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Sep 7, 2011 08:15 PM

Is A&W finally going out of business?

I've heard Yum is selling both them and Long John Silvers, and if LJS and A&W get separate owners I don't see how that would work.

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  1. This could be an opportunity for A & W to return entirely to their drive-in roots.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Fibber McGee

      I've seen them but rarely been in the mood for root beer and have yet to try the food. Is it any good?

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        The burgers are pretty good for a fast food place. Being from Detroit, their chili dogs are not impressive to me, but they're a couple of steps above 7-11's Big Bites, at least, which I found to be all right from the 7-11's that had regular and consistent sales (hence, they didn't sit too long.)

        1. re: Fibber McGee

          Several of the local A&W/KFCs have either folded or gone totally KFC, and I'm no fan of KFC. I'll have to give the A&W burger a try. I'm always on the lookout for edible chain burgers.

          FYI if you're into hotdogs, the Hebrew National dogs at Five Guys are quite good, particularly if you load them up with stuff like bacon.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            I don't know, there's just something about cheese and bacon on a kosher hot dog that just doesn't seem right. If only they were to, as Davwud jokingly suggested, add shrimp sauce to it.

            1. re: Fibber McGee

              Mmmmmm....cheese and bacon on a kosher hotdog. Sacrelicious.....

              1. re: Fibber McGee

                A hotdog with cheese, bacon and shrimp sauce -- that would make it the Tripel Trayf Special.

        2. re: Fibber McGee

          I've always insisted that if someone could actually bring A&W back to their roots, it'd be a goldmine. Mind you, that'd mean root beer with NO HFCS (yuk!) and the whole family of burgers–Papaburger, Mamaburger, Teenburger and Babyburger. And the tray hanging off of your window. I'd gladly pay premium (well, not $$$$, but $$) for the experience. Oh, and also? Gallons of root beer in glass bottles to go. God, I miss them. (I was a Detroiter--well, Ann Arborite--too, Fibber, and never went near their chilidogs...there were way too many other places that served up far better coney dogs.)

          1. re: annagranfors

            I used to get the Papaburger and quarts of root beer at the Mountain View (CA) A&W. They stayed faithful to the old menu long after the "new" A&W format was being rolled out, and they (thank God) didn't overcarbonate their root beer. I think they're out of business now, but for a long time they were a great reminder of A&W's glory days.

            1. re: aynrandgirl

              Pleasingly surprised to run into someone from my old stomping grounds of MV! Based on the date of your post I'm wondering where this A &W you speak of is (was) located. My recollection is of the one on Moffet Blvd. before you reach Central Expressway. My 30 year old son has fond childhood memories of his Grandmother (my Mom) talking him there every Friday after fetching him from kindergarten. It's been gone for 20+ years!

              1. re: letsindulge

                I believe it was on the one on Moffet on the other side of Central Expwy from Castro Street. It was definitely there in the late 90s/early 2000s.

            2. re: annagranfors

              Do they no longer have the full "family" in the US? We have the entire family, including some "uncles" in Canada. No window trays anymore though :(

              They have my favourite onion rings.

              1. re: CanadaGirl

                It's been years since the Canadian and US operations are not run by the same company and are not associated.

                As for the Rootbeer, here are the ingredients of the Canadian one:
                A&W Root Beer®: carbonated water, sugar (glucose-fructose), caramel, sodium benzoate, natural and artificial flavours.

              2. re: annagranfors

                I've only driven by, but I think the A & W on 12 Mile in Berkley, Michigan, stil has car hop service. At least, I think it's still an A & W. It may be like the one johnseberg talked about in Minnesota.

                1. re: Fibber McGee

                  Fibber, I'm a Berkley-ite and they do indeed still have carhops, frosty glass mugs, trays hanging on the window and cruise nights on Saturday (super cheap menu if you're driving a classic car). Clawson still has a classic A&W as well.

                  I hope they stay in business. We don't go often but it's nice to know they're around!

            3. The A&W in my small hometown was a big success in the 70's. I don't think the owner offered the standard menu, but, a very wide variety of burgers, dogs, breaded pork, bbq sandwich, soft-serve, great onion rings, served by car-hops. We'd eat there often, and take gallons of root beer home for floats.

              Ownership changed in the 80's, and the new owners dropped the franchise, but continued offering similar product. I was long gone by then, but, I've heard the place was pretty much the same without the A&W logo.

              Eventually it closed. I don't know why, but, I suspect the real estate was quite valuable. The restaurant was pretty much outdoor only, in Minnesota. So, a profitable place maybe 4 months of the year. I'm sure selling it to be developed in another way was a no-brainer, at some point.

              Anyway, the place always seemed pretty independent. Since then, these rural towns have more Hardee's, Burger King, etc., which even seem to be squeezing out the old coffee shops.