Ardy and Ed’s is the ultimate throwback to a bygone day of carhops, doo-wop, and soda pop. Summer does not officially begin in Oshkosh until Ardy and Ed’s is open for business. It’s a place that you can still order food in a basket, order your burger with “the works,” and order a “black cow” instead of a root beer float. You can also order an orange cow if you’re feeling adventurous. For me, it hearkens back to my childhood. It was an important place for my family since it was pretty close to our home growing up and it was right on Lake Winnebago. For years, I ordered what my dad did. Double cheeseburger with the works basket with tartar sauce to dip the fries and a large frosty mug of the vanilla-iest root beer straight from the tap. It is about as 1950s America as you can get without a time machine.
There is so much nostalgia I associate with Ardy and Ed’s. It was a harbinger of summertime and leisure and fun, bubble-gummy songs devoid of any semblance of controversy by today’s standards. It reminds me of a time when my parents were still together, going out after a baseball game, and piling into the old Buick Century to “The Friendly Place.”