Then & Now: The first Jack in the Box
As I was doing online research for my recent series of posts about pictures in East of San Diego: The Lost History of the East San Diego Police Department, 1912-1923, by Gary E. Mitrovich, I discovered the location of the very first Jack in the Box fast food restaurant:
Jack in the Box was founded in 1951 by Robert O. Peterson when he converted his Topsy’s restaurant at 6270 El Cajon Boulevard to a Jack in the Box. At the time, El Cajon Boulevard was the main east-west thoroughfare between San Diego and points east, the place where teenagers hung out, and San Diego’s #1 cruising strip.
The new Jack in the Box had a drive-through window and an intercom system. Hamburgers were just 18¢. The picture above appears to be from the late 1950s or early 1960, judging from the cars, and the menu in the window says that hamburgers are 26¢, and cheeseburgers are 29¢.
Wikipedia says that the first Jack in the Box was in Long Beach, California, but Jack in the Box disputes that, naming the restaurant at 6270 El Cajon Boulevard “Jack 1,” the first Jack in the Box.
While I was doing my research, I didn’t recall seeing a Jack in the Box on El Cajon Boulevard anywhere within two or three miles from where I live, so I went over to 6270 to see what was there now. Here is what I found:
I wasn’t going to do this post, but Platt College being on the site of the first Jack in the Box kept bugging me. It’s because when I lived in College Station, Texas, I was a fast-food and pizza junkie: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Del Taco, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Ceasar’s, and Double Dave’s.
I would start the day with a McMuffin at McDonald’s; brunch, lunch, and mid-afternoon snack at the other burger places; supper and evening snack at pizza places; and end the night getting more pizzas and snacks at Double Dave’s and Taco Bell. Never did a day end without a visit to either Double Dave’s or Taco Bell. Ah, that was the life……………I think.
When I evacuated Texas and moved to San Diego in April 1993, I gave up fast food. Mainly because I was on a very limited budget for the first eleven months, and fast food was way too expensive for my budget.
I never went back. I think I’ve eaten at all of those mentioned restaurants a grand total of maybe twenty times since April 1993, and mostly McDonald’s because I just love their fries, which regularly get voted as best fries in America.
In late 1993, I attended Platt College. It’s a college dedicated to technology, and I took some computer and network classes there. Who knew that I was sitting on an old spicy crispy chicken sandwich and curly fries graveyard?………lol
Platt College was founded in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879. The San Diego campus at 6250 El Cajon Boulevard was opened in 1980, which means that Jack 1 was no more.
Jack in the Box still has its corporate headquarters here in San Diego.
Did you know that the “Breakfast Jack,” introduced in 1969, was the first breakfast sandwich offered by a fast-food chain?
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