The Herald Bulletin

May 17, 2014

Jim Bailey: There are Anderson food institutions, but some are long gone

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Frazier’s Dairy Maid is a little off the beaten path for me. My journeys seldom take me through Meadowbrook on Main Street at the time I or my family are hungry for treats of the ice cream variety.

But on Easter Sunday we stopped there, the first time in the 60 years it has been in business. The flavor of the soft ice cream bespoke of the fame the place has earned over the years.

Now only a couple of longstanding doors remain for me to darken. I never managed to stop at the Lemon Drop on Mounds Road, although their legendary tenderloins may convince me to add that as a destination in the near future. And I can’t recall if I ever was inside The Toast.

I kept meaning to travel out to the Red Brick Inn over the years. But I never made it. Now it’s gone for good, although I’m told the last owners have set up shop in Middletown.

Nor did I pull into the Rancho Grande on Ohio Avenue. Once one of Anderson’s favorite drive-ins, it closed up long ago, replaced by the Anderson Fur Co., and eventually became the site of the Madison County Health Center.

Many of the other institutions caught my attention much sooner. Art’s Pizza Palace, originally on Fletcher Street before relocating to North Anderson, captured my taste buds early on. So did Bert T. Owen’s Ice Cream, to my way of thinking the best ever made in Anderson. And I was one of the original Frisch’s groupies dating back to my Anderson College days.

Frisch’s, in both of its original locations, didn’t have a monopoly on my dining business, though. Sometimes I’d go on out to the Pink Horse. Or closer in to Jerry’s Drive-In, which was kind of a clone of Frisch’s, replacing the A&W Alibi Drive-In and succeeded by the Jumbo.

There were B&K Root Beer drive-ins on Jackson Street and on Scatterfield Road (then simply the bypass). We stopped at the latter some but didn’t have occasion to frequent the former. Olsen’s B&K (on the bypass) became Gene’s Root Beer, one of the last of the car-hop drive-ins left in these parts. We still make a stop or two there during the summer season.

The North Anderson Dairy Queen, a walk-up, operated for many years before calling it quits. I used to take my Sunday school junior girls volleyball team there at the end of every season for treats. There was another at Pendleton Avenue (now Martin Luther King Boulevard) and Madison Avenue. The 12-month Dairy Queen Braziers have replaced them, although the one on 53rd Street ran into financial problems and has closed.

And we mustn’t forget Johnny’s in Park Place. That location, which served up soft-serve at walk-up windows in the summer, has been supplanted by the Nile Restaurant.

Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by email at