Original Wendy’s Location On East Broad Street

July 25th, 2011

On November 15, 1969, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas opened the original Wendy’s restaurant at 257 East Broad Street. The location was a regular lunch spot for COSI visitors and downtown workers until it was closed in March, 2007. Here are some photos of the restaurant throughout its 37 years of operation. (18 photos)

The original Wendy's location at 257 East Broad Street in the early 70s
The original Wendy's location was opened by founder Dave Thomas at 257 East Broad Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio on November 15, 1969. (Photo by: Unknown/Wendy's Corporate Headquarters)
East Broad Street in 1973 with (to the right) Len Immke Buick and the original Wendy's Restaurant at 257 East Broad.
A view of East Broad Street with (to the right) Len Immke Buick and the original Wendy's Restaurant in 1973. Memorial Hall (the original location of The Center of Scient and Industry - COSI) is on the left. Dave Thomas was rumored to have selected this location for the original Wendy's restaurant to take advantage of traffic from COSI and it became a regular lunch spot for museum visitors. (Photo by: Action Program for Downtown Columbus/Columbus Library Digital Collections)
old cosi building on east broad street
The Center for Science and Industry (COSI) opened on March 29,1964 in Memorial Hall on East Broad Street. The museum's move across the river to 333 West Broad Street in 1999 was one of the factors that led to the decline in business at the original Wendy's location (seen in the lower right in this photo taken on January 11, 1986) that would eventually lead to the company's decision to close the store. (Photo by: Nick Taggart/Columbus Library Digital Collections)
original wendy's exterior at night
The illuminated exterior of the East Broad Street location of the first Wendy's restaurant in 2007. (Photo by: fensterbme (flickr))
original wendy's exterior in 2006
The exterior of the first Wendy’s restaurant, opened by Dave Thomas in downtown Columbus, Ohio on November 15, 1969. This photo was taken in July, 2006. (Photo by: Joe Ross (flickr))
historical marker at original wendy's location
A state historical marker at the original Wendy's location reads: "From this location, Wendy's became one of the largest restaurant chains in the world. It all began with [Dave] Thomas's guiding principle 'Quality is Our Recipe' and his dream of serving a 'hot 'n juicy' hamburger." (Photo by: Jayna Wallace (flickr))
The original Wendy's sign.
A sign marks the first Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers location at 257 East Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio in October, 2006. (Photo by: Nick Warzy (flickr))
interior of the original wendy's restaurant in columbus, ohio
A photograph of the original interior of the first Wendy's restaurant in Columbus, Ohio as it looked in 1969. (Photo by: phlyingpenguin (flickr))
interior of the first Wendy’s restaurant dining room
The interior of the first Wendy’s restaurant in July, 2006. A portion of the dining room remains decorated with wallpaper and tables in the style of those used originally by the restaurant chain. (Photo by: Joe Ross (flickr))
original wendy's interior
The walls of the first Wendy’s restaurant in downtown Columbus were covered with memorabilia from the restaurant chain's history in this photo from July, 2006. (Photo by: Joe Ross (flickr))
Photo of a young girl.
Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers was named after founder Dave Thomas' fourth child, Melinda Lou "Wendy" Thomas, shown here in a photo on the wall of the original Wendy's location on East Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio. Also shown: the original griddle used to create Wendy's signature square burgers. (Photo by: marada (flickr))
Wendy's mannequin
A mannequin inside of the original Wendy's restaurant location on East Broad Street in a photo taken on March 1, 2007, just days before the location closed its doors for good. The memorabilia on display at the original location was moved to Wendy's corporate headquarters in Dublin after the restaurant closed its doors. (Photo by: marada (flickr))
Sketch of Wendy's sign.
A quaint sketch of the now famous illustration of Dave Thomas's daughter Wendy that now adorns Wendy's restaurants and promotional materials. (Photo by: marada (flickr))
old wendy's dining room in black and white
The dining room of the original Wendy's as viewed through the building's distinctive curved glass windows on February 27, 2007. (Photo by: Karl Francis (flickr))
The now empty original Wendy's restaurant in 2008
Facade of the abandoned original Wendy's restaurant location in 2008. The restaurant closed its doors in March, 2007 following years of declining sales. (Photo by: wiiljay)
the facade of the original wendy's restaurant with the sign frames now empty
The location of the original Wendy's restaurant on East Broad Street on June 6, 2007. The frames that once held the location's distinctive signs are now empty. (Photo by: Addison Godel (flickr))
Original Wendy's Sign
A detail of the frame that once held the Wendy's sign in a photo from April, 2009. The location closed on March 2, 2007 due to declining sales blamed on by a lack of foot traffic, limited parking and the location's lack of a drive-thru window. (Photo by: Jayna Wallace)
renovated original wendy's building now owned by the catholic foundation
The building that once held the original Wendy's restaurant is now owned by the Catholic Foundation. The Foundation spent a reported $1.7 million to renovate the building before moving their headquarters to the location in April, 2010. (Photo by: Nora McDonald/WOSU)
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Ross/1598001900 Joe Ross

    Thanks for using my photos! Glad you found them to be of value. I also appreciated learning the final outcome of the building and was surprised at how much the Catholic Foundation had changed the appearance. Hopefully the historical marker is still standing to mark the spot. Thanks again.

  • http://twitter.com/bomble Jim Swift

    I remember vividly my cub scout camp in at COSI with a trip to Wendy’s. Sad it closed.

  • Kaidensmomma_1107

    That was like a sad story…..

    • Gloria Simmons

      I had the honor to work there until it closed in March 2007. Was proabaly the best job i ever had made a lot of friends there shout out to 1st Wendy’s crew 2007. Gloria Simmons

  • Katie Finneran Slattery

    I was there the day the Original Wendy’s closed. Sunny 95 was there for a closing and I won a picnic basket with the original Wendy’s logo on the top of the lid. The basket was made by the Peter Boro Basket Company. That Wendy’s even though the company closed it was one of the main staples in downtown Columbus, many workers in the downtown area visited and ate their lunches there. It was a sad day and the resturant is missed. I am glad I have something to remember it by.

  • Susan Nagel

    In 1970, while still in high school, I began working at The Midland Bldg directly across the street. On my lunch hour, I would race across Broad Street to enjoy one of Dave’s hot & juicy singles with cheese (no onions…no mustard). :- ) I still enjoy a Wendy burger 2 or 3 times a week at my home in Vero Beach, FL. Blessings to Dave Thomas on this 45th anniversary.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck this shithead ass WENDYS. I eat at Burger King and McDonald’s anywho. Broad street is nothing but loud nuggers catching the bus

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