MY WENDY’S HISTORY
I can not tell a lie. I am a fan of Wendy’s, always have been and always will be.
The first time I ever spotted a Wendy’s was across the street from Echevarria Printing (my grandfather’s print shop in Miami, Florida, Westchester to be exact), and from the moment I ate there I was hooked.
I clearly remember harassing (this is the correct word here) el Viejo (Cuban Grandfather term of endearment) via rotary phone after getting home from elementary school. He needed to bring me a Wendy’s Single with only cheese, ketchup, and mayo. It had worked a couple of times already but I knew he was ready to turn down my request. I brought in a secret weapon, my little sister Michelle, and her love for Wendy’s Frosty.
If I had to guess, we probably got him to bring us Wendy’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 to 7 times over a few weeks. I don’t want you to think he was making any special trips out of his way to a different house. My grandfather Gollo lived with us, which is why we probably didn’t see anything wrong with this. I’m not sure how he put up with us, but he was always the best. Abuelo Gollo was also a big fan of the Frosty, so I’m not so sure there was that much arm twisting going on.
THE HQ VISIT
I was with my friends on a road trip to Ohio, which found us staying in Columbus, OH, the same city where Wendy’s was founded. We had just visited White Castle HQ, and their VP Jamie Richardson mentioned he might be able to hook me up with the folks at Wendy’s, and he did.
Bry Roth (Brand Manager for Wendy’s) reached out to me, and the next thing I knew, we were invited to their Innovation Center inside of Wendy’s Headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.
It was surreal to pull up to Wendy’s offices. Never in a million years would I have believed that I’d be in Ohio as a guest here.
We were given a tour of where all the new ideas are worked on at Wendy’s Innovation Center. There was an exciting dish that they were testing, but I promised I wouldn’t mention what it was.
Then, we were led through the room where all the blind tasting takes place and finally to a kitchen replica of what you’ll find at every Wendy’s. All the while, our tour guides (Marshall Scarborough – Director of Culinary & Product Innovation and Lori Estrada – VP of Culinary Menu Innovation) were comprehensive, friendly, and answered all of our questions.
I did not take any pictures inside of the Innovation Center other than Dave’s Double, Baconator Fries, and everyone involved. I wasn’t too sure if I could, and I didn’t want to push my luck. Plus, sometimes it’s good to have some things left to the imagination.
I can’t even describe how incredible that Dave’s Double and Baconator Fries were. While we ate, we spoke about Wendy’s, the Burger Beast site, my Burger Museum, and burgers in Miami, Florida.
Bry mentioned that the flagship Wendy’s location with a Dave Thomas (Wendy’s founder) Statue and a bunch of memorabilia was just down the block. So we said our goodbyes, and thank yous to everyone then drove down to the flagship store.
The restaurant was bustling with activity and it was challenging to get any great pictures. I opted to use some of the pics supplied by Wendy’s to Google Maps below.
And then we went through the drive-thru for some Frostys. It’s exactly what my grandfather would have done.