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Rootbeer Drive-ins
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  • Rootbeer Drive-ins

    Post #1 - August 22nd, 2004, 12:16 am
    Post #1 - August 22nd, 2004, 12:16 am Post #1 - August 22nd, 2004, 12:16 am
    I was searching for info about rootbeer.I know there are still A&W and Dog n Suds still around.Does anyone know if they still have drive-ins?The last time I was in an A&W was the one in Woodfield Mall.The general website for Dog n Suds is disconnected.I also saw on the Roadfood website websites for specific locations.Thank you.
  • Post #2 - August 22nd, 2004, 8:39 am
    Post #2 - August 22nd, 2004, 8:39 am Post #2 - August 22nd, 2004, 8:39 am
    There used to be a Dog N' Suds in Grayslake. You might check that out. I have to confess though that it's been a while since I've been up there.

    What I wouldn't give for a Texas Burger or a Coney Dog and a large root beer!

    Kim
  • Post #3 - August 22nd, 2004, 8:42 am
    Post #3 - August 22nd, 2004, 8:42 am Post #3 - August 22nd, 2004, 8:42 am
    Just checked the AOL Yellow Pages and they do indeed have a listing for Dog N' Suds at 454 Center St., Grayslake. They also have one listed at 517 Washington St, Ingleside, IL. Grayslake is definitely a drive-in.


    Kim
  • Post #4 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:14 pm
    Post #4 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:14 pm Post #4 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:14 pm
    Hi,

    I have passed, though not partaken, both the Grayslake and the Ingleside Dogs n Suds in the last month. Ingleside is a drive-in with a classic car night on Saturday evenings ... though if that rocks your boat, please call to verify if it is every Sunday.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:25 pm
    Post #5 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:25 pm Post #5 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:25 pm
    Yes, drive-on A&Ws *DO* exist. I saw one in Milwaukee Co. near the State Fair park last weekend. The one that I am thionking about had a curb service and the whole nine yards.

    In and around this area, there are dozens of A&W/KFC outlets operated by YUM.

    Personally, I prefer the old franchises operated by families that still make the root beer in the units. The best one that I know of is right on the main grag in Edwardsville, IL.
  • Post #6 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:29 pm
    Post #6 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:29 pm Post #6 - August 22nd, 2004, 1:29 pm
    If you are looking for cheap Dogs and Suds Rootbear and sot drinks, Value City is selling it cheap.
  • Post #7 - August 22nd, 2004, 2:01 pm
    Post #7 - August 22nd, 2004, 2:01 pm Post #7 - August 22nd, 2004, 2:01 pm
    I was interested in the drive-in experience.One of the relatives loves rootbeer.The only one I like so far is Barq's.I know they are currently owned by Coca-Cola but I don't care.All others taste flat to me.The A&W at the restaurant was good plus they gave us frosted mugs.
  • Post #8 - August 22nd, 2004, 4:19 pm
    Post #8 - August 22nd, 2004, 4:19 pm Post #8 - August 22nd, 2004, 4:19 pm
    hattyn wrote:... One of the relatives loves rootbeer. The only one I like so far is Barq's. I know they are currently owned by Coca-Cola but I don't care. All others taste flat to me....


    Tell your relative to try Sprecher's, from Milwaukee. I'm not the root bear enthusiast you seem to have, but Sprecher seems to have a large following among friends of mine who care.

    Or you could try here, which rates bottled root beers, and gives Sprecher a B, while awarding a B+ to Chicago-native Goose Island.

    Or here, with elaborate taste-off reports. Seems clear that Root Beer has its enthusiasts.

    As for getting you carhops with frosty mugs... that's harder. Especially cute ones on roller-skates!
    ---dick
  • Post #9 - August 22nd, 2004, 7:05 pm
    Post #9 - August 22nd, 2004, 7:05 pm Post #9 - August 22nd, 2004, 7:05 pm
    If you are looking for a local root beer, the best that I have tried is Berghoffs which is available in quart bottles at most specialty grocery stores.

    I like Barqs, most A&W in store rootbeer.

    The only one that is really bad is Pepsico's Mug Root Beer.
  • Post #10 - August 23rd, 2004, 4:03 am
    Post #10 - August 23rd, 2004, 4:03 am Post #10 - August 23rd, 2004, 4:03 am
    RheS wrote:As for getting you carhops with frosty mugs... that's harder.


