June 4, 1965, Neenah-Menasha Northwestern
While technically just across the "border" in Neenah, I think few of us would quibble about including this establishment in a blog about Menasha. Robby's was a chain of hamburger restaurants based in Wisconsin and quite popular for its time. What fascinated me most as a kid was that Green Bay Packer fullback Jim Grabowski was a Vice President of the chain. He appeared in many of their advertisements, as evidenced below. At their peak, there were at least 13 Wisconsin locations as well as five in Minnesota and two more in Michigan. But they went out of business in the '70s. It was around this time that I heard rumors that their product was, shall we say, of an equine nature? Was this the main reason they closed shop, or was it generally due to the beef shortages that plagued the food industry in the early '70s? One theory is that the meat crisis was caused by, of all things, a massive reduction in the population of anchovies living off the coast of South America. As these tiny fish migrated elsewhere, farmers who relied on them for animal feed had to pay ever-increasing prices, driving up the cost of beef. This, in turn, led to black market butchers, runs on beef supplies, and the rise of pasta as a main dish for many families. Others blame a lag in grain production which was a vital component of animal feed at the same time as demands mounted for more beef. In time, of course, meat supplies stabilized and prices dropped, but the damage had been done. And when the smoke cleared, smaller restaurant chains, like Robby's, were the victims.
December 6, 1969, Appleton Post-Crescent