I clearly remember my first visit to an Arby’s, it was in the area of Minneapolis surrounding the U of M, and at that time, they had a glass enclosed “oven” in the middle of the dining room where the ‘roasts’ were cooking (at least that’s what I remember).
Arby’s was founded in Boardman, Ohio, in 1964 by Forrest and Leroy Raffel, owners of a restaurant equipment business who saw a market opportunity for a fast food franchise based on a food other than hamburgers. They chose the name “Arby’s”, based on R. B., the initials of Raffel Brothers. (That’s funny, I always thought it stood for “Roast Beef”).
The Raffel brothers opened the first new restaurant on July 23, 1964. They initially served only roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, and soft drinks.
Today, Arby’s is one of the largest fast food franchises (in the US), with over 3,000 outlets, and a smattering of shops overseas as well. The majority was purchased by a private equity group in 2011, with less than 20% being held by the folks at Wendys, who had owned it in toto, since 2008.
There haven’t been that many innovations at Arby’s over the years; one exception was the addition of the “Fresh Market” sandwiches which seem to be popular, and I have maintained since they were introduced, that Arby’s onion rings are the best in the fast food, and maybe fast casual arena. They are a bit spendy, tho.
We went to Arby’s as a cheap and quick solution to needing our St. Patrick’s Day corned beef fix, as they were offering a bogo on their Reubens, no coupon needed. The Arby’s Reuben is a good value at the bogo price (around $3 each), but I don’t know if I would be inclined to pay more. I’m not the type of fast-food consumer that goes for premium menu items.
Arby’s Reuben is corned beef, swiss, kraut, and thousand island dressing on toasted marble rye. Note “toasted” and not grilled, as most Reubens are prepared. I doubt many consumers would object. They also offer the Rachel, a “Midwest” version of the Reuben which substitutes turkey for the corned beef, .(most places a “Rachel” substitutes pastrami for the corned beef, and slaw for the kraut) If you are really bold, you can get a half and half at Arby’s. Turkey and corned beef? Not for me, but you might like it! Extra hungry? Ask for the double stack, which doubles the meat portion at an additional cost.
How was it? Good for what it was, especially when you compare it to a $27 sandwich at a Manhattan deli! I do admit it was a lot better grilled, as I took half home and did that later.
The bogo was an LTO for St. Patrick’s Day, but the Reuben is on the Arby’s menu for the foreseeable future.
Find your nearest Arby’s here.