Is it just me or didn't we all think McDonald's was Illinois' oldest fast food joint?

I've heard the story countless times about Ray Croc, the Des Plaines location, and 1955 I didn't think it was possible there was another fast food joint older than the original McDonald's franchise.

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Turns out, I was wrong.

Fully expecting to see McDonald's listed as Illinois' oldest fast food joint in a recent article from LoveFood via MSN, what I got was something altogether different.

It was a restaurant I was completely unaware of, in a town I've only visited a few times in my life.

I mean, I did go to Springfield as a child to see the state's capital and all that good stuff, but I guess I should have begged to make a stop at the Cozy Dog Drive In.

That's because that tiny drive-in has been around longer than McDonald's and it's officially the oldest fast food joint in Illinois.

LoveFood via MSN:

Founded in 1946, this retro restaurant on historic Route 66 has a lengthy fast food-oriented menu, but the main attraction is its signature Cozy Dog, which is essentially an early version of the now-familiar corn dog. Ed Waldmire started toying with recipes for corn batter-coated deep fried hot dogs on a stick back in the 1940s and they’ve continued to be a favorite in Illinois.

Is Waldmire and the Cozy Dog the inventor of the corn dog?

The story goes like this, Waldmire was in Oklahoma and he had a hot dog baked inside cornbread, but thought it took too long to make.

So according to Bar-S:

He (Waldmire) told his friend Don Strand about it, and Don, whose dad was in the bakery business, got to work coming up with a recipe that would become the modern battered and deep-fried corn dog. After years of perfecting their recipe, they launched cozy dogs in 1946. Would you say they really invented the corn dog, though, or just perfected it?

I guess we'll never know who for sure invented corn dogs, but I can at least tell you we know for certain that Cozy Dog Drive In, 2935 South 6th Street in Springfield, is Illinois' oldest fast food joint.

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