What we don't have are the inordinate amount of soft serve ice cream shacks which dot the Wausau landscape. We don't even have an A&W here anymore, and considering it was our high school hangout in the seventies and our neighborhood hangout in the sixties—yes, I'm that old—it's a shame.
My wild eyed cousin put salt in my chocolate shake long before I developed a taste for sweet and sour at our neighborhood A&W. It had a Bookmobile parked on the corner and fittingly became the place for seniors before it retired and became a rib joint.
I was so inspired by the rash of ice cream shacks in Wausau and the charm of the A&W in Portage (taking the long way to Wausau), that I decided to have a last summer fling and seek out the best drive-in, drive-through, sit-down, take-out ice cream snack shack near or far. I'm hoping there's some lovely Guinness flavored ice cream at Irish Fest this weekend.
I'd long since given up on shout if from the rooftops soft serve (with the exception of the ice cream in the UW Hospital cafeteria - I leave no stone unturned) until I discovered a Wausau Briq's.
Young Bug here is holding a Hot Fudge Brownie Briq Mountain (3.45/3.39). The fudge was so hot it toasted our fingers through the cup.
Bug is holding a Banana Cream Pie Graham Cracker Pie Crust Sundae (3.45/3.95) in this photo. I got a small Zebra soft cone (1.60), a good size, delicious, and 96% fat free. Leave me alone, I'm trying to eat healthier. No feedback on the Brownie Sundae yet, but Bug swears by the Banana Cream. They also have a 1 lb. cone, a variety of Sundaes, Smoothies, Flurries, Slushes, Floats, Whips, Shakes, Malts, Banana Splits, and six packs of Cookie Coolers and Lattes.
"My vote is for CHESTER'S in Plymouth...Best hamburgers and grilled breast of chicken around! Not to mention deep fried cheese curds..." --Sandy
A few people have mentioned the A&W in Edgerton, which one of my cousins (the one who put salt in my milkshake when I was four) thinks is the first one in Wisconsin. I don't have proof either way, so it might be time to dust off some archives at the State Historical Society (or the State Hysterical Society if you've ever heard the pigeons—what an exciting life I lead).
One of the most interesting things about the A&W website is their timeline. It lets you arrow through the first A&W root beer stand in 1919 to 2002 when they were taken over by Yum! Brands, Inc. ("Root beer stand" as in "Why should I give you a nickel for the root beer stand when you throw away milkshakes?" What were we, made of salted chocolate milkshakes.)
"...edgerton still has the drive up stalls and the staff bring the food on trays that attach to your window. are there many of those left yet?" --Kandy
This is why you see the Yum! Brand A&W fast food pairings. Somehow the combination of tacos and root beer floats isn't the same as a Flinstone tray on your car window. But I'm always thrilled into taking snapshots like a tourist when I come across an old tyme root beer or ice cream stand. I don't think I've seen an ice cream hut outside of a beach or the Merimac Ferry and applaud Wausau for their many ice cream stands, and every town, medium, small or large for their classic drive-ins and root beer stands.