Wednesday, October 3, 2007

West Plains Time Warp

A short distance across the border from Mammoth Spring, you'll find the town of West Plains, MO -- home of the Zizzers. This small metropolis is home to many wonders -- but none that surprised me more than the Suds 'N'.

Traveling through the area on a Friday night in September, craving a banana split, my traveling companion and I found this wonder along Business 63 downtown. The neon lit up the moonless night like a beacon into the past. We pulled up for a try.

And this isn't your average drive-thru, not even a Sonic type drive-thru. Here, the actual lighted menu signs and tray are still available -- you remember, those great trays that you used to be able to use to hold your food while you dined a la car? They may have disappeared from most eateries but here they're fully functional.

It was 8:45 on a Monday night, when all rational people should be home watching football on TV. Instead, the parking lot was half full of happy, talkative customers.

Had to be pretty good, right?

Well, one problem right off the bat. There are way too many choices on the menu. From the Chicken Delight to the Pepper Steak Sandwich to the 14 different side items... dang! How can you make a good choice? And to top it off, there's an extra menu with even more items taped to each side of the light box!

Your order can either be prepared to eat there, or to go. There's even a dining room full of memorabilia inside.

And then there's the root beer -- ho boy. Mighty fine.

Suds 'N' also does breakfast -- which is another menu taped up to the side of the box. And they serve an old tradition -- the Sack of Burgers -- five burgers for $5.99.

But our treat this night was a classic banana split. And at $2.49, we couldn't go wrong. It didn't take long for our carhop to deliver the goods. And what a classic -- a banana, split lengthwise in half, with squirts of soft serve ice cream alongside -- with gobs of strawberry, chocolate, and pineapple topping. And it was divine -- especially on a night where it was about 65 degrees out.

Oh, and they were served in banana boats! How cool!

To find this blast from the past, travel up Highway 63 from Mammoth Springs. When you get to West Plains, take the business loop. The restaurant will be on your right -- about a block past another (yes, another!) drive in. The physical address is 301 W. Broadway. And you can call in your order in advance to (417) 256-6128.

4 comments:

  1. That looks like an old "Dog n Suds"

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  2. I was thinking the same thing, but I wasn't 100% sure, and the carhop had no idea.

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  3. Indeed, I believe it is. Note the shape of the arrow on the sign, plus the "sawtooth" design that matches the "fencepost" on the Dog n Suds sign (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dognsudssign.jpg ).

    Plus the shape of the building & related neon on it makes be think it IS an old Dog n Suds. I think there's still one in Paragould. I know there's one at Cherokee Pass, MO on US 67 (or was 2 Summers ago)

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  4. It is an old Dog N Suds. I wish the older operators were more willing to regroup and rebuild the name. Dog N Suds is expanding in Michigan currently. A new (old building, renovated) was opened in Norton Shores, MI in 2007. Pictures can be seen at www.dog-n-suds.com .

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Be kind.