John Galardi is one of the fast-food industry’s greatest success stories.
The very first Der Wienerschnitzel hot dog stand was built in 1961 at 900 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Wilmington, California (the building still stands, albeit updated over the years).
In 1962, Galardi opened his second restaurant, and the first to feature Der Wienerschnitzel’s signature red A-frame roof. It was the revolutionary design that pioneered the drive-thru fast food concept in Southern California.
What few folks know is that Galardi worked first at Taco Tia, the restaurant owned by Glen Bell Jr., who turned Taco Tia into the world’s first Taco Bell in Downey, California. Bell gave Galardi sage advice on succeeding in the booming fast-food industry. What followed at the age of 23, Galardi launched Der Wienerschnitzel.
Galardi died of pancreatic cancer on Saturday. He was 75.