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Park Road Soda Shoppe

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

The first lunch counter was believed to open in New Albany Indiana in a Woolworths in 1923. The counters became prevalent in five and dime stores until the 1960s when diners began frequenting places like McDonald’s. A historic event in civil rights history took place at a Woolworths lunch counter in Greensboro, NC.

(photo of a typical lunch counter)

The name lunch counter came from the fact that they were typically open only at lunch, and most had bar seating with fixed swivel stools, and perhaps some tables. They were generally operated by the stores’ existing employees.

I have fond memories of eating at several of Charlotte‘s lunch counters such as the one located in the old Eckerd drug store at Cotswold. That was a 10 minute bike ride from my home, so my friends and I would frequently ride our bikes there for lunch. There was another in the Eckerd beside what is now the Harris Teeter in Myers Park. Returning to Charlotte after college, I have great memories of my dad and I eating at Wad’s Pharmacy, which was located where Kid Cashew is now along East Blvd. Dad and I would always order the same thing: two hotdogs all the way & a homemade orangeade.

In recent years, there have been only two local lunch counters in business. Green’s Lunch in uptown and which, sadly, recently closed. And now the last remaining counter is located in Park Road Shopping Center, and it is called the Park Road Soda Shoppe. Beth and I discovered what we referred to as the Soda Shoppe when our kids were very young. We frequently took them there on Saturdays. Like all of those lunch counter visits with my dad, my order was almost always the same: two hotdogs all the way, and a vanilla milkshake. The kids would usually get either hotdogs or hamburgers. Those are excellent here. Beth would always order her standard fare: a grilled chicken salad.

More than the food is simply the family atmosphere, that you sense, and the downhome service.

If you have been to a lunch counter, or simply like hamburgers and hotdogs, you have to check this place out!

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