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Author Topic: Winky's  (Read 288 times)
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TheFugitive
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« on: November 22, 2017, 10:36:18 AM »

This was a local Pittsburgh area burger chain that existed from the early 60's
up until the mid-80's.   They had around 40 stores in the PA-OH-WV area.
They were similar to McDonalds, all the way down to their distinctive crown-shaped sign.



Their signature item was the Big Wink, a Big Mac knockoff.  Pittsburghers remember them for their advertising, which included a series of TV commercials that featured this muppet-like character.



The puppet would talk to an off-camera announcer about Winkys while standing in front of a sign pointing to various local communities where a Winkys was located.  One of the signs pointed to "Wilmerding", an old railroad town east of Pittsburgh.  The announcer would say "Hey, there's no Winkys in Wilmerding!"  The puppet got irate and shouted "No Winky's in Wlimerding?", at which point he would eat the sign.

Pittsburghers of a certain era will use the phrase "No Winky's in Wilmerding" to describe something that doesn't exist.  (You want a pet unicorn for Christmas? There's no Winkys in Wilmerding!")

Most Winkys were little drive-in places that looked like a early McDonalds.  (here is one that still stands as a convenience store).



One notable exception was their downtown store in the Chamber of Commerce Building.  It occupied what was once the street-level studios of KQV radio.   By the early 80's Winkys was facing increasing pressure from national chains.  McDonalds was rapidly expanding their local presence, and Wendy's had come to town.  The chain filed Chap. 11 bankruptcy in 1982 and began closing stores.  They were gone a few years later.

I remember one notably unpleasant visit to a Winkys near Kennywood Park where the store had just been mopped with VERY strong ammonia.  It was so strong it had made me ill, and I was not able to eat the burger and fries my dad had bought for me.  Regardless the chain is still fondly remembered here.





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Brammy
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 02:03:14 PM »

Why would anyone want coleslaw with their burger?  Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?
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Brammy
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 03:45:31 PM »

Why not?  Making it more of a full meal with both a potato and vegetable side.

However, probably more since they also advertise a fish dinner which is very commonly served with fries and cole slaw, so since they'd already have it for that use it wasn't a big thing to offer it with other items as well.
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JJBers
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 03:47:36 PM »

Because it's Pennsylvania...wait, that makes no sense.
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Eastern CT Retail

In the backcountry of Connecticut (aka Willimantic)

Pikapower
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 03:55:45 PM »

^^^I think that Winky's should have gave customers the option of swapping the fries for coleslaw instead of offering both side dishes.
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Brammy
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 05:09:31 PM »

^^^I think that Winky's should have gave customers the option of swapping the fries for coleslaw instead of offering both side dishes.

^^^^^This. - The option of swapping Fries for Onion Rings is why I prefer Burger King if  I want a fast food meal.
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Brammy
NJxxJon
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2017, 11:26:27 AM »

74 cents and dinner was done....DAMN 2017.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 10:17:48 AM »

I am not a coleslaw fan, but it is sort of a thing around here.

Pittsburgh's most famous sandwich, the Primanti Brothers', has French fries and coleslaw
ON the sandwich.   I think because a lot of Germans settled Pennsylvania.
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JimSawhill
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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2017, 07:44:23 PM »

I wonder if the Winky's trade mark (and the Big Wink trademark) is unclaimed?
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2017, 08:04:03 AM »

I don't know.  You'd likely need a trademark and patent lawyer to investigate that for you.

I was surprised when Raymond Zimmerman, former CEO of Service Merchandise,
bought the internet domain servicemerchandise.com from the bankruptcy court and
used it to open an online jewelry store.

Is someone hanging on to Winky's intellectual property for unknown reasons?
Who knows??
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