Hi, I’m the Wendy’s on New York Avenue, “Dave Thomas Circle” as some of you call it, and as you may know, my days are numbered. Even so, I’ve been called a swirling eddy of hell, been told that I drive one of the devil’s great engines of human misery, and it’s been implied (in this very publication) that my existence inspires the need to “unfuckify” the intersection in which I sit. But today, I take time away from serving fresh food at a fair price to pen this letter. To tell the denizens of DC that they’re kicking a humble neighborhood franchise of (a global fast food chain, I’ll admit) while it’s down. In other words, you’re being mean.
It’s not my fault D.C.’s streets are so strange. The wide diagonal boulevards that both lead to circles and are superimposed over a grid were not my idea. For that, you can thank Pierre L’Enfant, Baroque city planning, or even Pythagoras, for making diagonal lines so popular. For the fact that these circles are now so frustrating, you can thank the invention of the automobile. Dave Thomas nor I had anything to do with it.
That’s a cute name, “Dave Thomas Circle,” poking fun at my founder. But I’d like to point out, his inventions, unlike Pierre L’Enfant’s, were practical. Where L’Enfant failed to predict the invention of the car, Thomas revolutionized the “Pick Up Window,” a concept that allowed denizens to enjoy spicy chicken sandwiches in their cars. He also pioneered the use of fresh meat for burgers at casual restaurant chains. When you think about that, The Mall really starts to seem just like an overrated field, am I right?
I am not trying to minimize the importance of traffic safety. Some of you may be surprised to learn I am a full-throated supporter of smaller cars, slower speeds and dedicated bike lanes. I would like people to try my new Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit (only $1.99) safely. Plus, do you think I enjoy all the noise? It’s impossible to hear myself think, let alone brainstorm filling, easy-to-order combos that meet a variety of tastes. Also, I too am scared—I live in constant fear of some driver opening an Explorer-sized hole in my side.
But alas, you do not like me. When you travel these parts, your rage, scorn and ire are directed my way. I see the middle fingers. The behind-wheel huffing and puffing. The moments when you throw up your hands and stare at me like “WHAT THE FUCK?!?!” I have feelings, you know. After all, I am named after Dave Thomas’ very cute daughter.
I’d like to point out that when you enter this intersection, traffic circle or “civic cluster fuck” — whatever you choose to call it — I am just the first structure you see. But I am not the only business on the block, hardly the only building whose presence calls for this road layout.
Why doesn’t anybody direct their hatred to the ATF’s headquarters (if that’s what that office building really is, anyway…)? They’ve had their fair share of controversies. Remember Waco? Why don’t you think about Waco next time you’re driving by?
Also, they do not sell alcohol, tobacco or firearms. Or even have a drive through. And they definitely don’t have fries!
As far as food in the area goes, I am about as good as it gets. Where are the personalities of famed three letter institutions like the ATF, the NPR and the REI going to get lunch? Moe’s?
You don’t hate me, a franchise Wendy’s, a part of the beloved national brand with funny Reggie Miller commercials and a fire social media presence. You hate the land I am on. Besides, there are worse things I could be: a Johnson and Johnson production plant, a hotel frequented by Matt Gaetz, a Moe’s.
Nevertheless, you’ve won. I am leaving. The city used eminent domain to buy me for $13 million dollars — 13 times the proverbial expression “feeling like a million bucks.” Too bad I don’t feel that way.
Oh the memories! I’ve seen a woman exit her car in the middle of the traffic circle, come in and order a Baconator combo with a Diet Coke, receive her order made with quality ingredients and ready within minutes, then return to her car which had not moved an inch. I’ve seen men make a living selling Gatorades and waters to drivers stuck in purgatory. I’ve seen a couple share a 10-piece nuggets combo, a Lime scooter and the beauty of youth simultaneously. I’ve served breakfast, lunch and dinner to the fine people of this city, and it has given my life purpose. It will be sad to go.
Our slogan, since day one, has been “Quality is Our Recipe.” A far cry from how DC takes on a project. Have fun with all the demolition and construction it will require to eradicate me.
So now, I ask you, the people who have been so mean to me, at the moment I have lost, in my 25th hour: what are you going to do when you’re still stuck in traffic at that intersection, but I’m not there to blame?
I know what the answer isn’t: get a Frosty.