The Virden (Illinois) Chamber of Commerce this month posted on Facebook a Spotlight Business of the Month with the Whirl-A-Whip restaurant in nearby Girard, Illinois.
Snippets of information about the eatery, which is off the 1926-1932 alignment of Route 66 before the highway was moved to the east:
- The restaurant current is owned by Brent Barnes and has had only five sets of owners since the Lockwoods opened it in 1957.
- Because it’s an outdoor dining venue, the Whirl-A-Whip is open only from March to October. Barnes has resisted requests to enclose it because it would ruin its Route 66 charm.
- Foreign visitors are given postcards when they stop there. Sometimes they reciprocate in kind, including an Australian cop who gave Barnes a badge.
- Only two Whirl-A-Whips are left; the other is in North Dakota. The sign out front is original. Apparently the Whirl-A-Whip in Girard is not associated with this Whirla Whip, which appears to be defunct.
- Ice cream is made with an original Whirl-A-Whip machine, with serial number 29. Serial number No. 1 is in a shed, but Barnes is reluctant to take that one out of the mothballs. Parts have to be machine-made from scratch.
- Barnes bought the restaurant in 2013 after it had been closed for four years, and he did he did it for the community. “If no owner bought it, they probably would have torn it down.”
One can follow the happenings with Whirl-A-Whip on its Facebook page.
(Image of the original Whirl-A-Whip sign in Girard, Illinois, by the Virden Chamber of Commerce)