|Hot 'n Now's drive thru only service turned out to be an idea ahead of its time.
However, it is a ridiculously bad time for one's hobby to be travelling long distances to eat in restaurants. I therefore have not dined inside a restaurant since March of this year, and it's looking like I won't feel safe dining in again until sometime next year at the earliest. It's been tough for me to keep up with my normal fiveish (Finkle) post per month schedule that I maintained as recently as the simpler time known as seven months ago. I hope that I can one day resume something that resembles my travel and post schedule from the before times. In the meantime, you probably won't hear much from me aside from occasional cutesy rhyming blog posts, as my motivation to write vanishes in all but the best of times.
Back in early June when it looked for an instant like the worst was behind us, I donned my favorite mask and took a cautious, socially distant, multi-state trip across the Midwest to order from some of my favorite broken chain drive thrus as well as some I hadn't experienced before. It was a welcome taste of the old normal, even if I did have to sleep in my car. Of course, not long after my return home, things began to trend much worse than they had been, and I haven't ventured out of my home state of Michigan since. I can't muster the motivation to write much about those experiences from the road in late spring, but I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took along the way, as well as a few from a late February trip to what was then Lexington, Kentucky's newest Taco Tico operating out of a nicely converted G.D. Ritzy's building. I reserve the right to author full Broken Chains posts about any and/or all of these experiences in the future, but for now, it is my hope that the pictures will provide some distraction from what has been a pretty terrible year, and is likely to stretch into an equally terrible two to three year period.
|Modern signage and menu boards adorn the drive thru.
|The dining area has been completely remodeled. These pictures were taken in February. The dining area closed not long after this, but the drive thru remains open.
|A curved corner hints at the building's origins as a G.D. Ritzy's.
|This may have been the last time I dined in at a fast food place.
|Tastee Freez once had 1800 locations all over the US. Today, there are nine of them still in operation, including this one in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, that sports a strangely familiar trapezoidal sign.
|That's right. This Tastee Freez is a former Dairy Queen. That's like opening a new Sears in a former Walmart building or putting Studebaker badges on a Hyundai.
|Wienerschnitzel owns the Tastee Freez brand these days and still supplies them with menus that look modern, if a bit generic.
|Their ice cream parfait is like a vertical, banana-less banana split.
|A chili dog, outsize the Tastee Freez, free of Cougar-Mellencampian innuendo.
|The Big T is Tastee Freez's Big Boy inspired double deck burger.
|Despite being a G.D. Ritzy's fanatic, I had never ordered from their drive thru. I remedied that at the First Avenue location in Evansville, Indiana.
|The drive thru speaker was equipped with a modern order screen.
|I don't disagree, but I found the placement of this sign to be odd.
|Banana supreme ice cream, a flavor unique to the Evansville Ritzy's locations.
|The fabled Double Ritz with cheese, my favorite fast food burger.
|A sign of the times.
|But the building is still presentable.
|An Owensboro Ritzy's PB&J tasted great at my campsite.
|Speaking of drive thru menu patina, Druther's has close to five decades worth of it.
|The drive thru was an addition to the existing building. I'm sure they're glad to have it these days.
|Blah blah blah... toilet paper... something something... Tiger King... yadda yadda... Unprecedented/uncertain times
|Queenie Bee, the old Burger Queen mascot still adorns the sign. Hopefully the hole Druther's sign is repairable.
Thanks for reading and for your notes and comments, especially over the past few months. Hang in there, and we'll get through this sooner or later. In the meantime, wear a mask and wash your hands. Support your local restaurants if you can do so safely.