“Stuck in Lodi again”


“Oh Lord! Stuck in Lodi again.”

I hadn’t remembered John Fogerty’s song, Lodi,” sung by Creedence Clearwater Revival, until a friend reminded me. I had been polling people about anything to see or do in the agricultural town in central California. “Wineries” was all anyone could come up with, even after I said I didn’t drink.

I ended up wandering around the downtown area finding a spectacularly pentimentoed ghost sign.


What no one mentioned was that A & W originated in Lodi. When I read that in one of the tourist brochures I’d picked up, I discovered I was only a few blocks away from the A&W stand. I braved the sun to find:


According to their website: In 1919, at a parade honoring returning World War I veterans in Lodi, California, Roy Allen set up a roadside drink stand to offer a new thick and creamy drink, root beer. His creation was such a success, he decided to take on a partner, Frank Wright. In 1922, Allen and Wright combined their initials to name the beverage A&W Root Beer.


Allen wasted no time opening his first permanent root beer stand in Lodi, followed by a second one in Sacramento. It featured the first “drive-in” concept with “tray-boys” for curbside service. Then, in 1924 Allen bought out Wright to pursue a franchising program, which became America’s first franchised restaurant chain. He sold A&W Root Beer concentrate exclusively to these franchises to ensure quality. By 1933, more than 170 outlets were franchised.”


Who knew? Of course, I honored the celebration of A&W’s 95 years in business by enjoying a root beer float in a frosted glass mug, just like I had throughout my childhood. Now, if you’re heading to Lodi…



One thought on ““Stuck in Lodi again”

  1. Who knew, indeed! Coincidentally or serendipitously or whateverally, the summer of 2014 has been, for me, The Summer of A&W Root Beer Float Drinking. I loved these as a kid in Arkansas (Little Rock had one of those A&W franchises!), but for some reason this was the year I decided to binge on the dang things. Because of the high fructose corn syrup in A&W I have migrated (for the most part) to Virgil’s for the root beer part of the floats, but when I can’t get hold of Virgil’s, it’s definitely back (temporarily) to A&W! There’s ice cream and A&W in my fridge as I write this, and I expect that to be the case from now until, oh, Labor Day!

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