Friday, March 30, 2012

Red Barn Burgers/Then and Now

Red Barn was an American chain with restaurants here in Toronto as well. This remaining building (now a Mr. Sub) is on Dundas east of the 427. I remember a rumour (probably disinformation from the competition) that they had been "caught" selling horse meat in their burgers...
A quick search of the internet revels that this rumour is well spread.
From Wikipedia:

The Red Barn restaurant was a fast-food restaurant chain that was founded in 1961 in Springfield, OH by Don Six, Martin Levine and Jim Kirsch. In 1963, the small chain was purchased by Richard O. Kearns, and the offices moved briefly to Dayton, OH, followed by a move in August 1964 to Fort Lauderdale, FL. In the late 1960s Servomation bought the company followed by Motel 6 in the late 1970s. The new owners ceased advertising for the chain and the franchise leases were allowed to expire with the last of the leases expiring around 1986. At its peak, Red Barn had 300-400 restaurants in 19 states as well as outlets in Southern Ontario, elsewhere in Canada, and in Australia.[1]

Following the shutdown of operations, most of the Red Barn buildings were converted for other uses. A few of the chain restaurants were renamed "The Farm" in various states and continued serving the same menu items that were available when they were under their Red Barn franchise.

A vintage television commercial:

There is some discussion that these puppets were created by Jim Henson but I've found nothing to substantiate this claim.


  1. I always wondered what this building was before it was a Mr. Sub. Now I know!

  2. I distinctly remember reading in the newspaper (either the kw record or galt newspaper) back in 1971 or 1972 that the red barn had indeed been charged with using horse meat instead of beef in their "hamburgers". It was not a rumour. I was an avid red barn fan at the time. The horse meat fiasco was the reason I became a vegetarian right then and there, and have been one since. :)

  3. The French don't seem to mind...

  4. Odd, horse meat is considered a delicacy in most parts of the world.
    Although my main staple of food has had to have gone moo at onw time.

  5. I remember Uncle Bobby shilling for the Red Barn with "Come to the Red Barn, yum, yum." to the tune of "Shave and a Haircut, two bits"

  6. There was another one out in Scarborough that was a record store. That was almost 20 years ago that I saw it though. I live in New Brunswick now.

  7. There was one on the west side of Yonge st.between Finch & Steeles around '65 -'68 near a Canadian Tire I miss the 15 cent Burgs...

  8. My first job (part time while in high school during the mid-'70s) was at the Red Barn located at the corner of Lawrence and Pharmacy in Scarborough. It was the local fast food joint of choice years before McDonalds came to Canada.

  9. The one in Scarborough was located at Brimley and Eglinton, north-east corner where there is now a No Frills that used to be a Sayvette.

    1. went to that one all the time, Sayvette had a walk way over Danforth, grew up on Trudelle thought it was closer to Danforth than Brimley, liked the food

  10. I Loved The Red Barn Burgers