Cruising the path of the old Route 66 led us through the heart of Carthage, Missouri. As we pass the normal mix of fast-food restaurants and corporate businesses, we spot a gleaming silver shape ahead. Positioned on a frontage space, which has since been converted to a traffic circle, we spot Iggy’s Diner. The stainless steel shell screams “retro” with flashbacks of 50s malt shops dancing through our heads. Even on an overcast day, the appearance of this iconic stop excites us. Here we were confident to find that they were reviving nostalgia along the Mother Road.
Diners have been around for well over 100 years. The style represented at Iggy’s Diner began popping up just after World War II. Sliding into the 50s, the American diner became popular with families who were looking for entertaining excursions. Prior to these stainless steel versions, the diner had consisted of “lunch wagons”. This newer version was closer to a café and had expanded capacity. The diner industry had suffered during the Depression, like most other service businesses. The popularity of Route 66 helped create a demand for more of these stops. While many have long ago disappeared, we still happen upon them at times.
Reviving the Past
Iggy’s Diner is definitely a newer version of this old-school eatery. The building was fabricated in the late 1990s, but it has a vibe much older. The modern conveniences that accompany its newness are mostly superficial to the naked eye of diners. Built with a concrete floor, metal wall studs, and a metal roof are parts hidden from open view. What flashed before our eyes were the old maps and musical posters of 50s musical artists. They were doing a bang-up job of reviving nostalgia along the Mother Road.
Old School Eats
We decided that if we were going to travel back to the 50s, we ought to be dining on nostalgic dishes. The menu includes a wide range of options, but our gazes stopped at the Burger Baskets. What is more iconic than that? We decided to get a couple of versions and split them between us. Crystal chose the Bacon Ranch Burger that is seasoned with ranch spices. A heaping side of Curly Fries rounded out her basket. I picked the Piggy Iggy, which combines a beef patty with sliced smoked ham. It is the best of both worlds. My side was a plentiful mound of Onion Rings. Our conversation slowed as we concentrated on devouring the abundant portions sitting in front of us.
Reviving Nostalgia Along the Mother Road
From the stainless steel shell to the brightly colored booths, Iggy’s Diner exudes the essence of the past. Our visit occurred after a stop at the Battle of Carthage Museum, so the Saturday lunch rush was winding down. This opened up our view to be able to take the full atmosphere of the space. As we lingered at our Formica-topped table, we soaked in the nostalgia of this rekindled “greasy spoon”. Our lunch meal had hit the spot but the open road was calling our names. Time to head out and continue reviving nostalgia along the Mother Road.