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Since 1948 the Tasty Dip in Heflin, AL has been offering tasty food and sweet treats to reward folks who get off of Interstate 20 to drive the back roads. The Tasty Dip wasn’t even on our plan or radar, but when we got off of 20 because of horrible traffic their cheery neon sign was our reward!

Tasty Dip Neon Sign AL

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It was a happy coinkidink that our first stop in Austin TX was just steps away from Hut’s Hamburgers on 6th street – and bonus points for it being 2 for 1 burger Wednesday when it was time for us to eat between shows!

Hut's Hamburgers Neon Sign

As you can imagine Austin was pretty hopping during our SXSW visit and Hut’s was no exception. But folks were friendly, we found a place to sit and wait while our number was called, and that gave me time to peruse the layers of history, awards and funky finds lining the walls.

Car Hop Wanted and Steer Head(they are on a busy city street now, so no longer in need of the steer head car hop!)

According to a sign on the wall, the building was built in 1939 and originally a Drive-In restaurant called Sammy’s, and went through various renames and restaurant styles before it was named Hut’s in 1969. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz! But one thing this tells you is that, in the quickly metropolizing city of Austin, Hut’s is one of the few vestiges of what old Austin was like.

of course there’s more – read on!

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I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, so I’ll just consider this a heads up for those of you who might be hankering for a small greasy hamburger or cheeseburger in the Collingswood NJ area – Roney’s Restaurant – a landmark on Route 130 is now officially closed. Originally opened as a White Tower over 50 years ago, the plan is to demolish it to make way for road widening. Anyone want to save those Hamburger letters for me?!

Roney's Restaurant and Hamburgers Collingswood NJ Closed

I had heard a while ago that Roneys would close because of this project – but as you can see from the cheery colors – it doesn’t look closed ’til you get real close. Get even closer and you’ll see the note left on the door:

Note for Roney's Restaurant Customers“Roney’s Customers, Morning, Afternoon, Late-Night Roney’s is closed due to the road construction that will be taking place.

We have relocated to our other restaurant The Dugout 5105 N. Park Drive, Pennsauken, Cooper River Plaza.

Hours Mon-Fri 6am – until, Sat-Sun 6am- until. Need more Info call 856-651-7141.”

We had grabbed a quick burger there years ago, but never stopped by again, assuming- as we all do – that because it had been around for so long it would in turn be around forever. Here’s a link to Hawk Krall’s (of Drawing For Food) post from last May about his visit to Roney’s so you can get a feel for what it was like before it closed down.

Here’s a link to an article about Roney’s that was just published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on 3/7/11

So make sure to visit your local local, before it too becomes a bump in the road!

Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our upbeat programming momentarily – with all sorts of info about swing dancing, vintage fabrics, beautiful neon, and yet another adventure we’re going on in March!

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It’s a perfect night / weekend for a retro road trip, and the Red Rabbit Drive-In is a drivin’ destination for sure!

Red Rabbit Duncannon PA Blink Lights For Service

Located in Duncannon, PA and opened on Mother’s Day of 1964 the restaurant is still family owned and operated by the daughter and son-in-law of the original owners. Only open Friday, Saturday and Sundays, Retro Roadhusband and I used it’s drive-in allure as an excuse for a roadtrip north of Harrisburg on a sunny Saturday.

Make The Red Rabbit a Habit
We weren’t the only ones who made the unexpectedly sharp right hand turn off the busy road into the parking lot that day, and because we had just spent a while in the car we declined the car hop service and opted to eat at one of the picnic tables under the overhangs.

We sat under the Bunnyburger side ( in the left of the above photo) and a friendly waitress came right over to hand us menus. Since I saw the Bunnyburger advertised, I ordered that, and Retro Roadhusband got the pork BBQ sandwich. Total bonus waitress points for her hearing us discuss sharing our sandwiches and offering to have them cut in half!

Red Rabbit Duncannon PA Split Meal

Many of the favorites on the menu have been there since opening day, and next time I’m going to have to order the “Perry County Half Chicken” just because of its band name – ladies and gentlemen, the Disjointed Half-Fryers!

