Gunners Garage

Places to stop on the way to Iola – Ardy & Ed’s Drive-In – Oshkosh, Wis.

 

Photo by Christa Haley

 

Ardy and Ed’s Drive-In, as the business is known today, began in 1948, shortly after World War II had ended. It was originally known as the Southside A & W Drive In. Back then, it served little more than A & W root beer, hot dogs and chips. At that time, it was one of only two or three drive-in restaurants in Oshkosh. One of the early owners was Nate Rohr, who eventually came to own a number of root beer stands in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region.

In 1953, the business was purchased by Robert and Elizabeth (“Ollie”) Albrecht of LaCrosse. They operated the restaurant for seven and a half years. On July 1, 1960, it was sold to Mrs. Albrecht’s son, Edward Timm, and his wife Ardythe.

Until 1972, the Timms operated the business as the Southside A & W Drive-In. Then, they decided to operate as an independent drive-in and the business was renamed Ardy & Ed’s Drive-In. They continued serving the same “famous” draft root beer and delicious food they had been serving.

After the death of Ed in 1979, Ardy continued to operate the business. Today, she runs the business with her partner and husband, Steve Davis, who began working at the restaurant in 1977. The Wisconsin Restaurant Assoc. as “Restaurateur of the Year” honored Steve in 2008 for his service to the WRA and the foodservice industry.

In 2010 the WRA Education Foundation honored Steve with their “Salute to Excellence” restaurateur award for his dedication to hospitality education in Wisconsin.

Through the years, Ardy & Ed’s has been featured in numerous local and national publications and TV broadcasts, including 2005’s “Roker On The Road” and 2004’s “Top Five Food Innovations” on the Food Network. In 2003, the business was chosen as the No. 4 location on Mazda’s “Top-10 Top Down List” of places in the USA to go in a convertible.

Ardy & Ed’s was also honored to be a featured exhibit in the Oshkosh Public Museum from 1995 to 2003. In 2008, Ardy & Ed’s was featured in Roadway Transportation’s annual calendar “Roadside Drive Ins”. Taglichtmedia of Germany filmed scenes for an episode of their documentary “As the World Eats” at Ardy & Ed’s during the summer of 2008. The documentary aired on German television in the fall of 2009.

Frommer’s 500 Places for Food & Wine Lovers included Ardy & Ed’s Drive In when released in May 2009. Discover Wisconsin filmed at Ardy & Ed’s in September 2009 for a segment of their show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dairy Bars” which aired in May 2010. In 2015, Ardy & Ed’s was included in an episode of “Around the Corner With John McGivern”, as well as in: “Hometown Stories: Oshkosh” on Wisconsin Public Television.

Today, Ardy, Steve and the staff of Ardy & Ed’s strive to continue serving their customers only the best food, famous draft root beer, and old-fashioned fountain favorites with the same personal, friendly service that their customers have enjoyed for nearly 70 years.

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