    Don't forget Superdawg!

    They have carhops and root beer. They even make black cows.

    Here's a link to Mike G's "Essentials" post on Chicago's only drive-in.
  • Post #11 - August 23rd, 2004, 9:39 am
    Post #11 - August 23rd, 2004, 9:39 am Post #11 - August 23rd, 2004, 9:39 am
    Superdawg is really in a class by itself, but between A&W and Dog N' Suds, Dog N' Suds is the clear winner. There's an A&W walk-in restaurant near me and I refuse to go in there anymore. The place is always dirty, the food has that pre-packaged feel, and the fries are served just a notch above room temperature (a travesty in my book).

    Kim
  • Post #12 - September 1st, 2004, 1:21 pm
    Post #12 - September 1st, 2004, 1:21 pm Post #12 - September 1st, 2004, 1:21 pm
    I was reading about the Mug 'N' Bun in Indianapolis.If any of you sages of sage have been is it worth the drive?Coming from Chicago's Northside.
  • Post #13 - September 1st, 2004, 1:53 pm
    Post #13 - September 1st, 2004, 1:53 pm Post #13 - September 1st, 2004, 1:53 pm
    hattyn wrote:I was reading about the Mug 'N' Bun in Indianapolis.If any of you sages of sage have been is it worth the drive?Coming from Chicago's Northside.


    The Mug'N Bun has the best root beer I've had- very creamy flavor with a bit of molasses flavor. Good burgers and onion rings, although the tenderloin seems a bit processed.

    For a shorter trip, go to Hamburger Heaven on York and North Avenues in Elmhurst. Great root beer shakes, fries, and fast food burgers. Closes november 1. I've been going there for 35 of my 39 years.

    Saps
  • Post #14 - September 1st, 2004, 2:37 pm
    Post #14 - September 1st, 2004, 2:37 pm Post #14 - September 1st, 2004, 2:37 pm
    saps wrote:For a shorter trip, go to Hamburger Heaven on York and North Avenues in Elmhurst. Great root beer shakes, fries, and fast food burgers. Closes november 1. I've been going there for 35 of my 39 years.

    Saps


    frankly, i won't miss it.

    the root beer I had from them was slightly flat and very weak, comparable (unfavorably) to watered-down a&w.

    the burger had that off taste I've experienced with harlo grill's burgers and river forest grill's sirloin burgers, which I can't place but is definitely poor. it tastes almost porky, again, in a bad way. the texture of the meat was also bad, with a somewhat chewy crust and crumbly insides.

    the fries were from a bag, fried once, and probably sitting too long under a heat lamp.

    ---

    addressing the other portion of the question:

    my favorite root beers are:

    sprecher's on tap, berghoff on tap, 1918 (upper peninsula of michigan brand) on tap.
    sprecher's and berghoff from a bottle, but not nearly as favored as tapped. sprecher's can be bought on tap at poor phil's in oak park, berghoff at the original restaurant on Adams.

    other good bottled brands: abita (louisiana), sonora (arizona).

    sonora and sprecher's both use honey and corn syrup as the sweeteners. berghoff and abita use cane sugar. i'm not sure what 1918 uses, but I suspect cane sugar.

    you can order a root beer sampler from www.popstop.com, which, for $30 plus probably $20 shipping, will ship you 24 different root beers, all bottled.

    the one time I did it I got hires, barq's, a&w, dad's, jones, and 19 microbrews, including abita and sonora.

    regarding root-beer.info, I can't believe he gives "natural brew" a B! it was the most foul swill i've ever tasted. I even tried another just to make sure it was really that bad. ugh.

    thomas kemper and henry weinhards, both of which he rates favorably, are both good, however.

    final edit: gale gand's root beer is also pretty unexciting. not bad, just not good.