Red Rabbit Duncannon PA Menu

I am a definite fan of the Bunnyburger which is a “Ground Beef Patty, Hickory Smoked Bacon, Melted Cheese, Shredded Lettuce, Tomato Slices, Pickles, Onions and Our Own Sauce, served on a special seeded roll” – yummers! I’m told by WendyVee over at Roadside Wonders, that what makes their fries so tasty is “Bunny Dust” – go figure!

Retro Roadhusband has become very patient as he’s learned how much I like to photograph our food before we eat it, but this is what he’s really thinking:

Retro Roadhusband Eagerly Awaits Post Photo Food at Red Rabbit Drive In Duncannon PA

We were too full for the ice cream and treats that are also on the menu, but we did put a few quarters in the vintage pinball machines on the other side of the building.
Vintage Pinball Machines Red Rabbit Drive In Duncannon PA
And as you can see, Retro Roadtrip types come from all walks of life, as noted by this swanky Rolls Royce pulled up under the awnings.
Rolls Royce at Red Rabbit Duncannon PA
I don’t know if they have any Grey Poupon on the menu, but poppyseed rolls can be had for an additional 35 cents.

What I will say, is even if they’re only open 3 days a week, I can see why the Red Rabbit can become a habit!

Red Rabbit Drive-In
31 Grandview Drive
Duncannon, PA 17020
(717) 834-4696

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Another great Retro Roadmap Recommendation from our field reporter,  Aubrey Murrin Collins!

My reason for driving through Carneys Point, NJ on Route 40 is too embarrassing to explain (but let’s just say it involved seeing a dog wearing sunglasses at one point). Because of our wacky day, the sign proclaiming “Olympia Dairy Bar: Famous Burgers – Shakes” was like driving up to a giant, wooden beacon of delightful old-fashioned light, a mirage on a frustrating drive.

olympia-dairy-bar-aubrey-retro-roadmap

Built in 1956, the building is separated into two parts. One side is an ice cream stand, where you can get sweet treats like the thick shakes and frozen custard noted on the rectangular signs above the building. You can get cones and sundaes, too, and at the moment I’m a little disappointed to say I tried neither. What I wouldn’t give for some sprinkles or hot fudge right about now.

olympia-dairy-bar-frozen-aubrey-retro-roadmap

The other side of the restaurant houses the non-frozen side of life, a tiny little area with a flat griddle in the back, a counter with stools and a few adorable booths.

olympia-dairy-bar-blue-sky-aubrey-retroroadmap

We opted to get our food to-go because our dog was along for the ride, and he was as hungry, sweaty, tired and thirsty as we were. I wished we could’ve stayed to eat inside or at one of the tables on the patio. The umbrellas weren’t in place outside or we might’ve done so. Even eating it while driving, ketchup packets and all, the food was pretty decent.

olympia-dairy-bar-cheeseburger-aubrey-retroroadmap

Generally, I think anything made on a griddle and/or deep fryer and/or topped with cheese is almost always good, and it was certainly better than anything else we could’ve mustered up in the area. I was especially excited that the fries came not only in a basket but also in their own steamy little bag!

olympia-dairy-bar-fries-aubrey-retro-roadmap

The only disappointment I have is that I did not get to see the place lit up. I can only imagine what those neon waves would look like glowing against the night’s sky. Guess I’ll have to head back for some frozen custard!

olympia-dairy-bar-cone-aubrey-retro-roadmap

I better get there quick, and so should you, because even though they are open from April to January, my Internet sleuthing tells me the Olympia Dairy Bar is up for sale!(BOOOO sez your hostess!) Let’s all cross our fingers that the future owners keep things as is.

Olympia Dairy Bar
1073 Rte 40
Carneys Point, NJ, 08069
(856) 299-5255

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We had all intentions of grilling out tonight, but it started to rain, again, for the millionth time this week. What more of an excuse did we need to go out and get some quick burgers! Having reminded myself earlier that the Hilltop is little more than 30 minutes away, we hopped in the Retromobile and off we went.

