The Herald Bulletin

June 29, 2013

Jim Bailey: Drive in or walk in, Anderson had a plethora of eating places

Jim Bailey
The Herald Bulletin

---- — From time to time I’ve mentioned some of the restaurants, drive-ins and hole-in-the-wall diners I’ve frequented over the years. Feedback I’ve gleaned from others, not to mention memories of places I’ve walked or driven by without sampling their wares, convinces me I have barely scratched the surface.

The B-K Drive-In at 17th and Jackson streets was one. Opened in the late 1950s by the Snyder family, it was a popular hangout that served root beer and hot dogs (of course) as well as other fare. Later a second location opened at Broadway and School streets, now the site of a Ricker’s gas station. Olsen’s Drive-In on Scatterfield also served B-K Root Beer (it’s now Gene’s Root Beer, perhaps the last car-hop drive-in in town). My understanding is there is still a B-K in Alexandria now.

Even before Taco Bell made runs for the border a household expression, Taco Tico had several locations in Anderson, including Mounds Road, 53rd Street and Broadway. Some still say they preferred it to Taco Bell.

Peach’s Pancake Cottage on Broadway did land-office business in the 1960s, not only for breakfast but dinner as well. And on Scatterfield you could eat breakfast at Sambo’s, just off Eighth Street on the west side, and dinner at Don’s Barbecue (later Damon’s) across the street.

Elmo Flatt’s Alibi restaurants were an institution for many years with three different locations – 14th and Jackson (now the site of a McDonald’s), just south of the bridge where Jackson becomes Broadway, and another on 53rd Street. The Broadway location, which later became Jerry’s and the Jumbo, was known as the A&W Alibi Drive-In, one of several A&W Root Beer locations in Anderson.

Pizza restaurants have come and gone. I still remember those Little Naples Pizza wagons tooling around Anderson, specializing in home delivery when home delivery wasn’t cool. And there was Pasquale’s Pizza on Meridian Street not far from the old Eavey’s (later Mathews) grocery.

When the old Greyhound bus terminal at 9th and Central closed in the 1960s, in went The Sizzler. I don’t know how long it lasted. Later a steakhouse with essentially the same name opened west of Mounds Mall. It subsequently became Texas Roadhouse.

Before Dairy Queens became year-round eat-in establishments, Anderson had two walk-up Dairy Queens. I often got ice cream at the one at Broadway and Vinyard, and there was also one at Pendleton and Madison avenues. Johnny’s in Park Place was a walk-up before it also built an inside restaurant, now occupied by The Nile, and Frazier’s Dairy Maid served it up on Main Street just south of the railroad viaduct. Frazier’s is still there and still a seasonal walk-up.

Generations of Anderson High School students (the original) grabbed lunch at the Big Top where 11th Street becomes Nichol Avenue, also known as the Hot Dog Circus.

Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by e-mail at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.