Before McDonalds, before Taco Bell, before Subway there was A&W.
Growing up my family did not eat out too often. For one thing, our budget did not allow for such expenses but also there were not many fast-food chains like we have now.
When we had the occasional treat, it was fun to go to the local A&W drive in. There was no drive through lane to order the food and go and no inside seating. My dad just drove up to the restaurant, a young girl would come to the car, take our order and return with everything on a tray which was attached to the car window.
Dad would then pass the food back to me and my siblings and we would sit in the car with the windows all down and enjoy our treat.
I always ordered the coney hot dog. But the best thing about the meal was the root beer served in the big frosted glass mugs.
It has been years since I saw an A&W drive in. Yesterday we were driving through the country when we spotted the A&W sign and quickly pulled in for a meal.
Sitting in the car eating a coney cheese dog with lots of mustard and cheese and trying not to get the food all over me, what great memories I had.
And the root beer was wonderful! You can buy A&W root beer in the stores now but it is not the same as the root beer from the tap in the big frosted mugs.
Oh what a treat!
The store had a sign announcing that A&W is now 100 years old. Checking it out I discovered the founder Roy Allen set up a stand to sell mugs of his root beer for a nickel during a homecoming parade for World War I veterans in 1919. A few years later, in 1922, he formed a partnership with one of his employees, Frank Wright, and thus they came up with the name A&W.
From Lodi, California it quickly spread across the country. At its peak it had over 2000 stores. Today it is down to just 600 stores, but the owners of the franchisee have plans to begin expanding again.
The CEO of the franchisee, Kevin Bazner says:
“It really amazes me when I travel—and I am always wearing a logo pin or gear—at every airport, hotel, and restaurant, when I meet people, there are so many stories out there that include fond memories of an A&W restaurant,” he says. Whether it’s stopping at one during a visit to grandparents’ or as a toddler with their parents, “the memories are very strong.”
Yes, I agree. What memories I had yesterday sitting in my car with a coney cheese dog and a mug of root beer!
Gotta find another A&W closer to home so I can enjoy that root beer again!