The Drive In Restaurant: Before and After the Dawn of Fast Food, Food Theater
As a farm kid, Mary Bergin rarely ate at restaurants. When she turned 16 and snatched the family car keys, a favorite and frequent destination was the local A&W drive-in. That was 40 years ago, but today that A&W—renamed Chester’s—remains a drive-in and popular. Bergin has surveyed other flourishing Wisconsin drive-ins, including two with roller-skating carhops, and has her theories about why these places thrive even as this category for dining declines nationwide. Reportorial research into this topic complements her personal experiences, observations, and details already gathered through her work as a journalist.
is a lifelong journalist whose weekly and syndicated travel column about Wisconsin began in 2002, covering topics almost always close to home. Regional foods and rural business endeavors figure prominently in her award-winning books about Wisconsin and the Midwest (Sidetracked in Wisconsin
, Hungry for Wisconsin
, and Sidetracked in the Midwest
). Bergin is constantly searching for destinations, attractions, and other businesses distinctive to the Midwest.
This talk was part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance
's fifth annual symposium, "Road Food: Exploring the Midwest One Bite at a Time." Other events from this symposium recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:Marked for Life: My Travels on Route 66 in '53
, with Terri RyburnState Fair Heirloom Recipe Contest
, with Catherine LambrechtMobile Food in 19th-Century Chicago
, with Peter EnglerFood Trucks: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
, with Louisa ChuWill Success Spoil Regional Food?
, with Michael SternThe Drive-In Restaurant: Before and After the Dawn of Fast Food, Food Theater
, with Mary BerginA Gopher Turned Badger Eats Hoosier, and Vice Versa: Midwestern Culinary Traditions in the Small-Town Cafe
, with Joanne StuttgenWhat Happened to Horseshoes?
, with Julianne GlatzPies on the Road
, with Shirley CherkaskyEthnographic Food Writing, or How I Ate My Way Across Wisconsin and Lived to Tell About It
, with Joanne StuttgenCulinary Tourism in the Land of Meat and Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole
, with Lucy M. LongSummer Vacations in Northern Wisconsin
, with Kelly SearsBorn to be Mild: Oral Histories and Pathways of the Midwest Supper Club
, with Dave HoekstraFarmers Markets of the Heartland, the Ultimate Road Trip
, with Janine MacLachlanOn the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail
, with Clara OrbanRemarks by Marilyn Wilkinson of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing BoardFeast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art Curator-Led Tour
Recorded Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kendall College.