UPDATE- night time photos showing sassy neon added 6/28

Hilltop-hamburgers-night-sign-sanatoga-pa

hilltop-sign-pottstown-pa

The Official name of The Hilltop is the Hilltop Drive-In, but nowadays there is indoor seating and you just “drive-in” to the parking spaces out front. Originally opened in 1952 as a Carvel, it became the Hilltop just 6 years later.

hilltop-history-pottstown-pa

Hilltop-sign-building-night-sanatoga-pa(It still has the twisty cone on top- cool!)

Decor is vintage knotty pine paneling, with some updated touches like the 80’s retro pink/aqua “50’s” color scheme, and better yet some boomerang Formica on the tables. The jukebox is in keeping with the feel of the place, but definitely from a different era. Next time we’re there I will have to make sure we drop a couple of quarters in and give it a spin!

hilltop-jukebox-pottstown-pa

The food is more varied than your typical fast food joint with burgers alongside Broasted chicken, pirogies and potato puffs. One thing I’ve noticed in this area is the quaint custom of calling a burger with lettuce and tomato a California burger. I am curious to know how that came about, but all I can think of is that California must mean vegetables to some, and healthy to others.

hilltop-interior-pottstown-pa

Our food was in no way gourmet, more like fast food, but still good, and I was thinking how I’d take the nieces and nephews to this place over McDonalds any day. One neat addition to the offerings was the selection of Good’s Potato Chips, a local brand in business since the late 1800’s. Are you at all surprised to learn that I am a sucker for a small bag of indie chips? True!

hilltop-goods-chips-pottstown-pa

Harkening back to its origins as a Carvel, the Hilltop also offers soft serve ice cream with a variety of toppings. Dang it, we were too full from our cheeseburger/cheesesteak split to get some ice cream, but the older couple next to us did not seem to have a problem polising off their sizeable chocolate twist cones.

The rainy weather that caused us to go out for burgers in the first place did not make for a good photo taking evening, but I was assured by the pony-tailed counter girl that the sign does in fact light up. Consider some of these photos as place holders until I can get up there later in the evening when it isn’t pouring rain, I’m sure this place is like a beacon in the night!

The Hilltop Drive-In
2910 East High Street
Sanatoga, PA 19464-7737
(610) 326-2342

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pit

A  retroroadtrip fan would be hard pressed to drive by the wonderful pink neon signage and vintage 50’s architecture of the Concord Pike/Rt 202 location of the Charcoal Pit without wanting to swing on in and check it out. Your appreciation of the finer signs in life will quickly be rewarded with a  tasty treat!

Since September of 1956 “The Pit” has been using their secret recipe and charcoal grilling their burgers to order, making them the best burger on this stretch of road sometimes referred to as Burger Alley.

The burgers can be ordered in 2 sizes  and I’ve always been happy with my 4 oz burger (since I’m often eying the dessert menu as well!) Ordering can be a bit wacky if you want a charbroiled cheeseburger with lettuce and fries- is that the Pit Deluxe with Fries, or the Pit Special with Cheese? Leave it to the seasoned waitresses to sort it out, and in no time you’ll be sinking your teeth into a mighty memorable meal.

Not only is this the go-to place for burgers and fries, the Charcoal Pit has decadent ice cream creations named after the local high school teams ( Highlander, Green Knight, Bulldog) with my fave being the Sallies with coffee ice cream. Best to split with someone as they are heapin helpins!

Memorabilia from the last 50+ years of business line the walls and if you don’t have enough time to sit and linger over a meal, there is even a takeout area located under the festive circus tent awnings out front.

While you can get the food at other Pit locations in the state, only this one has the wonderful vintage look and feel, so do your eyes and tummy a favor and make a Pit Stop!

The Charcoal Pit
2600 Concord Pike
Wilmington DE 19803
(302) 478-2165

Charcoal Pit on Urbanspoon

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