If John Mellencamp ever visited the Freezer Fresh Dairy, he would have scribbled a little ditty about Jack and Diane there, too.
Appalachia Kentucky is full of such dives, mom and pop restaurants that have withstood the test of time — and now — pandemics.
My wife, Tammy, and I have ventured out for Sunday drives through the winding roads of eastern Kentucky throughout COVID-19. For the first time since March, we stopped to eat. When we decided go through the backroads of Johnson County, to West Liberty (Morgan County), and eventually finish the day in Morehead and Ashland, we remembered a suggestion from several friends from a few months ago.
On a similar Sunday (early on during COVID-19), we drove to West Liberty with our dog, Ellie Mae, to just take in some fresh air. We stopped at Treadway Memorial Park, and when I posted on Facebook we were in West Liberty, the overwhelming suggestion was to go to the Freezer Fresh Dairy.
As always, I listened — albeit a few weeks or months later (insert laugh here).
Opened in 1958, the Freezer Fresh Dairy is a small weathered building that will make a big impact on your taste buds. They are known for a variety of things. I ordered the usual — a couple of hot dogs with chili (if you say sauce, we need to talk) and mustard. I added a large order of fries to share. Tammy said, “just get me whatever you get.” As always, I didn’t listen. After asking the lady at the window what is popular, she reeled off several things — the one that caught my attention was a double decker — a double decker hamburger with coleslaw and pickles. Whoa!
We washed it down with milkshakes — we both got chocolate.
After further inquiry from friends in or near West Liberty, I need to return for a peanut butter milkshake, a banana split (that is served in a boat or a cup — judging from their portions a banana split would be served in a five-gallon bucket as their version of a cup).
As some of you know, I grew up in Martin County. We had our spot, too. It was called the Warfield Dairy Bar. It later closed, but got a second chance when a local couple reopened it in a new location (along with one in Inez, too, but I’m a Warfield Red Devil so I go to the Warfield one when visiting home).
The moral of the story? I don’t really know other than appreciate those places like the Freezer Fresh Dairy in your community. These places, while small in size, are a big part of your community.
And they’ve been there when others came and left. And they’ll be there (I sure hope) beyond COVID-19.