Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Frosted Mug of Nostalgia

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Frosted Mug of Nostalgia

Article excerpt

It's late in the week and Eating Companion (EC), some friends, and I are strolling up to Venice's oldest business, The Frosted Mug, hoping to spend some time among the more authentic of our area's residents.

The Frosted Mug opened in the winter of 1957, after Willard Case, a Hoosier like so many other natives of Indiana, headed south in search of sunny skies and small town success, and opened his little root beer stand amid what was then wild Florida jungle. For a brief time there was a second location in Nokomis, across from EC's and my very own childhood neighborhood, the site of many a post-Little League game ice cream float.

We're up for some nostalgia, some very cold root beer, and what I remember as being very delicious, very greasy, comfort food.

There is seating inside, though it seems most regulars post up at the outside bar to sip cold domestic brews. On such a lovely day the small tables out front are definitely the call. EC grabs one of the tables, while I grab a menu for our group's perusal. The Mug offers an extensive selection of hot dog variations, a handful of burgers and sandwiches and a bunch of sharable munchies.

The waitress insists that the chicken tenders are "the only thing (she) eats here." We're unsure if this is an ominous sign. We go for a Chicago dog, which she claims has "everything and the kitchen sink" ($2.69); a chili dog ($2.29), for good measure; a Cheese Burger in Paradise (bacon and blue cheese, $3.99); a fried UnGrouper sandwich, (made from Alaskan Haddock, our waitress tells us,$4.99); a Famous Philly with chicken ($4.99); an order of French fries ($2.29); some sweet potato fries ($2.99); the chicken tenders, as the waitress really does insist ($4.69); and a couple of mugs of root beer -- they serve Mug, which is fine, though there are just so many better options out there at around the same price, and well, if it's the whole point of your joint, why not carry some really good stuff?

A moustachioed man in his 50s has brought his very adorable English bulldog with him here to the Mug, and the dopey beast seems to be doing everything in his power to not fall asleep sitting up, while keeping an eye out for falling crumbs. …

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