Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Everyone pile into the Neato Time Machine and let’s all go to A&W circa 1972!

Heck, you don’t even need a time machine to visit a classic A&W all you need, is a set of wheels that will get you to Boonville, Missouri. On Ashley Road you’ll find an important remnant from the early 1970's.

If you’re like me and have any interest in vintage architecture and roadside history you’ll have a hard time parking your car. You’ll probably park crooked while you stare at that magnificent “hat” style A&W building with its original sign. Don’t worry - that’s what I did!

Oh yes, it gets even better once you walk inside.

The first thing you’ll see is a fireplace. A fireplace in a fast food restaurant? You betcha! That was standard in most A&W restaurants from the early 1970's. I can’t wait to go back in the winter because they still use the blasted thing!!

After you order your Papa Burger, fries and a ice cold frosty mug of root beer you can sit in one of the original two-toned booths and gaze at the faux Tiffany style lights complete with A&W logo.

While you’re gawking around be sure to notice the vintage record covers that line the top of the wall. Of course they were new when the restaurant opened, but now they’re retro!

Remember to save room for dessert. Most will go for a root beer float and that is a good choice but at this A&W they serve something special that I’d never had before - a root beer twist ice cream cone. Heavens to Murgatroyd, it’s the best ice cream cone I’ve had in ages. Unlike the wimpy cones at McDonald’s or other fast food joints this one fills the cone and is tall and full of flavor. Plus the cone is fresh and crisp!

Even though Boonville is home to some important Missouri history and a popular “moat” casino the main draw should be this classic A&W.

Kudos to the owners of this roadside treasure for keeping the restaurant intact and original. Please never change and keep on serving those Root Beer twist ice cream cones!!


wiec? said...

wow! i loved the A&W joint that was a couple of towns over from where i grew up. i still have my mug from there. it's a bit faded and chipped though.

good to see they keep the home fires burning there too.

Mr. Karswell said...

Truly amazing! I'm gonna plan a road trip there ASAP! Really nice photos too Todd, but where were all the customers that day?

Todd Franklin said...

wiec? - The cool thing the mug is from your childhood A&W!

Karswell - You'll love it! Actually we hit in the afternoon and I snapped the pics between customers coming in going.

Major Pepperidge said...

There is still an A&W restaurant in my dad's childhood home of Austin Minnesota. I've been going there (when we visit) my whole life. You can sit inside, or pull up to your very own speaker, order your food, and a car hop will bring it out to you and hang it from your car window with the special tray. Maybe it is just my imagination, but the burgers, onion rings, and of course the root beer always seemed to be the best ever.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! What a cool restaurant.

I fondly remember eating at the one here in Huntsville, Alabama in the early 2000s before it was torn down in early 2001 or 2002 and replaced with a car lot. It surely wasn't good for anybody's arteries, but it had tons of character--pictures of local swim teams on the wall, the worn out vintage fireplace and decor, greasy walls, and a rent-a-cop on Friday nights!

Even though we didn't start dating until after it was torn down, my wife and I often wish we could go down to the old A&W and grab a greasy burger.

David W. said...

That's cool.

There was an old A&W near where I grew up, and into the 1980's they still had the
A&W Burger Family
perched on light poles in the parking lot.

I never ate there, but those big fiberglass figures always caught my eye as a kid. The A&W moved out a long time ago, and the building is now used as a MOOSE lodge.

Sheila said...

My cousin & her husband own this A & W & we had a spur of the moment family reunion here one Friday night a few weeks ago. Really a neat place to meet!

Anonymous said...

I am from Cooper County Mo and worked at this A&W around 1986-1987 between my Sophomore and Junior year of H.S.

Anonymous said...

I grew up there and now I live about an hour away and my kids love going there to eat so we try to hit it every once in a while when we go back. I have had several family members work there over the years. Its a great piece of history.