Have it Your Way

Visiting the Abandoned Burger King

Written by: Sean L.

Photography by: Amanda H.

    We all love fast food when we’re kids. There’s just always been something captivating about the process that fascinates young children. You drive up to the restaurant, place your order into a talking box, and then drive up to a window where a smiling employee hands you a bag full of food. The chicken nuggets are juicy and plump. The fries are crisp and salty. The milkshakes are thick and chocolaty. Plus you always got a toy with every meal. What kid doesn’t like that? Going to fast food restaurants when I was a kid was always a special occasion, a rare delicacy that you usually got only on your birthday or after a tough soccer game. My personal favorite fast food chain when I was a kid was Burger King. They had slushies, whoppers, and a mascot that was way cooler than Ronald McDonald. But the older you get, the less exciting fast food becomes. I started to sour on the whole subject after having to watch Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me in seventh grade health class. Lately, we’ve started to see the decline of the fast food empire as people become more health conscience.

Founded in 1953, this nationally beloved fast food chain was originally called Insta-Burger King. The original founders were convinced to start the franchise after first visiting the young and revolutionary McDonald’s restaurant in southern California. The name was officially shortened to just Burger King a few years later when ownership of the company changed hands. Unlike McDonald’s which originally served hotdogs, the original menu of the chain was very similar to what it is now. It was known for serving cheeseburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. The flagship of their enterprise, the Whopper, didn’t come about until 1957. Though ownership of the franchise has changed hands many times over the years, the company has always resided in the southern United States. Their original catchphrase has always been “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce. Special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way!” It has since been shortend to just “Have it Your Way!” As of 2013, the Burger King Corporation operates over 13,000 restaurants in over 79 countries. Most of these establishments are here in the United States.

Not all of these Burger Kings survive though, and some are forced to close down. I haven’t eaten at one since 2010 when I got food poisoning from a bad chicken sandwich. Now, that Burger King that I once went to lies empty and abandoned. Though we had driven past many different abandoned fast food establishments, we had never taken the time to do any investigating of one. This particular Burger King was located smack dab in the middle of a busy downtown area in Connecticut. Why it went out of business is a mystery to us. It is in a relatively busy location, and is right off the highway. But with two McDonald’s and a Wendy’s right down the street, the Burger King seemed a bit outgunned. Lately, their menu choices haven’t been exactly appetizing, with things like the French fry burger for 99 cents. The franchise has also faced scrutiny of the years for animal rights violations and a lack of cultural sensitivity in their international locations.

If you didn’t know what it was before, this place would be hard to recognize. It is clearly a fast food building, but there is nothing left to signify it as a Burger King. Every single window and door has been completely boarded up with thick and heavy plywood. All signs and traces of the Burger King name and logo have been removed from the signs and outer walls. The parking lot is slowly cracking due to lack of maintenance. A few handicapped parking signs are still standing though. The building is slowly falling apart, whenever the wind blew the entire building would shake and rattle as if it were about to collapse. A large security camera sits on the back of the building, though it is unclear if it is still operational. We were able to get a peek inside through a large crack in the plywood panels. The inside of the former restaurant sits in complete darkness. Only a few rays of sunlight are able to reach the inside. All tables and booths have been removed, but the counter still remains shrouded in darkness.

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The place is so heavily boarded up and in such a populated area that we did not find any signs of vandalism and attempted entry. The ground was covered in old leaves and a few pieces of trash.  Though there wasn’t much to see here, the most interesting part of this abandoned place was the drive-thru. Fast food restaurants are famous for their drive-thru service, and this one was still intact. Though the drive-up menu has been removed, the clearance bars are still hanging above it. You can actually walk through this abandoned drive-thru, right up to the now boarded up windows where people once paid and received their deep fried goodness. It was kind of a ghostly experience, imagining how many people had driven through here to receive their order. All of the signs for the drive through are still here, each one a simple shade of blue with white writing. There is one indicated “Exit Only” and “Entrance Only.” There is also a big for sale sign out front, though God knows how long that has been there.

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Since we were unable to get inside, the abandoned Burger King is just a giant boarded up building. Our rule has always been never to break into a place, but we will go in if someone else before us has already broken in. This former fast food joint is clearly pretty protected. There are several security service stickers posted upon the outer walls, and a rather wealthy neighborhood of private condos lies right beside it. Though there is a large for sale sign out front, whether it will ever return to its former glory is another question. The answer to that question doesn’t look too promising, as the building slowly begins to crumble. It is now a mere shell of a once proud member of the fast food chain. Their slogan has always been “Have it your way,” but things clearly didn’t go the way they wanted them to. There are no more orders to be made here. The reign of the Burger King is over.

Comments
  1. Rob says:

    What is the address of this location? I need the exterior of a fast food drive-thru for a short film I’m making

    Like

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