Welcome to the Lendy's Web Page, part 4.
Featuring Salem and Roanoke Va.'s most FAMOUS restaurant chain.
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The Mainliner ~ Architect's drawing
There are very few Roanokers that would not recognize this Lendy's that once stood on Franklin Rd. in Southwest Roanoke. Built in 1961, its sweeping A-frame roof, large plate windows and vestibule style entranceway all combined to give it the modern 60's look.
Colonel Sanders comes to Roanoke in 1961, and makes an appearance at the Apperson Drive location...
...to promote the introduction of his "Kentucky Fried Chicken" at Lendy's.
In the early 60's, you never knew who you might find under the canopy. Employee Pat Dotson and two of the "curb girls" pose with the Colonel.
The Kentucky Fried Coup
Always on the watch for new ideas, Leonard (Goldstein) saw that a nationally known fried chicken franchise was doing very well, run by a Kentucky "Colonel". Lendy's was about to meet that Colonel. In 1959 Leonard went to work, finding out just what would be necessary to secure a franchise for Kentucky Fried Chicken for his restaurants. One reason for this was practical; chicken was a better deal. The cost of a Big Boy sandwich may have been 45 cents back then, but you could buy a three piece Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner for $1.10. Things went smoothly until Leonard told Alex Schoenbaum of his plans to add the Colonel to his bill of fare. "You can't do this, you're a Big Boy franchisor", was Schoenbaum's reply. Leonard did it. He had one more year to go with his Big Boy franchise agreement, and he began to concentrate his advertising on Lendy's Family Restaurants featuring Kentucky Fried Chicken. At this time, Lendy's was simultaneously a Big Boy and a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. He retained the Big Boy franchise for the 5th year, but did not renew it. By this time, he had opened nine other restaurants, four in Roanoke, three in Lynchburg and two in Richmond Virginia, and they were off like gangbusters. *
Two newspaper ads from the early 60's show Yoda's fried shrimp dinner going head to head against Lendy's exclusive Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The Rooftop Booth
For many years, high atop the Lendy's on Lee Hwy., sat what looked to some like an airport control tower, but in fact this was a radio broadcast booth; built in 1959 to feature a DJ (Jivin' Jackson) spinning the platters and running the show live. This was broadcast not only over the airways, but also through the drive-in's intercom system. Customers parked at the "TeleTray" ordering stations could call in requests to the DJ.
"WSLS in the late fifties was attempting to build MARKET SHARE---- I had been buying 20 minute segments each half hour of broadcast time for the 3 hours from 9 p.m. to 12 midnite during the popular JERRY JOYNES show which started at 9 p.m. Lendy's pretty much dominated the 3 hour period---I wanted to hit the night drivers, in those days cruising in cars was the BIG THING..... young dating couples and those looking for a date. After about a year of the JERRY show, the station had brought aboard a new personality who sounded a lot like WOLFMAN JACK who at the time had gained prominence almost nationwide. The sales representative for the station was Mack Aheron who I got to know right well and he was looking for a vehicle to place the new personality where he could get a lot of exposure. His station name was "JIVIN' JACKSON". I was always on the lookout for a good promotion to advertise LENDY's so in talking with Mack I suggested he bring Jivin' Jackson to the restaurant for a REMOTE broadcast, he arranged it and it was very successful in attracting listeners ... and customers. AT that time night radio was not too expensive , and I was already buying 60 minutes each night , the dominant advertiser during those late hours. So I suggested to Mack that if he could arrange with the station bosses, I would build the radio tower atop the restaurant, continue to buy the 60 minutes nightly, and have Jivin' Jackson broadcast from the tower. The bosses agreed, I built the tower BOOTH, the station placed a large neon sign-WSLS RADIO- on top of the tower , JIVIN' replaced Jerry Joynes and it all began, lasting over 2 years ---6 nights a week - from 9 to 12. The public evidently liked it, the station ratings went UP and JIVIN' became a highly recognized personality thru-out the area. And as you know, every good thing will eventually RUN ITS COURSE and in late 1963 the station as well as I decided it was time to try something else. Those years were absolutely WONDERFUL... could only happen once in a lifetime....." Leonard Goldstein
The original art for Lendy's "Buddy Boy". He was drawn by Leonard Goldstein's brother Louis.
"Buddy Boy" and "Longfella"
The Big Boy sandwich at Lendy's became the "Buddy Boy" after the break with Shoney's, but had actually been in existence for several years. Leonard had only applied for Shoney's franchises on one side of Roanoke - on the other side of town, Leonard's restaurants were competing with Yoda's, another Big Boy franchisor! Where Lendy's were competing with Yoda's, Big Boy sandwiches became "Buddy Boys", so that when the Shoney's affiliation was dropped in 1961, Lendy's had a burger with name recognition already in place. The burger was unchanged from its previous incarnation as a Big Boy sandwich. The "Buddy Boy" mascot character was visually similar to Frisch's version of the Big Boy, and gave Lendy's individuality and protection from trademark infringement. Reportedly, the Buddy Boy was named for Leonard's friend, Buddy Gentry.
Other items that Lendy's brought over from Shoney's were the "Longfella", which was the same sandwich as Shoney's "Slim Jim". This sandwich featured Hawaiian baked ham, Swiss cheese, tomato and the tangy sauce on a Grecian roll. The "Brawny Lad" sandwich - chopped sirloin steak on a rye bun with bermuda onion - made it over to Lendy's with the name intact. Strawberry pie also moved over from Shoney's, along with the hot fudge cake; but Lendy's heavily featured the strawberry pie. You could even buy whole strawberry pies to take home, and they sold cans of whipped cream with the Lendy's name on it. *
Architect's drawing of the first of three different downtown Roanoke locations occupied by Lendy's. This one has an unusual "Where You Dine Better For Less" slogan on the building's front.
The Richmond Lendys'
click image to see building in '90s
(Above) a sketch for the new Lendy's on Broad St. in Richmond.
You may remember some of the Roanoke, Salem, Vinton, Blacksburg, Radford, Lexington, Lynchburg and Madison Heights restaurants, but did you know that there were also several Lendy's in Richmond?
After Leonard opened Lendy's, he contacted Dave Frisch and asked his friend if he could borrow elements of the design for one of the strikingly designed Frisch's in Cincinnati to build a restaurant of his own in Richmond, Virginia. The restaurant that resulted was one of the most, if not the most impressive Lendy's. Today that building is in use as the Southern Financial Bank. *
* excerpts from "The Lendy's Story" - Burger Boy (Greasy Spoon) #4
Col. Sanders caricature figures prominently on this sign in front of the Broad St. Lendy's in Richmond.
Note the Lendy's mascot "Buddy Boy" and Colonel Sanders signage.
Click to see more of the RICHMOND Lendy's locations.
to Page Five
Photographs Courtesy Leonard Goldstein
Ad's Courtesy Pat Dotson (Pat's Cafe)
Radio & TV Ads Courtesy Tommy Holcomb
Graphic Assistance, Kipp Teague
This Web Site Created By Twig Gravely