Saturday, April 01, 2006

Route 66 in the Joplin area - Eisler Bros.

I took off yesterday after work to come to Joplin for the weekend. I wanted to get out of town. I needed a change of scenery. Greg was already here so this was logical.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day yesterday. I did some errands around town just to be outside in the perfect weather. I got up extra early because I wanted to get things done so I could be gone over the weekend. By the time I got here I was pretty tired but the drive was nice - lovely day.

Greg met me in Pittsburg, Kansas, where we ate at the famous Chicken Mary's outside of town. It's right next door to Chicken Annie's, also famous. I found the food to be OK, but nothing exceptional. It's cool that it has been there forever and all of that, but it was nothing to get too excited about. However, the onion rings are very good - and something they're known for. The service was good.

And obviously many people think it's great to go there because it was full of people. So... what do I know. Well, I know the food is better at the Brookville Hotel, even though they moved it from Brookville to Abilene so they could get more money. Ah, but that's another tale starring fried chicken, to be told another time.

Today Greg, Mia and I took off for Eisler Brothers' Store in Riverton, Kansas. It's an old grocery store along Route 66 and is a priceless bit of nostalgia. Actually, it's my favorite kind of history - living and ongoing.

In addition to the Route 66 gift items, they also had plenty of things you'd expect in a small town grocery store - things like batteries and birthday candles. They also had actual groceries, and people were stopping in to buy them. Having grown up in a small town I can appreciate the task of small town grocery stores in trying to serve so many different needs.

Scott Nelson, nephew of the owners, was running the place and I asked him what percentage of the business comes from locals and what from tourists. He said it was about 60% local and about 40% tourists.

They will make you a sandwich with freshly cut meat and cheese and you can eat on the enclosed porch, looking out onto Rt. 66.

Just a few miles down the road is the Rainbow Arch Bridge, built in the 20s. It's the last of its kind.

We did some more meandering and wandering. All in all a lovely day. It was storming when we left Joplin, but it blew over, just as Miss Joy (Greg's Mom) suggested it would.