When Don and I visited Mark Twain's hometown 4 years ago, I nagged that we must have dinner at Mark Twain Dinette.
But, by the time we got ourselves to the little restaurant, just steps from Mark Twain's childhood house, the lights had gone out.
Back to Hannibal
When we stayed in Hannibal this past September, I reminded Don about where we needed to eat. I didn't have much of a reason.
"I think I remember eating there when I was a kid. I don't know, I just like any diner named for Mark Twain. Besides, it's a dinette! When did we last eat at a dinette? And they have that cool root beer sign! Remember?"
Revolving Root Beer Mug!
When we pulled into town, I made Don drive by the riverfront and Mark Twain's old house and the Dinette. Something was missing! Where's the giant revolving root beer mug? (Luckily I took a pic, 4 years ago)
I made Don pull over so I could run in and ask. They told me the mug, (that's been towering over the restaurant since 1963) was away for a while, getting a new paint job. Whew! I told them we'd be back later for dinner.
Lights Still On!
Don was not crazy about my dining choice. But there weren't many options at 8:30 on a Wednesday.
The sign was still glowing, but as we approached the restaurant. it looked empty inside.
We stepped inside, where a few, young employees with brooms greeted us.. They insisted they were indeed open, so we headed towards a booth.
I did have to stop and show Don the very fine riverboat models I had spotted when I came in earlier. He did not seem that impressed.
We slid into a booth with lots of framed goodies on the wall.
I tried to excite Don by pointing out the old menu, with some very good prices.
I pointed out an old image of the original, enamel steel, Mark Twain Dinette.
"It only had a counter and 13 stools, then!" I announced, with much enthusiasm.
What to Eat?
I asked our waitress if there was a specialty of the house. "Haven't you ever had a Maid-rite?" She asked, with a bit of surprise.
She described the old favorite, as a loose meat sandwich. "Kind of sloppy joe, with no tomato sauce."
Don's Fried Pork Sandwich
Even though the young crew was sweeping right up to our feet as we ate, Don totally cheered up when his food arrived.
How could he not laugh, when he picked up that bun with a footlong piece of meat sticking out. It was actually pretty good.
I ordered a salad along with my not so healthy, Maid-Rite & mug of root beer.
The steaming sandwich came wrapped in Maid-Rite paper, which absorbed some of the grease. The meat and onion sandwich reminded me of a few late night White Castle Burgers, that I once enjoyed in St. Louis.
Peek at the Drive In
We finished up and headed to the door before they had a chance to sweep us out. I made Don drive us through the parking lot where I could peek at the the drive in, which was added in 1960.
It looked pretty old, in the yellow light. But, back in the day the curb service was top notch, with switchboard operated service.
Good Bye Mark Twain
It was sort of a silly dining experience, but totally worth a stop. I got to step back in time and I got to sample a local favorite.
Next time, I hope to see the big mug twirling up on its pole.
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.