My husband and I have been nostalgic lately. I mentioned a restaurant from my past and it just started a roll call of a bunch of the places where we ate when we were kids. This led to checking them out on the internet to see if they still existed.
As I grew up in Wichita, Kansas and my husband grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, most of our memories are not shared as many of our memorable places were regional to our area. That being said, I have more detailed memories of these locations than my husband. This is probably because I have a very unhealthy obsession with food.
One of my first memories is of a burger joint called Sandy’s. We had a location just at the end of the block where we lived. I can remember walking there from my house and, if I had pocket change, buying soda. This was set up like a typical fast food restaurant with a counter and grill behind the counter. However, on the sides of the kitchen there were glass walls with counters and bar stools. I can remember sitting on a stool, laying my chin on the cool stainless steel counter, and watching the cooks flip the burgers and drop the fries into the fryers.
Sandy was the plaid tam wearing girl used to represent this burger spot. I can remember the day I walked to Sandy’s to get a soda and saw that all the plaid markings were gone and Hardees had taken over. It was never the same, especially when they ripped out the counter seating and glass wall.
Occasionally we would go out for pizza and when I was really young we would go to Shakeys Pizza. There apparently are still Shakeys locations but none near where I live. See locations: http://www.shakeys.com/. I can remember the pizza being thin crust and served up by people wearing striped vests and Styrofoam “straw” hats with Shakeys hatbands. With Dixieland jazz playing while you ate there might be surprise live entertainment from a banjo player.
When fish and chips were desired for a meal my dad would take us to Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips. I can’t remember much about this other than it was located across the street from Wesley Hospital in Wichita. While searching the internet it appears that the Arthur Treacher’s name was bought by Nathan’s Famous, home of hot dogs. But apparently it is possible to get AT’s fish and chips there. Read about it here: http://nathansfamous.com/PageFetch/getpage.php?pgid=23
Once Towne East Mall opened in Wichita we took to visiting Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. This place was an old-fashioned ice cream shop with soda fountain. They had a candy counter that had old-fashioned candy and the largest jawbreakers you could ever find. But the most fun was when someone ordered “Farrell’s Zoo® Serves 1-10 Every creation except the keeper. So huge it takes two strong Servers to deliver it to your table. Their knees sag under FOUR flavors of our famous ice cream. THREE fruit flavor sherbets, FOUR delicious toppings, whipped cream, cherries, and bananas. $49.99 Additional servings $4.99 per person.” http://www.farrellsusa.com/index.php
I can remember when someone would order this – usually for a family gathering or a birthday party it would be loaded onto a carrier that two servers would put on the shoulders and run through the restaurant with music playing to deliver it to the table. Of course, with this fanfare, you couldn’t help but watch as the group tried to eat the ice cream and secretly wish that sometime the servers would deliver one to your table. But that never happened, however, I did usually leave with a monster sized jawbreaker that I would leave in the bag and have to slam on the ground several times to break it into pieces to fit in my mouth. I had to do this because I was so doggone impatient to lick the darn thing. So perhaps the next time I’m in California or Hawaii (yeah, right), I will stop in to Farrell’s and gather a group of people to chow down on the Zoo or maybe just settle on the Pig’s Trough – a treat for two.
Many Sundays growing up our family would head to the Lazy R (imagine that R backwards and leaning back). The interior looked like a place for ranch hands. They had the yummiest chili cheese burgers and Dad would oftentimes go back to the counter to order dessert which was typically one order of banana dumpling and apple fritters. We would split these among the five of us in my family. These fried delicacies had the sweetest, thickest syrup on top. This is likely what accounted for my extra poundage in my youth.
And I will leave you with my memories of a place called Casey Jones Junction. I don’t remember if the food here was good or not but, let me tell you as a young child under the age of 7, there is absolutely nothing better than watching a train circle the restaurant at different levels of the building, watch the fry cook place your burger and fries into a train car and watch it make its way from the kitchen to your table where it stops and you remove your food from the cars.
The husband remembers Burger Shef and Jeff and The Flaming Pit where they had all you could eat fried chicken and a treasure chest with toys for the kids as they left. His family also spent time at Dohack’s where there was once again all you could eat fried chicken. But his best restaurant memory from his youth was the Sunday nights spent at Bentley’s on Manchester Road in St. Louis where their regular waiter Arthur would greet them like family and knew their orders before they even sat down. Typically it was prime rib.
Now that I’ve typed up the discussion of all these restaurants, I’ve worked up quite an appetite. I would give anything for a plate of Lazy R apple fritters right now with the wallpaper paste thick coating. Anybody out there have the recipe?
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