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Saving memories

Posted September 03, 2014 in Community Featured, Clear Lake

Say it ain’t so!

The chorus has been growing all summer long, ever since it became known that The Barrel Drive-In — a little taste of the ’50s that has somehow survived all these decades — might finally succumb to the times.

Wonderfully broasted chicken, potato wedges, a salad, ice cream and a root beer make for fine dining at The Barrel. Photo by Lori Berglund.

Wonderfully broasted chicken, potato wedges, a salad, ice cream and a root beer make for fine dining at The Barrel. Photo by Lori Berglund.

We’ve already lost The Ritz, Witkes, Martha’s — don’t ask us to lose The Barrel, too.

The combination of a an aging building and a prime piece of real estate made a sale and demolition of the ’50s charmer likely just a few months ago.

Now The Barrel is being considered for a feature on “Restaurant Impossible.” While owner Seth Thackery awaits word on whether or not The Barrel will be featured on the restaurant make-over show, the community isn’t awaiting.

“It’s amazing the way people are responding,” says Thackery. “Everyone is so upbeat.”

He’s received numerous offers from individuals and businesses for assistance, including everything from architectural work to older folks and kids who have volunteered to paint and pull weeds.

“Everything is kind of a whirlwind with so many people offering to help,” he says.

With its drive-in awning, the old phones at the booths to call in orders and the frosty glasses of root beer, The Barrel is truly a delightful taste of a simpler time. And let’s not forget the big chicken and ice cream cone, just for atmosphere. Generations of families — including those of this writer — have grown up coming to The Barrel.

For my parents, with their family of five little Baby Boomers, The Barrel was always an affordable place to come for “real food,” and plenty of it. My mom still loves to meet her grandchildren here for a chicken basket, that legendary root beer and ice cream for dessert.

One thing that hasn’t suffered at The Barrel is the food. It is still as real and delicious as it was when I was a kid coming here in the ’70s.

We’ve never stopped loving a summer night at The Barrel. To locals and perennial visitors, it is as iconic as The Surf (where my parents danced away their first date in 1952).

In a town filled with great places to dine, saving The Barrel is akin to saving our memories.

The Barrel Drive-In
206 Highway 18 West
(641) 357-2600
Hours: 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.





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