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Get your caffeine kicks with Route 66 October 8, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Food.
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Dozens of products of there exist with the name “Route 66″ on them. Now we can add coffee to the list.

This news release came over Tuesday at VendingMarketwatch.com:

The USConnect family of vending, micro market, office coffee service and food service operators is announcing the roll-out of a new brand, Route 66 Coffees. The Route 66 collection of coffees draws on the rich heritage of the United States trans versed (sic) by this legendary highway. The brand features unique blends and traditional varietal coffees, expertly roasted by a coffee roaster who has been producing premium coffees for over 100 years.

The Route 66 Coffees are available in fraction packs designed to brew 12 cups, in urn packs, vending packs of both whole bean and ground, and in retail packs designed for micro markets. A single cup product is in development.

“The USConnect organization needs products that set us apart from the ordinary,” says Jeff Whitacre, CEO of USConnect, “to augment the employee oriented service that our group provides, we needed a great cup of coffee and a brand rooted in America, to anchor our product offering.”

USConnect is building out an entire suite of coffee and hot beverage related products around the Route 66 theme and will be serving these products throughout their network of national, regional and local clients.

Hope springs eternal the company uses Route 66 Coffee Roasters for the beans.

Unusual ice cream shop opens in Galena next weekend September 28, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Food, Restaurants.
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A new ice cream shop soon will open on Route 66 in downtown Galena, Kansas. But it’s not just any ice cream shop.

The proprietors of Eye Scream Labs at 606 S. Main St. use liquid nitrogen — which cools liquids at colder than 300 below zero — to make their sweet treats right on the premises. The shop plans to open Saturday, Oct. 4.

Shop owner David Endicott said he made his own ice cream as a sort of party trick, and the idea for a shop went from there. He said in an email:

I had read about making ice cream with liquid nitrogen online from a chemistry teacher’s blog.  It looked like fun to me, so I began researching how I could do it at home. We started making ice cream for our family and friends at our Halloween parties and just for fun. It turned out to be a big hit, and the product we were turning out was so popular, people kept telling us we should open a store. My sons are the driving force behind this enterprise.  They were the ones that really ran with the idea of opening a shop. I own and operate a computer consulting practice in Joplin, NeoTech Solutions, so I already have a full time job. My wife and I sat down with them and said “We will help you get this going if you are really committed to running it”. So here we are.

The process for making liquid nitrogen ice cream is really pretty simple.  We make our ice cream base with only 3 ingredients.  No eggs, no thickeners or emulsifiers, just milk, cream and sugar.  We use the liquid nitrogen as a cooling agent and it goes directly into the mixture.  Since the nitrogen is -321 degrees (f) below zero, as soon as it hits the ice cream mixture, it boils away, taking heat with it.  In a few seconds the nitrogen in completely gone and the ice cream is frozen.  In our lab we can freeze a batch of ice cream (about 4 liters, a little over a gallon) in about 3 minutes.  We do this on our stage right in front of the customers, so they can see the process.  It is pretty neat to watch the mixer churning away while fog pours out of the bowl and across the floor.  We use a food grade nitrogen to make sure purity is high and as I mentioned, the nitrogen boils away almost instantly. […]

We have tried to make Eye Scream Labs a really fun place for families to come and enjoy a high quality premium ice cream, see a few interesting demonstrations, and maybe learn a little about cryogenics, the science of really cold things.

Endicott provided a few photos of what the inside of his shop looks like:

And, of course, a proper ice cream shop needs to show what if offers. Here are three flavors: pineapple upside-down cake, red velvet cheesecake and blackberry peach cobbler.

I’ve noticed in recent years liquid nitrogen used by a few chefs during the “molecular gastronomy” craze. And a few liquid-nitrogen ice cream shops have popped up in big cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Albuquerque and Los Angeles. But this one in Galena wouldn’t have such a competitor for hundreds of miles in any direction.

Hours will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The shop will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Endicott said he is considering expanding the shop’s hours in the spring.

You can also find Eye Scream Labs on Facebook.

After kids go see Tow Tater at Cars on the Route down the street, you know most of them will be begging to go to Endicott’s store once they learn of it.

(Hat tip to Renee Charles; images courtesy of David Endicott)

Pops opens a stand at the Tulsa airport September 6, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Food, Gas stations, Restaurants.
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In addition to its flagship location on Route 66 in Arcadia, Oklahoma, and a satellite location at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Pops in recent days opened a new location inside Tulsa International Airport.

The report from KOTV in Tulsa:

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Unless you’re a passenger on a flight there, don’t go looking to go there, however.

It’s past the security checkpoint, near Concourse A. […]

Even though this Pops is smaller, it still features the best flavors you’ll find at the original store in Arcadia.

The original Pops in Arcadia features a restaurant, gas station, convenience store, and more than 500 types of soda. In less than a decade, it’s become a major Route 66 landmark.

(Image of the soda display at Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma, by Matt Grimm via Flickr)

Joe Rogers Chili Parlor reopening under a new name July 15, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Food, Restaurants.
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Joe Rogers’ The Chili Den Parlor, a landmark in Springfield, Illinois, since 1945 that unexpectedly closed in April, will reopen next month under the same family ownership, but a different name, reported the State Journal-Register.

Marianne Rogers, daughter of founder Joe Rogers, told the newspaper contractual issues with previous owners forbids her from using the terms “Joe Rogers” or “The Den” in its name. So it will simply be named The Chili Parlor.

Rogers shrugged off the name change, saying it happened before during the 1990s.

Most importantly, the recipes will remain unchanged from nearly seven decades ago.

The restaurant started in 1945 on 1120 S. Grand Ave. East, not on Route 66 but is barely a block away. But the current restaurant has since 1997 been on 820 S. Ninth St., a prominent alignment of the Mother Road through town.

Like Cincinnati, Springfield has long enjoyed a reputation as being a hotbed for chili. Springfield calls itself the “Chilli Capital of the World” (“chilli” is the locally accepted spelling). Springfield residents reputedly eat more chili per capita than anywhere else.

The beans and meat are cooked separately, which allows customers personalized orders. It can be prepared without beans, with extra beans, with extra meat or without meat. Customers also can specify how much oil they want in their serving.

(A serving of chili from Joe Rogers’ restaurant in 2009 by IronStef via Flickr)

A history of Bama Pies June 28, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Food, History, Restaurants.
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If you drive through Route 66 in Tulsa, you’ll probably notice a big beige building on the north side of 11th Street with the name Bama Pies.

It is part of The Bama Companies. This well-produced video by the company shows how it expanded from its mom-and-pop roots to becoming a multinational corporation.

Even if you’re a longtime Tulsa resident, I learned quite a few new things about Bama, and you probably will, too.

A History of the Bama Companies from Bama Companies on Vimeo.

It also shows how the growth of Bama is intertwined with another formerly mom-and-pop operation that became a corporate behemoth — McDonald’s.

(An image of one of Bama’s signs by Miles Smith via Flickr)

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