nostalgia: A&W drive-thru @ pj state.
4 Jul 2012 § 2 Comments
Any kid who has grown up in Petaling Jaya will probably have memories of dining at the A&W 24-hour drive-thru restaurant at PJ State. Opened in 1965, this restaurant is fast reaching its half-century mark and has long since been a landmark at PJ State.
I remember my parents bringing me here when I was very young for burgers and root beer floats. With the convenience of the ‘drive-thru’, it was such a treat to sit in the car to eat – the staff would bring the food on trays that could be clipped on the windows and my mom would pass the food to me as I sat at the back of the car.
When I was slightly older, I used to attend or perform at concerts that was held at the nearby PJ Civic Centre and this was where we would go for a quick bite before heading over to the auditorium. While we did frequent other A&W outlets (there used to be one near Globe Silk Store right in the heart of town – this was where my mom and I would arrange to meet my dad after my mom was done shopping), this one outlet somehow found a place in my heart.
Many years later, this was where a group of us congregated after we’d finished our driving test at the road ministry’s test centre that was located directly opposite. Really, an ice-cold root beer float never tasted that good after waiting for hours in the sweltering heat for your turn only to fail the test by knocking over a cone on your first try at parking the car.
My last recollection of this place was a visit there with my bunch of school friends during those one to two months after college where we were finally free from exams, before we embarked on our individual journeys to our respective universities in UK. I faintly remember sitting somewhere towards the back, and showing off the huge bruise that had developed on my left leg (caused by stomping off after an argument with my then-boyfriend and crossing the road without looking, which resulted in being lightly hit by a slow-moving car).
It’s funny, the random things you remember.
I’m pretty sure I must’ve gone back there at least one or twice between then and now but strangely enough, my last memory of A&W stops somewhere in August 1996.
When the boyfriend told me recently that KUB, the current business owner of the A&W franchise in Malaysia, was planning to close down the outlets, we were both hit by a wave of nostalgia and on a particularly free Saturday night, we drove out to this outlet at 1am for a late night snack. Surprisingly, there were still quite a number of patrons enjoying their meal there.
Sadly, the counter was very short-staffed – with the slow service and a menu that doesn’t seem like it has been updated for ages, it’s no wonder that the outlets are not doing well. It’s such a pity though, as I remember how much I used to love their burgers – I was such a firm champion of A&W burgers that I actually refused to patronize McDs when I was young (I didn’t like the burgers there as it had sesame seeds on the buns and mustard inside).
Well, on that night, we ordered a coney dog (for him) and curly fries and waffles with honey and butter (for me). I’ve gotta give it to them…even after so many years, their waffles still remain one of the nicest (and most consistent) that I’ve ever had. It’s light and fluffy and I polished off nearly 3/4s. And of course, we shared a large root beer float, with two scoops of ice cream! Mmmm!
I don’t know if this particular outlet will survive the chop – the article I read mentioned that the company ‘will retain only outlets that have heavy traffic based on the increase in sales’. It would be sad, though, to see this restaurant being torn down to make way for something modern. While I wouldn’t call it ‘heritage’, at close to 50 years, it definitely IS a landmark and I’m sure it has a special place in our hearts, especially for the 70’s babies.
If you used to stay in or around PJ and have memories of this place, do share!