Thomas Carson was in line at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Arby’s to make sure he would get free meals for one year when the restaurant reopened Monday.
To no surprise, Carson was the first of 50 customers to receive the tickets for 52 free meals – one for each week of the year.
“If there’s something going on and I don’t have to work then I will go,” he said. “It’s better when there’s a lot of people waiting in line because you can have some fun.”
The restaurant at 29 Boardman-Canfield Road reopened Monday after being rebuilt. A grand-opening celebration is scheduled for next week.
The location was rebuilt to follow Arby’s new Inspire restaurant design as part of its nationwide remodeling initiative.
This location is actually considered the birthplace of Arby’s.
Brothers Leroy and Forrest Raffel started the restaurant chain that featured roast beef sandwiches in 1964. The two first decided to call the restaurant “Big Tex,” but realized another restaurant in Akron had that name so they went with Arby’s to stand for Raffel brothers or R.B. By 1967, there were 150 Arby’s locations.
Today, there are thousands of Atlanta-based Arby’s locations worldwide.
Residents take pride in knowing where Arby’s got its start.
“I really love Arby’s,” said Aline Christman of Poland. “I love their roast beef and their chicken. I’ve been coming here for years.”
Connie Spin of Boardman was in line on Monday morning to win free meals for a year for her 14-year-old son, Jacob.
“I am planning to bring him here for dinner, so he will still be a part of the meat feast,” Spin said. “When they started building that’s all he talked about. He’s excited that they are finally opening up.”