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A&W Carhop Restaurant Sighted!

I found myself near wine country over the weekend and while I was tooling around in Cortland I happened to glance over to my right and there was an A&W Restaurant, but it wasn’t like the combo KFC one in Oneida, all of the patrons were being served in their cars by carhops!

Wikipedia Creative Commons

I hadn’t experienced anything like this since visiting a Sonic Drive-in Restaurant as a kid in Kansas and no, the carhops weren’t on skates like the logo on the Oldiez van (DANG!) but that didn’t matter, how cool to be able to sit in your car and get goodies brought to like the old days! You order just like you would order food at a drive-thru using a speaker that you hit a call-button on to let them know you’re parked. Once your order is complete, a girl brings it out and places the tray on your window with your root beer floats or whatever you’re after and yes they even bring out their beverages in those iconic frosty glass mugs (although we got ours in to go cups, meh.)

Only problem is the windows of today are slanted unlike the even windows of yesteryear so the tray was angled a bit and was right next to my shoulder so it was a tad awkward reaching up to it but hey, when you’re hungry you have no problem getting that food from hand to mouth! Once you’re done, you hit a switch and the carhop comes back out to grab your tray and wish you a nice day… Here’s a few shots of what it looked like from my perspective:

panoramic: Keith James
photo: Keith James
photo: Keith James
photo: Keith James

A&W was one of the first successful fast food chains in our nation even having more stores than Mcdonald’s back in the 70’s and claims to be the first company to have opened up a carhop restaurant a couple years after the novelty idea was first thought up. Although the carhop days have come and gone, it’s fun to reminisce and experience what things used to be like especially in the technological information age we live in now. If you’re looking for an excuse to split town, below is a google map of the location, it’s worth the 90 minute drive for sure… But jump on it cause I’m not sure how much carhops enjoy shuttling food back and forth in the winter… You might see a fry or two missing!


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