Frostop Drive-in tradition lives on
HUNTINGTON — Even for residents who have never dined there, the Frostop Drive-in is a welcoming sight on Hal Greer Boulevard.
The quirky brown checker boarded building with a massive root beer mug on the roof greets many a motorist on their to downtown Huntington. The restaurant first opened in 1959 back when Frostop was a nationwide chain. Today only a handful of the drive-ins remain, while bottled root beer with the Frostop name is available in some states (yet oddly enough not West Virginia).
Not much has changed at the restaurant over the years. Root beer is still made in large vats, ice cream is mixed in shop, and hot dog sauce is made in house.
The Huntington location is under the co-ownership of Marilyn Murdock and Bing Murphy, the daughters of one of the original owner.
“My father Rupert McGinni and uncle William Warnock founded the restaurant in 1959,” Murdock said. “When my father passed away in 1980 my mother took over. When she passed away in 1996 my sister and I became the new owners. I think the reasons we’ve stayed in business for so long are consistency, good help and that our food is good. We make almost everything ourselves. People love our root beer, and nostalgia is a big deal now. We try to change our T-shirts every year because we have people who collect them.”
For those only familiar with the restaurant’s giant root beer mug, Frostop’s root beer is smooth, rich and creamy with a vanilla finish. The Drive-in’s menu also features a selection of hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches for $5 or less. These include the restaurant’s signature “Special” double cheeseburger ($2.70), a pork barbecue sandwich ($2.59), and chili cheese fries ($2.49). The menu also includes milkshakes, malts and an “Arctic Swirl” which is vanilla soft serve mixed with candy or cookies. There is also the “flavor burst” which is soft serve with a ribbon of chocolate or another flavor.
“One of the challenges with running a drive-in is running the curve. To make sure everyone has been waited on,” Murdock said. “We have a system fine tuned to make sure that everyone gets served. It’s a challenge to get everyone trained, but they do a beautiful job.
“Our business stays steady the whole year round,” she added. “In the winter months we are going to offer chili and hot chocolate. We have great support from the hospital, where people come over in droves.”
Frostop Drive-in is located at 1449 Hall Greer Blvd., Huntington. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For more information, call 304-523-0869.