Although there was a McDonald's at the corner of Leavitt Road and W. Erie Avenue as early as 1960, I don't remember ever eating there as a kid. The drive-in my family patronized was Sandy's on Meister Road, which was closer to our home.
Although Sandy's is largely forgotten now, at one time the chain seriously challenged McDonald's and Burger King. The story of how the company began is an interesting one.
Sandy's origin had a McDonald's connection. The company was started by a group of four businessmen from Kewanee, Illinois who jointly owned a successful McDonald's franchise in Urbana. However, when the group attempted to exercise their option to open additional franchises in Peoria and Decatur, Ray Kroc denied them permission as he had decided to limit new franchises to single owners. Frustrated, the four businessmen decided to start their own drive-in chain and in 1958 Sandy's was born.