River Bottoms in Carrollton, MO
River Bottoms Brewing Company
In April, Don and I made a memorable stop, on our Missouri road trip.
Genealogy was the main reason for our visit to the small town of Carrollton. Our lunch at River Bottoms, was the icing on the cake!
Don and I have only been to Carrollton once before. We spotted a few new things on this visit. This mural on the side of a building, made me wonder about the town, a century ago.
It was actually further back than that, when my relatives lived in town. As we drove around, I tried to picture both of my great great grandmothers strolling by the shops, in the late 1800's.
Sadly it was hard to imagine. The town's population has gone down to around 3,500. Many of the old homes and buildings are in need of facelifts. I wish I could have seen what Carrollton looked like in 1897, when my Grandma-Daw, was a baby.
Daw is posing with both sets of grandparents, in this photo. The Ely and Jewell families both lived in Carrolton, before the turn of the century.
I was given my grandmother's maiden name as my middle name. As a kid (and adult!) I've always been excited to spot the name Ely, in different places. Especially on a street sign, Carrollton.
We even found Ely on some stained glass windows, in the Baptist Church. We found no hints of the Jewell family. They had fewer years in the small town. Their name got a bigger spotlight after moving to good old Springfield, MO. Oh I loved the puzzles of family history!
Our search for old family houses, turned to a search for lunch. Street numbers have changed and houses have disappeared. It was frustrating and we were hungry.
I tried not to get my hopes up when I found a brewing company on Mapquest. It's hard enough to find a decent diner in a small town, during these pandemic times. The town seemed too small for a brewing company.
Not only was River Bottoms Brewing Company open, but it was in a great historic building!
We walked in the door and saw another mural. The interesting artwork was in progress, but it was still helped us imagine the town long ago.
The interior was welcoming, with art displayed on the brick walls and cozy booths. An elk head named was Edwin wore colored lights on his antlers. A propped instrument, made me think the brewery might be pretty fun at night.
But the most welcoming part of our visit, was our server Whitney. Not only was she talkative and friendly. but she had grown up in Carrollton and was passionate about the town and its history.
Gabbing with Whitney
After we looked over our menus a bit, we spent time asking Whitney questions. She said she didn't know any Elys or Jewells, but she introduced us to another young woman who might know.
The young woman had just come across the street, from her job at the library. (To get carryouts?) She said she didn't know of anyone with those names, but she invited us to come over after lunch and visit their genealogy room. What a nice surprise, to speak with 2 young locals, who had an interest in their town.
Food & Drink
Don and I celebrated our visit to Carrollton with a shared flight of beer.
I'm actually worthless, discussing beer. But I'm pretty sure it was an American pale ale, that I liked best. Don was very happy with a Rye IPA . We made sure to toast to Carrollton!
Special of the Day
Whitney recommended that we just split the special of the day. Rarely do servers encourage sharing. I loved that!
The salad was packed with fresh greens, strawberries, goat cheese and almonds... topped with a fantastic peppery mustard dressing! This did not taste like small town food.
Don is a big fan of the Rueben sandwich and I love a pizza. So this was perfect.
There was quite a party of flavors, on that flatbread! Tangy sauerkraut and salty corned beef, red onions, red pepper, bacon and a touch of sweet, in the Thousand Island! Yum!
After we finished up, Whitney shared a few stories about gypsies in Carrollton. I'm not completely sure how much was local folklore, but these stories were definitely passed down in her family. We heard about gypsies, who used to come upriver by boat and stay for a while. Some folks in town, supposedly have collections of teacups, which were common gifts from the gypsies.
We heard about the most well known and well liked gypsy woman, from way back when. She was in the area when a tornado came ripping through town. The woman begged a local to be let inside. She promised to put a spell on the town that would prevent future tornados from hitting the town. Supposedly this woman liked the town and stayed. She lived into her hundreds and is buried in the local cemetery.
We thanked Whitney for sharing some stories and time with us. Her sister came out from the kitchen, to meet us. She took our photo and we headed out in happy spirits.
Post Lunch Exploring
We wandered the town a bit, working off our lunch. I stepped inside to see the old Post Office.
The courthouse and my family's old church, looked impressive!
Last Stop Library
Before leaving hitting the road, we stepped into the library and spent a little time looking at old Census records and news clippings.
There were no huge surprises, but I found the records showing the marriage of my great-grandmother Lillian Jewell, to my great-grandfather R.C. Ely. That made my day!
That's my favorite kind of dining adventure! A little lunch. A little visiting. A little exploring!
White Grill in Nevada, MO
Lured by the Sign
In April off 2022, Don and I had ourselves a mighty fine lunch in Nevada, Missouri!
We couldn't resist the neon sign, with a goofy chef image. Words like "Hamburgers, Susie Qs and Shakes" also appealed. Although I didn't know about Suzie Q's. ?
We were traveling through the town of Nevada, on a Missouri road trip.
That's a story for another day...
Well... I'll share just a bit. Daw is my maternal grandmother. She's the standing child, in this photo.
She and her relatives are posing near the Nevada, Missouri State Hospital. Her grandfather was on the board, but I have another relative who came to the mental hospital at another time. He was a patient.
The beautiful and eerie building behind my relatives, is no longer standing.
But we found the cemetery. What markings these graves once had, are no longer visible. Sad history and stories here, I'm sure.
But I said the story was for another time. This blog piece is about a very nice little lunch adventure at White Grill.
We arrived at 11:00 am.
Only one of the 11 stools was taken.
It didn't take long for the counter to fill up.
We took a seat in one of the booths. We had lots of condiments and a window with a checkered curtain. We kept an eye on the busy parking lot and the drizzly weather.
Our server was pleasant, but she was the only one serving. I didn't want to slow her down, so I rushed to order and totally forgot to order Susie Qs! Susie Qs are curly fries, I believe.
The prices looked like they hadn't been raised in a quarter century! A hamburger for $3.25!
Grilled Cheese and Tots!
I didn't exactly go all out, but I was happy with my choice.
My grilled cheese was $2.15. My tots were $190.
Don loves breakfast for lunch, so he was happy, with fried eggs, ham, potatoes and toast.
His piping hot potatoes were more like fried mashed potatoes. Not his favorite, but I could have eaten a bucketful!
The diner was too busy for a chat with staff. But I had a nice chat with a fellow and his dog, Lucy.
Evidently Lucy is a frequent guest and she gets lots of little treats here and there. She couldn't have been sweeter.
History on the Walls
I was excited to find some framed news clippings, to give me some history. I had to do some math though. This clipping was from 1999, so White Grill is not 61 years old, but 84!
I learned that Harry S. Truman was a fan of the place. His quote was featured, "..best dam hamburgers I ever ate."
Back in 1938
Back in 1938, Harold "Red" McLaughlin opened the White Grill. It was the first of a small chain. Besides Harry Truman, who else dined here?
Nevada is 90 miles from Springfield, MO. My dad was 10 years old living in Springfield in 1938. It's possible that any of my numerous Springfield relatives had eaten here.
Off We Go
We had a satisfying little visit to White Grill. As we headed off, I looked back at the line up of cars at the drive through.
Not that long ago, they had car hop service. All you had to do was honk. Now that would have been a fun step back in time!
Next time I'm having Susie Qs and a shake!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.