Random Thoughts

The Hot ‘n’ Now Apocalypse

One of the most disturbing and mysterious events of my lifetime was the sudden disappearance of every Hot ‘n’ Now in the country. One day I was enjoying their large Olive Burger with a medium Surge, and the next day all of them had packed up and gone. Literally in the course of human history we have only really ever witnessed three mass disappearances. Pompeii (there wasn’t much they could have done about that other than ran like hell), the Mayans, and the Hot ‘n’ Nows.

Nowadays when you drive by what was once a Hot ‘n’ Now, it is a stark and all too real vision of a post Apocalyptic America. Typically there is still an advertisement on the marquee for whatever the last special was, usually with a few letters missing (“Try ur ho and spi y Chi ken Wi gs”). How innocent they were those brief moments before disaster struck, living as if the fast food prosperity would surely never cease.

There is also usually some sort of car in the parking lot, whether it be a rusted Chevy with the front passenger side wheel missing, or a Charger that a local neighborhood kid was working on and didn’t want to park it on their own street. Sometimes you may even see a Dodge Neon still in the drive thru, clearly signifying that, much like Pompeii, the apocalypse had captured a still life of the final order.

In quite a few cases that I have witnessed, a Taco Boy sought the opportunity for the empty building and old deep fat fryers, and have moved in, trying desperately to fill the Hot ‘n’ Now void. But we all know it’s really only a matter of time.

However (but soft!), when I stopped by a local Hot ‘n’ Now in Muskegon, MI, to take pictures and document this mysterious tragedy, I was shocked to see that it was open. Not only that, but people were actually actively in the drive thru when I pulled in. Seizing the opportunity, I bought some cheez taters. I can only assume that the people who prepared the food and served it quickly and cheerfully must have been squatters. Or perhaps some ancient remnant of the once proud Hot ‘n’ Nation. If you listen closely, you can hear the subtle accents in their voices. The gentle convenience and speed of service. The icy refreshment of a large fountain soda. The promise of always fresh ingredients. This was an ancient society that was truly “hot and now.”

For more information about the Hot ‘n’ Now Apocalypse, visit http://www.flickr.com/groups/hot-n-now/

7 thoughts on “The Hot ‘n’ Now Apocalypse”

  1. Dang, I loved Hot ‘n’ Now. There was one a few blocks from my house here in Holt that I went to a lot, and their corporate headquarters were right across the street from it. I remember how sad it was when I made a trip home from Calvin a few years back and saw “closed” written on the sign out in front. It sat there untouched for a few years with weeds growing up around it, and just recently some developer bought it and is turning it into a drive-through coffee shop. It’s very sad.

    I think that what did them in was that they started to get away from their original formula of cheap and fast. Their burgers suddenly got bigger and more expensive in their last few years, and they introduced a bunch of new chicken things and other specials to their menu, and it was just too much to handle doing all at once. I miss that place.

  2. Once, while working as a janitor, we ordered about 30 burgers from Hot n Now for lunch, and they shorted us by one or two. This is from the third franchise pictured on Flickr; Eastern Avenue, baby! Apparently the employee wages were also 39 cents/hour, and their lack of attention to detail drove the business into the ground.

  3. Hot and Now is like He-Man, because Hot N’ Now usually rides around on a green and orange stripped tiger yelling about having “the power”. Wait, no that’s not right. When I think back about Hot N’ Now it seems like the food was really good and cheap. But I think there’s a sneakiness in memory here, like He-man. If you watch He-Man now, one of your all-time favorite childhood cartoons , it doesn’t hold up at all. You are astounded at how you could have been so entertained by what you are now seeing. Same thing for Hot N’ Now. I remember the last time I had Hot N’ Now, it was a $1 Triple Cheeseburger in the back of Morgan’s Dad’s station wagon and the three of us were on our way to a K-Wings game or something. Something about that memory sounds really good, but I’m betting that Hot N’ Now beef standards could have spawned their own Fast Food Nation spin-off title something like “Hot N’ Lifethreatening” or “Hot N’ Microbial”. I’m almost sorry that Morgan found an open Hot N’ Now, because the memory of a thing is almost always better than the thing itself. Possibly the memory of Hot N’ Now is strong enough to mask any quality control even today if you happen upon one of the few remnants of this astounding and ancient culture.

  4. Using my contacts for reconnoissance, I have discovered that there is still a Hot and Now open in Roseville, Michigan. My agent in Mount Pleasant has yet to give me a definitive answer, but we suspect that whatever foul play has begun to undermine the Hot and Now empire may have struck. Details as they arrive.

  5. the poor chains bankruptcy sucks. I remeber eating these deliscious burgers in middle school. Then it dissapeared, or, so I thought. It appears one is also located in Westland, Michigan as well……..wayne and ford roads….it is there. the food, excellent.

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