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New book explores how some iconic restaurant chains started in California

EL PASO, Texas -- Denny's. Taco Bell. IHOP. In-N-Out. Some of America's most iconic fast food and restaurant chains got their start in California. A new book by author and chef George Geary explores their origin stories and what made them famous.

Geary appeared on ABC-7 at Four to talk about the book "Made in California: The California-born Burger Joints, Diners, Fast Food & Restaurants That Changed America." He explained how the book came together.

"I was doing a story for USA Today on a few places that started in California," Geary said. "And I thought, you know, I'm going to make a list and go into some research mode and I found over a hundred companies that started in California. Fast food restaurants, diners, things like that that went nationwide. And I was driving in West Lafayette, Indiana, and you know when you're on the highway, you see the big sign that says all these places are next. Well, I'm counting them, and 12 of the 14 locations started in California."

Geary tells the remarkable stories of the early 20th-century food startups that captured America's hearts and stomachs, from Bob's Big Boy to McDonald's, Winchell's Donuts to In-N-Out, Peet's Coffee to Taco Bell. Filled with over 200 historic and contemporary photos, he succinctly captures the stories of these essential businesses and structures before they are gone forever.

"In my earlier years as a food writer and professional, I would never have admitted to anyone that I actually eat at these establishments," Geary says. "But after seeing Julia Child eat McDonald's French fries in person and say that they were her favorite, and after hearing Anthony Bourdain claim that In-N-Out Burger was the best burger around, I knew that I, too, could come out of my kitchen and into the drive-thru. Now I get to celebrate these places in this book."

Made in California covers such iconic food establishments such as Shakey's Pizza Parlor, The International House of Pancakes (IHOP), See's Candies, Orange Julius, Marie Callender Pie Shop (Marie Callender's), The Blimp (Carl's Jr.), Burt's/Snowbird Ice Cream (Baskin-Robbins), and many, many more.

The book is available now on Amazon and at bookstores nationwide.

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Mark Ross

Mark Ross is an anchor/producer for ABC-7.

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