You Can Always Spot a Former Long John Silver’s Location

This looks like a former Long John Silver's location. (Photo by Michael E. Grass)

This looks like a former Long John Silver’s location. (Photo by Michael E. Grass)

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Before driving through town, I didn’t know much about Wyoming’s third-largest city except that it was the home of the University of Wyoming and the site where Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered in 1998. After I passed through Laramie on my way west, I didn’t know much more than when I came.

This is where the Lincoln Highway, following U.S. 30, diverges from Interstate 80 for roughly 95 miles before reconnecting near the dusty unincorporated settlement of Walcott.

Laramie’s downtown, set on a grid of square blocks east of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, seemed relatively charming, but there wasn’t much here that compelled me to go out to explore.

On my way into town, however, a place called the Teriyaki Bowl caught my attention for an odd reason: It had the classic characteristics of a Long John Silver’s franchise location.

It had a symmetrical pseudo-Colonial design with exterior wooden planks arranged vertically, a cupola on the roof and two doors flanking a squared-off bay window. There’s nothing inherent in this cookie-cutter design that screams out “I am a place that pretends to be dockside where you can get fried fish, tartar sauce, buttered corn-on-the-cob nibblers and hush puppies,” but for most Americans familiar with 1970s and 1980s suburban corridors, this standard design is something instantly identified with Long John Silver’s.

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