September 27, 2013

Bruce's Drive-In

Years ago my grandfather opened Bruce's Drive-In on Louisiana Highway 15 in Sicily Island.   The location was near the former site of Charlie's Nite Club which saw its most prosperous years in the 1940s. 

Bruce's Drive-In was known throughout the area for its homemade burgers, curly-Qs, and ice cream.  My grandfather's failing health brought the closure of Bruce's Drive-In in the early 1970s.  After his passing, my family re-opened the dairy queen for a short time before selling it to the Krause family.

Snack Shack owned and operated by Pot and Gloria Krause
Bruce's Drive-In became the Snack Shack and continued the tradition of serving great food and ice cream. 

When Louisiana Highway 15 was expanded to a four-lane, the old building was torn down and a new Snack Shack was built in its present location.  And yes, the tradition of great homemade burgers and ice cream treats continues on with the present owners, Walter Markham "Pot" Krause and his wife, Goria.

One of my earliest memories of the structure of Bruce's Drive-In was the segregated dining areas in the 1960s.  One dining area was located on the front/northern side of the building and the other was located on the eastern side.  

Bruce's Drive-In, 1960s

Bruce's Drive-In

The separate dining areas would later be torn down, leaving a covered area in front.  A long covered area was built on the western side where picnic tables were placed for those who chose to eat on location.  The picnic tables held stories of their own.  Names, initials, who-loved-who...all were found etched on the tables and some of the benches. 

Bruce's Drive-In

In the back portion of Bruce's Drive-In, near the grill and the deep fryer, there was an old orange colored chest that held supplies such as napkins, burger wrappers and straws.  That old chest was my favorite spot to take naps as a young child.  I'm sure the health departments of today would not allow a child inside, much less taking naps beside the grill and deep fryer!

In the front portion, there was a box freezer with containers on top that held the toppings for sundaes, shakes and malts. 

The same old box freezer is still in use at the Snack Shack. 

I remember the elementary teachers taking their classes to Bruce's Drive-In for cups and cones of ice cream.  The school was only about three or four blocks away so the students lined up by class and made their way up the sidewalk. 

The story is told that I uttered my first complete sentence while at Bruce's Drive-In.  There was a swinging door held open by a huge rock.  (I remember the door and the rock)  I supposedly stumped my toe on the rock one day and asked, "Who put that d*** rock there?"   I don't remember that part.

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