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #15 - September 1st, 2004, 2:54 pm
    Post #15 - September 1st, 2004, 2:54 pm Post #15 - September 1st, 2004, 2:54 pm
    Ed,

    Nice review. You can also get Sprecher's on tap (ma favorite, as well) at L.Woods in Lincolnwood along with Sprecher's cream soda. I go there fairly often with my parents. It's a nice "parent friendly" place to take them which has fairly decent food for a LEY place. I'm particularly fond of their fried clams. Freshly made in house with a really good cornmeal type coating.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - September 1st, 2004, 3:33 pm
    Post #16 - September 1st, 2004, 3:33 pm Post #16 - September 1st, 2004, 3:33 pm
    On the subject of microbrew rootbeers, I had a bottle each of Goose Island's rootbeer and orange cream soda. The rootbeer was excellent, sweet and deep bitter notes with a creamy head. The orange was also very good with a strong bitter orange zest note, but I couldn't finish a second bottle of sweet pop in my somewhat dehydrated state. A quart of water was what I needed that day outside of other liquid refreshment.
  • Post #17 - September 13th, 2004, 8:18 pm
    Post #17 - September 13th, 2004, 8:18 pm Post #17 - September 13th, 2004, 8:18 pm
    I am catching up on old posts so this is also quite late. But I am not a fan of Goose Island. A little too sweet and too much sasparilla in it, I think. The problem with many micro brew root beers is that they focus on being special (as in different) and not just on creating a perfect root beer. So you get weird sugars, different roots and herbs (I had one in Wisconsin that included a bunch of wintergreen, to my taste, though I think it was labeled as Birch Beer, not root beer).

    I have nothing against exotic soft drinks, and enjoy some of the Japanese and Eastern European products that I have tried, but I do think a root beer with perfect balance, flavoring and excellent ingredients is enough without the mucking around some of these folks do.

    I like Sprecher's a lot, and fresh A&W from a tap is also pretty good.

    End of rant.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #18 - November 28th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    Post #18 - November 28th, 2006, 1:00 pm Post #18 - November 28th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    saps wrote:
    hattyn wrote:I was reading about the Mug 'N' Bun in Indianapolis.If any of you sages of sage have been is it worth the drive?Coming from Chicago's Northside.


    The Mug'N Bun has the best root beer I've had- very creamy flavor with a bit of molasses flavor. Good burgers and onion rings, although the tenderloin seems a bit processed.

    Saps


    Yes!
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #19 - November 28th, 2006, 6:07 pm
    Post #19 - November 28th, 2006, 6:07 pm Post #19 - November 28th, 2006, 6:07 pm
    http://www.thefrostedmug.com/

    The Frosted Mug touts itself as the last drive-in with car hops. I've never been myself. A friend goes for the cars. Never mentioned the food.
    Alus yra meistas!

    (lith. Beer is food!)
  • Post #20 - November 28th, 2006, 6:13 pm
    Post #20 - November 28th, 2006, 6:13 pm Post #20 - November 28th, 2006, 6:13 pm
    liming wrote:The Frosted Mug touts itself as the last drive-in with car hops.


    Well, that is an unjustified tout:
    http://www.superdawg.com/history.cfm
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #21 - November 29th, 2006, 9:48 am
    Post #21 - November 29th, 2006, 9:48 am Post #21 - November 29th, 2006, 9:48 am
    That's silly. Places as famous as Frost-Top in Huntington WV and Doumar's in Norfolk and as humble and unknown as Lutz's in Dowagiac, MI still have car hops. I'd be shocked if there weren't scores more around the country. Oh yeah, there's also a huge, modern chain that has many drive-ins with car hops; it's called Sonic. (Many, but not all are drive-ins.)

    PS, here is what the site actually says: "We are also the last Chicagoland drive in with car hops." The person who sticks the food onto your window at Superdawg is a carhop, no?
  • Post #22 - November 29th, 2006, 10:08 am
    Post #22 - November 29th, 2006, 10:08 am Post #22 - November 29th, 2006, 10:08 am
    Even Sonic, a huge mega-chain has car hops.
    Last edited by stevez on November 29th, 2006, 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #23 - November 29th, 2006, 11:07 am
    Post #23 - November 29th, 2006, 11:07 am Post #23 - November 29th, 2006, 11:07 am
    Checked their siite - their claim is
    We are also the last Chicagoland drive in with car hops.

    Hammond's comment nails 'em.
  • Post #24 - December 1st, 2006, 6:05 pm
    Post #24 - December 1st, 2006, 6:05 pm Post #24 - December 1st, 2006, 6:05 pm
    liming wrote: The Frosted Mug touts itself as the last drive-in with car hops. I've never been myself. A friend goes for the cars. Never mentioned the food.

    The Frosted Mug is a fairly interesting place, a real bare-bones drive in, not spiffed up like Superdawg.

    Image

    The menu has some items rarely seen in these parts: Texas burger, pork tenderloin, Coney dogs, and homemade root beer.

