kids to go to. That was for special occasions, when all the parents on the block would plan together, announce "We're going to McDonalds!" and all us kids would be screaming and shaking in excitement as we were loaded into cars for a field trip to the Golden Arches, taking over the whole parking lot, but I digress...).
    I used to get to walk there(Wetson's) with my friends and buy our meals wih our allowance. We were all around 6-8 years old. Wow, thinking back it seemed like such a safer, friendlier world. It was cool to look at and, similiar to today's Happy Meals, I think they would give toy racing cars with their meals because Herb Wetanson(owner's son) raced sports cars, and the man behind the counter was as impressive and friendly to me as a fireman or policeman. Sadly, without fanfare, it was closed one day. It then became a Hardee's for a real short time, like, 6 months(memories not as fond), then a Roy Rogers-or was it Arby's?(either way,not a fan), and then a Burger King, which on a recent home visit, it still is. And with each new takover, the building would be totally demo'd and rebuilt, so no sign of the original Wetson's exists.
    The company that owns the rights to it(based on Long Island), has put out press releases that they will be bringing it back in late 2012. Good Luck. I just don't think it will be the same.
    (more)
  • RV 2012/01/31 14:17:40 (edited)
    RV
    +3
    Yes,I rememeber Wetsons. I actually remember Wetsons more as a child than McDonald's. I grew up in Queens Village NY (Hillside/Francis Lewis area) and there was a Wetsons a few blocks from our apartment on Hillside Ave at about 212th st right at the ending of the Cross Island. I remember it turning into a Nathan's. That didnt last long either. When I left NY 20 years ago it was a Korean fruit and vegetable market. Not a nice one. Wetsons has been gone from that location for about 35 years now. For some reason I'm thinking there was a Jack-in-the-Box there for a short time. Could be wrong. Maybe it was somewhere else.

