Tourists are generally unaware that along with the Golden Gate Bridge and its trolley cars, the city of San Francisco is famous for drive-in restaurants. Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs started it all back in 1947 when they built their first carhop eatery, inspired by similar restaurants serving motorists in the Los Angeles area. With a staff of 14 carhops covering a 30,000-sq.-ft. parking lot, they lured the hungry car owner with a local radio personality broadcasting live. As music reverberated through dashboard radios in the drive-up lanes, the curb-stepping gals of 140…continue reading →
Before the turn of the century, pharmacist Caleb Bradham’s drugstore was a favorite gathering place for the residents of New Bern, North Carolina. In those days of horse-drawn carriages and gaslight, bottled soda refreshment was rare and soft drinks the domain of the neighborhood druggist. There, a stomach-soothing concoction known as “Brad's Drink” became a favorite fountain mix, it's taste energized by Bradham's addition of cola nut extract and pepsin (a digestive enzyme that breaks down protein). By 1898, Bradham realized that a drink capable of calming the gut and refreshing the palate…continue reading →
When it comes to the Southern staple known as fried chicken, the Brookshire Brothers deli department has got the Colonel on the run. OK … so they don’t have all the fancy batters like Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy®, Super Crispy®, Extra-super Crispy®, or Extra-super-duper Crispy®, but they have enough of a variety to satisfy the most discerning fried chicken addict. What they do have are two of the most basic, country-style, Wimberley, Texas standards: it’s what the folks around these here parts refer to as “the spicy kind” and “the not-so-spicy kind.” Sorry…continue reading →
Orange shaped-and-colored refreshment stands used to be numerous along the highways of California, New Mexico, and Arizona. During the 20s and 30s, they provided the perfect outlet to utilize fallen fruit and sell it in the form of juice. Later, when oranges became synonymous with these regions, tourists were compelled to sample the best local fruit groves had to offer. You see—more than a half a century ago, soda pop was reserved for special occasions. Back then, freshly squeezed orange juice was the real thing and people didn’t mind stopping on the side…continue reading →
The Pegasus, Mobil's dauntless mascot—it commands the motorist’s attention everywhere it’s seen. Blazing its way into the sky on a trail of hot neon or affixed to a station building in the form of pressed tin or enameled steel, it’s been a familiar brush stroke on highways such as Route 66 for well over fifty years. Within the category of petroleum trademarks, there has never been another corporate trademark like it, and there will never be again. According to the Mobil Oil Corporation, the venerable “Flying Red Horse” was adopted as a logo…continue reading →
During the twilight of the fifties, the Englander Company manufactured a commercial sleeping slab with a mechanical vibrator at its core. One of their top salesman, John Houghtaling (HUFF-tay-ling), peddled the unit to customers in the lodging industry. When a number of clients complained that the buzz-boxes were burning out, he took it ...