Family trips bore out the fact that my parents had saintly patience as their six kids sat in the back seat of the station wagon and belted out, “Let’s all go to A&W. The food’s just great at A&W.”
As kids, we pestered our parents with Madison Avenue jingles for every fast food restaurant we knew. A&W was our favorite–and for good reason. In the 60s, before McDonalds began to dominate the fast food genre, A&W was THE drive-up restaurant in which to dine with more than 2000 locations across the country.
Today, A&W has been relegated in some places to sharing space with gas stations and convenience stores. It also received a reprieve of sorts when purchased by the Pepsi restaurant subsidiary which also owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
A&W and Long John Silvers were recent acquisitions and in Rio Rancho as in other locations across the fruited plain, they share space. In the 60s, A&W’s family concept included burgers named for every family demographic–the papa burger, mama burger, teen burger, baby burger and even a grandpa burger.
The Rio Rancho location serves several “deluxe” burgers with the deluxe bacon double cheeseburger and deluxe cheeseburger being my early favorites. With a charbroiled taste, they are easily superior to those served at the burger monarch restaurants. Alas, while the buns and patties may be heated, the burgers are dressed with seemingly straight out of the refrigerator lettuce, tomatoes and pickles…and is it just my imagination, or did A&W corner the market on tomato ends (the end pieces usually thrown away)?
While burgers and hot dogs may be readily available, what A&W will always be best known for is their frosty mug root beer, one of the best beverages in the world. It’s hard to get nostalgic about A&W’s current incarnation, but that root beer certainly brings back great memories of the days in which A&W was king.
A&W All American Food
1011 Rio Rancho Blvd
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 15 November 2005
# OF VISITS: 6
BEST BET: Deluxe Cheeseburger, Hot Dog, A&W Root Beer