    Those were the days. No worries no resposibilities. If i could go back.
  • rjdigs RV 2012/10/03 01:29:26
    rjdigs
    +2
    The exact location was Hillside ave and Holiis Court Blvd. at the end of the Clearview Expressway. I went there when Nathan's was there more. I went to the Wetson's in Bellerose on Jamaica Avenue.
  • JonCooper 2011/08/18 14:48:54
    JonCooper
    +1
    Wetsons?always wondered where they went.Googling today I not only found the answer~am heart touched by all the othe comments.Like Christian my Wetsons was on Cross Bay Bvd~their food was so similar to Mcd but sentiment is telling me the bigW was better than the mac>w better Russian dressing/25 cents & 7 cent white casltes down the block
  • Mapper55 2011/06/14 07:03:42
    Mapper55
    +3
    I remmber one on Route 46 in Jersey. Dad would take us there on rare occasions. I remmber he actually took myself, my girl and my best fried and his girlfriend before I had my license. You could take your girl out for nearly nothing, 15 cent burgers, 10 cent fries and 25 cent shakes.
  • Bill 2011/04/06 19:36:12
    Bill
    +4
    I remember the Wetsons in Freeport and have had several friends swear that there was a Wetsons in Baldwin but I know they are wrong....
  • Tom Bill 2012/03/04 00:33:32 (edited)
    Tom
    +3
    My wife grew up in Freeport and says there was no wetsons there.if so where was it located? I grew up in oceanside...there was a wetsons on the corner of sunrise hwy and oceanside rd.
  • Bill Tom 2012/03/07 14:04:31
    Bill
    The Freeport Wetsons was in the parking lot at the LIRR station facing Sunrise highway....I think there is a Dunkin Donuts on the site now.
  • Dan Cel Bill 2013/06/17 07:56:59
    Dan Cel
    +1
    You are right. I believe it was down the block from that big bank on the corner. I remember eating there. It was the first fast food restaurant I remember. Then there was Carvel. (Man, I miss carvel)
  • tim danby Bill 2013/01/06 22:22:55
    tim danby
    +9
    Actually,there was one at the corner of Oceánica rd.and Sunrise Hwy. there Taco Bell is now.I think you are right,there was one across the parking lot on Sunrise Hwy in Freeport.
  • Tyrone B. Bill 2014/11/18 18:50:15
    Tyrone B.
    +1
    Bill, I'm from Hempstead, I grew up in Roosevelt, Hempstead, and Freeport. I remember Wetson's very well. I used to go there with my sister, boy did the food tastes good. After eating there on friday nights, my friends and I would go across the street to Onstage and party all night. I really miss both of them.
  • Cindy 2011/03/11 02:56:31
    Cindy
    +5
    Hi Guys!! We had a Wetsons in Bellerose. Around 1964? I was around 4 when they opened on Jamaica Avenue. That was one of our Friday Night Treats (not in Lent of course). Then it was the "Hi-Class Pizza". My parents sold the house in Bellerose Terrace in 1984 and the Wetsons was long gone. I can't remember what they put there? I went back to Bellerose about 5 years ago and it looked very different, very metropolitan. It was a very nice place to grow up in, in the 1960's-1970's. To Barry's Post ~~~ My Grandparents and My Cousins lived in North Massapequa and We used to Frequent the Jolly Rogers often. My favorite ride was those little caged boxes painted in bright colors that went around in a circle live a ferris wheel...Again, this was in the 1960's.
  • John Cindy 2011/09/05 12:08:04
    John
    +3
    I used to live on 245th as did my Grandmother a block away. My cousins lived I think on Huron. I used to love Wetsons. I can't remember the burgers but as a kid loved the fries, very greasy. My mom would take my brother and me and we would sit on the tile seats that were on the outside of the building. It was on the north side of the street not too far from the Ice cream place. We also used to go to the hi class pizza, I think that open in 1968 and the bellerose theature, which became a 77 cent movie in 1977 and 78 in 1978 ect until it closed and became a carpet store. The town was very Catholic and we went to Saint Gregorys and all the ladies would buy the shrimp fry for a dollar on Fridays and try and stretch the meal with pasta or potatoes, The fish market was next to a and p and across from John the butcher, next to the boys clothing shop. We had a lot of bars on the avenue due to the track being so close. I rember the pharmacy on the corner had a fountain until a drunk driver drove into the corner shop on 245th. then became a bar.
  • OLDIE 2011/01/29 22:43:14
    OLDIE
    +3
    DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE HUGE BEERS AT LUMS?? THEY WERE GREAT
  • Barry 2010/12/29 16:17:53
    Barry
    +2
    OKAY Was the Wetson's in Levittown on Hempstead turnpike on the north side or south side of the tirmpike,,, just west of Jolly Rogers?
  • William... Barry 2011/11/04 00:17:55
    William Butler
    +3
    On the south side same as Jolly Rogers, and down the block (east) from Zorns when they had a zoo, and there was a Drive in across the street. Bethpage Drive in!........No seaford -oysterbay expressway!
  • DjjazzyReaves 2010/12/12 01:48:16
    DjjazzyReaves
    +2
    NEVER BEEN TO THE RESTUARANT BUT I REMEMBER THE TV COMMERCIALS PLAIN AS DAY!!!!!!!
  • StarrGa... Djjazzy... 2010/12/12 01:58:37
    StarrGazerr
    LOL I have to admit I've never seen a TV commercial for Wetson's. I only knew it because it was two blocks away from me when I was growing up. If you can find a video PLEASE email it to me!
  • mrs c 2010/11/18 16:28:41
    mrs c
    +5
    for bill,im'a native staten island girl, sure do remember wetsons, and chuckwagon, that was on the corner of buel ave and hylan, i think theres a bank there now!
  • rich mrs c 2014/11/05 17:01:51
    rich
    +3
    Wetsons and chuck wagon were on opposite sides of hylan. Chuck wagon was a little south (new de dorp) side. Simpler and better times for sure. Now there's more neon on hylan blvd than in las Vegas
  • Bill Thomson 2010/10/28 17:17:18
    Bill Thomson
    +1
    To add to my prior post. I just remembered that when we lived on Staten Island that we not only went to Wetson's to eat but also to another hamburger joint call Chuck Wagon ! I may be confusing Wetson's & Chuck Wagon in regards to the location of Wetson's. I'm sure they were both on Hylan Blvd. as well as the same side of the street. Anyone recall ?
  • StarrGa... Bill Th... 2010/10/28 17:52:17
    StarrGazerr
    I don't remember Chuck Wagon, but I'm a Brooklyn boy. Maybe it was local to SI?
  • Bill Thomson 2010/10/28 16:31:30 (edited)
    Bill Thomson
    +1
    I grew up on Staten Island too. In New Dorp. For some odd reason Wetson's popped into my mind so I did a search & here I am. I've been in the Chicago area since March of 1970 so it's tough to recall details but I remember being at Wetson's. I loved eating there & I'm sure most other kids did too. The Wetson's we'd go to was on Hylan Blvd. I'm not sure if that was Dongan Hills or not. It may have been opposite the Robert Hall clothing store or possible the Staten Island Speed Shop. Been way too long to recall. I'm sure that someone out there remembers !
  • CDID 2010/09/06 15:36:53
    CDID
    +2
    I worked at the Wetson's in Norwalk Connecticut in the summer of 1967. One of the best times of my life! Mel, Randy, Pete the Greek, George, Sy, we were like brothers.
  • Josh 2010/09/01 05:53:07
    Josh
    +2
    In Queens NY, there was a Wetsons on Crossbay Blvd. and Liberty Ave. I remember it fondly. For some reason, I recall a Jack-in-the-box at locale too. Today, there's a Dunkin Donuts there. Like that should be a shock.....
  • qweilo216 2010/07/29 05:33:04
    qweilo216
    +4
    Ahhh Wetsons. We had one in Freeport (Long Island) right by the train station. we loved the place as kids. it is a Dunkin Doughnuts now. The building is the original (you can still see the sloping roof line) but the rings and orange/white tile on the outside are long gone. Thanks for the memories.
  • tom bra... qweilo216 2011/07/15 21:23:26
    tom bradyjeannie
    +3
    The only McDonalds in the area was in Merrick on Merick Rd . How many stores did McDonalds have at this point?? Loved Wetsons
  • AlanEFoerster 2010/06/20 12:37:58 (edited)
    AlanEFoerster
    +4
    I worked at the Valley Stream store from 1966 to 1967. My 14 transistor radio kept me company on the mile trek back from work. Listened to Long John Nebel, Jean Shepherd and a host of others depending on the time.