    Image

    Just the other day I was reading Reid Duffy's description of a famous Indiana drive in and he listed those four items. Might the owners be Hoosiers?

    I ordered a Texas burger, mainly because I had no idea what it was.

    Image

    Turns out it's a flame-broiled double cheeseburger with shredded lettuce, "special sauce", and a dollop of chili. Sounds kind of disgusting (and I suppose it is) but I liked it. Everything melded together into one gooey whole.

    As I was leaving I realized it might be a long time before I returned so I decided to try a Coney dog, pretty rare around here.

    Image

    It was truly horrifying with no redeeming features. Lousy skinless dog, lousy bun, and beyond lousy Coney sauce with the cloying sweetness of Chef Boyardee. Why I took a second bite I'll never know. I also don't know why I didn't try the root beer.

    Everyone knows about (the great) Superdawg, and now you know a little more about Frosted Mug, but there's at least one more perfectly preserved drive in (with car hops) not far from Chicago. I don't think it has ever been mentioned here but it will be soon.

    The Frosted Mug
    11541 S Pulaski Rd
    Alsip IL
  • Post #25 - December 2nd, 2006, 3:13 pm
    Post #25 - December 2nd, 2006, 3:13 pm Post #25 - December 2nd, 2006, 3:13 pm
    There is also a Dog 'n Suds in Richmond on Route 12 just south of the Wisconsin border. With car hops.

    One of these days, I'm going to order one of everything on the menu. I like the Texas burger, chili dog, pork tenderloin, and BBQ. There's only a few other things on their menu.
  • Post #26 - December 2nd, 2006, 6:26 pm
    Post #26 - December 2nd, 2006, 6:26 pm Post #26 - December 2nd, 2006, 6:26 pm
    isn't the Grayslake Dog N Suds closed for the winter? At least it was when I drove by it a few years back. Don't want anyone wasting a trip.
  • Post #27 - December 2nd, 2006, 9:45 pm
    Post #27 - December 2nd, 2006, 9:45 pm Post #27 - December 2nd, 2006, 9:45 pm
    Rene G wrote:I ordered a Texas burger, mainly because I had no idea what it was.

    Image

    Turns out it's a flame-broiled double cheeseburger with shredded lettuce, "special sauce", and a dollop of chili. Sounds kind of disgusting (and I suppose it is) but I liked it. Everything melded together into one gooey whole.


    That's interesting. Evidently a Texas Burger is a name without distinction. I guess there's no cast-in-stone definition of a Texas Burger unlike, for example a Big Baby. On the north side at Sally's drive-in, my go to burger is the Texas Burger which, in Sally's case, is a burger with cheese, grilled onions and western dressing served patty-melt style on grilled Texas toast.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #28 - December 3rd, 2006, 8:03 am
    Post #28 - December 3rd, 2006, 8:03 am Post #28 - December 3rd, 2006, 8:03 am
    The Spot Drive-In in Kenosha, WI has two locations, open 7 days/week from 11:00am to the wee hours in the morning. The car hops have been serving fabulous cheesebugers and home made root beer since 1946. Their burgers are comparable to Kewpee's in Racine. http://static.flickr.com/106/266941679_ ... 5f.jpg?v=0

    The Spot Drive-In

    Original Location since 1946
    2117 75th Street
    Kenosha, WI
    (262) 654-9294

    The Spot Drive-In Opened 1990
    2918 Washington Road
    Kenosha, WI
    (262) 657-7768
  • Post #29 - December 3rd, 2006, 7:29 pm
    Post #29 - December 3rd, 2006, 7:29 pm Post #29 - December 3rd, 2006, 7:29 pm
    How far are you willing to drive?
    My cousin swears by John's drive in in Waukesha. They make their own root beer and apparently it's quite good. I've been meaning to check it out but haven't had the chance yet.
    John's Drive-In
    1317 Arcadian Ave
    Waukesha, WI 53186-5308
  • Post #30 - December 4th, 2006, 4:54 pm
    Post #30 - December 4th, 2006, 4:54 pm Post #30 - December 4th, 2006, 4:54 pm
    There is a Dog and Suds in Lafayette, IN...and it is just great.....fantastic special sauce on the dog..and great root beer...but closed in winter months..

    There is also one in Fox Lake...and it is nowhere near as good (but much pricier)

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