Hernando County Historical Commission bans fast-food restaurant arms race

By Frank Fencil | frank.fencil@springhillcourier.com

BROOKSVILLE, Florida — If you’re asking where’s the beef, it’s likely to be because it has become so hard to find in a fast-food landscape increasingly focused on sprawling playgrounds, live-action pizza theaters and water slides.

In an effort to curb what is being labeled as “aggressive overdevelopment,” the Hernando County Historical Commission has voted to halt all fast-food restaurant renovations indefinitely.

Citing the need to preserve some form of local historical integrity of Nature Coast nosh, the commission squashed the seemingly never-ending race between the county’s fast-food chains one-upping each other with classier, more modern designs and thrilling rides and features.

Most recently, a chain pizza restaurant opened up a “theater” where baking has become a sort of spectator sport, and the new Wendy’s now has a water slide and small roller coaster.

“Used to be you could drive up historic Mariner Boulevard and see wonderful places like Taco John’s and Chick-N-Quick,” said Thomas Moore, chairman of the historical commission. “Now every McDonald’s looks like a Starbucks, Taco Bells have mood lighting and Wendy’s thinks it’s some kind of Taj Mahal. It’s too much, too fast.”

Moore was quick to pile praise up on all of the county’s Burger Kings for their commitment to a what he called a “bygone era of classic culinary charisma.”

“You can walk into the Burger King at 19 and Applegate and think there’s a chance you might get an ALF toy in your kids meal,” Moore said. “It’s a special feeling and one we have to preserve for future generations unless we want kids to grow up thinking Hardee’s is just a theme park where you get diarrhea.”

Frank Fencil

Frank Fencil is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades' experience. He has uncovered government corruption, toppled dirty police forces and covered two foreign wars as an international correspondent. He chose to return to his native Spring Hill in hopes of giving his hometown the quality watchdog journalism it deserves.

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