Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ardy & Ed's Drive-In

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Two weeks ago, we decided to make the 3-hour drive up to Bergsbaken Farms in Cecil, Wisconsin, to see their sunflower fields. Of course, as always, we planned to photograph our way up and back. A little after 7:00 a.m., we arrived in Oshkosh and went to find something we have been wanting to capture for quite some time now – Ardy and Ed’s Drive-in.

This drive-in opened as the Southside A & W Drive In in 1948, about three years after World War II ended. The menu was simple -- A & W Root Beer, Hot Dogs and potato chips. The drive-in was sold in 1953 to Robert and Elizabeth "Ollie" Albrecht of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

On July 1, 1960, Mrs. Albrecht's son, Edward Timm, and his wife Ardythe took over ownership of the Southside A & W Drive In. In 1972, the Timms decided to leave the A&W franchise family and they renamed the business "Ardy & Ed's Drive-In."

Ardy and Ed continued to serve their famous creamy, Real Draft Root Beer in frosty mugs, many old-fashioned soda fountain favorites, and their expanded menu of delicious food.

In 1979, Ed passed away, but Ardy kept the drive-in operating. Today, she and her husband, Steve Davis, continue to offer a real "Blast From The Past,” serving food the way it used to be served – by roller skating car hops while music from the 50’s and 60’s plays in the background.

We didn’t realize they had roller skating car hops until we did the research for this blog post. If we had realized it, we might have spent another hour in town and then gone back there when they opened at 10:30. It would have been fun to order a frosty mug of root beer and have it delivered on roller skates.

This year, Ardy & Ed’s Drive-in is celebrating 70 years of serving old-fashioned food and fun. If you’re looking for something nostalgic to do, why not take a drive to Oshkosh and visit Ardy & Ed’s Drive-in. If you’re free on Thursday, August 24, they’re hosting the final Summer Cruise Night of 2018.

And in case you’re wondering, we really did make it to Bergsbaken Farms for an afternoon walk through the huge sunflower fields.

Happy Shunpiking!

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!


  1. Thanks for jogging my memory! There was an A&W in Hales Corners where I grew up. What a treat to pile all nine kids into the old Ford station wagon and go there on a hot summer night. Frosty mugs of root beer are the best. Must get to Ardy & Ed's sometime to revisit those happy days! Jean

    1. Jean, we also have such fond memories of the A&W that used to be in Lake Mills where we spent our high school years. The best thing about that A&W was the root beer soft serve ice cream. At the time, we thought all A&Ws served root beer ice cream. After moving away (and the Lake Mills A&W eventually closing), we realized that was a specialty not served at other A&Ws. However, in recent years, we discovered that the Portage A&W (which started as a small root beer stand in 1919) serves root beer soft serve, and of course, frosty mugs of root beer. That would be a shorter trip for you. They don't have servers on roller skates, but they still bring the food out to your car.

  2. Sounds wonderful and fun trip! Love those old Drive-In's!

    1. Thanks, Stephanie, we love them, too. You can't beat nostalgia!