    There is a 3d image of Wetson's created from memory a few years ago. It's not totally correct. It's posted on my website if anyone is interested?

    My website www.toontween.com
  • tim danby AlanEFo... 2013/01/08 06:09:07
    tim danby
    +8
    Jean Sheapard on WOR 9:15-10:00pm Monday to Friday.Them Dr.Demento!!!.
  • JohnGrady 2010/05/22 00:25:28
    JohnGrady
    +4
    i remember the wetsons in merrick ny. i must have been 5 yrs old when i had of can remember having wetsons cheeseburgers. to the wetanson family thanks for the memories.
  • Howard Riehl 2010/02/25 06:11:28
    Howard Riehl
    +4
    I loved Wetson's! Mine was in Brooklyn, across from Kings Plaza. "Buy 'em by the bagful!" I think they were 10 cents each. Their burgers had the little onions on 'em, and I hated onions, but they weren't bad on a Wetson's burger! And their buns were good too, potato maybe? And I think they did the ketchup/mustard mix...

    I never saw a Mcd's or a BK in Brooklyn, had to visit Long Island for that. I remember going into a BK for the first time and having to read the menu! Can you imagine that today!? And I remember BK sold hot dogs! Anyone else remember that?

    There was a Lum's in Roosevelt Field in Long island back before there were food courts. That was w-a-y long ago, when Roosevelt Field was only one level!

    Good memories of a much simpler time! Thanks all!
  • linda mazal 2009/10/24 22:35:03
    linda mazal
    I was in Island Tress and we walked to wetons every day. What fun

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