Root Beer Par Excellence

This new A&W in Ottawa, Canada, is much nicer than the one in my
This new A&W in Ottawa, Canada, is much nicer than the one in my

By Mary Anna Violi | @maryannavioli

Several evenings ago, as I drove around talking on my blue tooth wireless in the car, I came across an A&W Root Beer “All American Food” emporium. Ignoring the fact that it was connected to a Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food drive thru, I pulled in to read the A&W menu. Images of foot long Coney Dogs immediately sprung to mind. Visions of large frosty mugs of root beer wetted my appetite. Car hops in jaunty caps atop their pony tails greeting patrons as the car hops fastened trays of orders to slightly raised driver side car windows danced across my mind. Eagerly I scanned the A&W menu.

The first dramatic change I made note of was the absence of the foot long Coney Dog. The menu displayed a traditional Coney Dog of standard length only. There was also a cheese-topped Coney Dog. Masking my disappointment, I ordered the shortened Coney Dog combo with French fries, and, of course, A&W’s legendary root beer. Fearful of an alteration in taste of both the Coney Dog and the root beer itself, I hastened home to quietly taste test the age-old favorites.

Carefully putting the warm food on a china plate, for one should always dine elegantly, even when it is fast food, I sat down at the table in trepidation. Would this nouveu version of the beloved A&W Drive-Ins be of the same quality of those of yore? Might this smaller version of the iconic Coney Dog taste as good as the foot long ones of memory? Could imbibing A&W root beer in a paper cup with a plastic lid possibly bear a resemblance to the frosty mugs of the cold beverage I cherished?

The answer was Yes! The abbreviated version of the Coney Dog burst with flavor of depth and heartiness. The fries were all right, as were those that used to appear in the basket with the original Coney Dog years ago. The A&W root beer tasted as good as I remembered, albeit minus the chilliness of the frosty mug. Suffice to say, the only sad part of the gustatory experience was the lack of the foot long Coney Dog to increase the savory meal.

Then too, I know full well that if I crave a foot long version of A&W’s Coney dog, I am able to order one at Sonic. Or, I suppose, I could always order two short A&W Coney Dogs. This food for thought I shall mull over on my next visit to A&W, while I drink a root beer.

Ciao for now.

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