CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
It was the sign that did it.
I was driving through Carl Junction, and the sign in front of Randy’s Drive-In pretty much made the decision for me.
The message on the sign was direct and to the point: “Double cheeseburger and fries. $4.59.”
My car almost drove itself into Randy’s parking lot. You know those horses that have to ride the same route day after day? The horses that ride the same route so long that the rider doesn’t even have to steer? That’s the way my car is when it comes to cheeseburgers.
Sometimes, the best advertising tactic is to be direct and to the point. If you have a good product, you shouldn’t have to hype it too much. That’s why Randy’s message — “Double cheeseburger and fries. $4.59” — works.
One time, many years ago, my wife and I were walking along Duval Street in Key West, Fla. It was about 8 p.m., and I think we were heading to the late, great Captain Tony’s Saloon. Along the way, we passed a place where young women remove their clothing. As we passed the place, there was a guy on the sidewalk trying to interest people in entering the clothing-removal business.
“Cold beer and naked ladies,” is what the guy said.
That’s direct and to the point.
Randy’s Drive-In is sort of like the Eiffel Tower without all the French people. Folks who are from Paris tend to take the Eiffel Tower for granted. Sure, they like the Eiffel Tower ... well, as much as the French can like anything. But since the Eiffel Tower is always around, it’s easy for the French to take it for granted.
Randy’s Drive-In has been around about as long as I have lived in the area, and over the years I’ve had a few cheeseburgers there. But I don’t stop there often enough. Sometimes, like the French who drive by the Eiffel Tower without even glancing at it, I drive through Carl Junction without even glancing at Randy’s Drive-In.
How dumb is that?
So on Thursday, when my car drove itself into the lot at Randy’s Drive-In, I was glad. I walked into the restaurant and found Randy standing by the cash register. I ordered a double cheeseburger, fries and a glass of tea, and parked myself on one of the stools at the counter.
Randy and I chatted while the nice women were fixing my burger and fries. Occasionally, Randy would have to stop chatting and take an order at the drive-through or at the cash register. Just about everyone Randy saw, he knew by name. He also knew where they worked, who they were married to — or used to be married to — who their parents were, or who their kids were.
A college-age kid came into the restaurant and ordered lunch.
“Your brother still selling condos in Colorado?” Randy asked.
“Nope, he’s in construction now,” the young kid said.
Later, one of the nice women in the kitchen came out to talk to the kid. Apparently her son knew the kid.
Randy’s is sort of the hub of Carl Junction. The city just opened its new community center. It’s a neat place and likely will also be a hub of sorts for the town. But Randy’s, I think, will always be THE hub.
Randy and I talked for a while about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Randy told me he had to cancel vacation plans he made for Destin, Fla. We agreed that the whole thing is one giant mess. After a few minutes, one of the nice women placed my burger and fries in front of me, and I forgot about the mess on the Gulf Coast for a while.
My burger was fantastic. Instead of springing for the super double cheeseburger, I went with the plain double cheeseburger so it didn’t overwhelm me. Sometimes, in spite of my best judgment, I order the biggest burger on the menu and then live to regret it. But I had a lot yet to do at the paper Thursday afternoon (no, really, I did!), and I knew a super double cheeseburger might do me in.
There wasn’t anything special about my double cheeseburger, which is why it was so good. What they serve at Randy’s is exactly what people want: fresh, hot and very good. Like the message on the sign, my burger and fries were direct and to the point.
So the next time you’re anywhere near Carl Junction and feel like a good meal, head Randy’s way.
Just steer in the general direction of Randy’s. Your car will do the rest.
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
It was the sign that did it.
- Local News
VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill
With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.
Governor tells educators GOP ‘abandoning’ education system
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon called on the state’s education leaders Tuesday to hold Republican legislators accountable for polices he labeled as “abandoning” the state’s education system.
Mike Pound: Center for abused children sees heaviest case load in 17 years
Not too long ago, the board of directors of the Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri was given some information that it didn’t exactly know how take.
Tallest, loudest, largest things recognized during annual fair
It is the year of superlatives at the 98th annual Crawford County Fair.
Riverton School Board sending letter of opposition on Galena landfill plan
During a special Board of Education meeting Tuesday night in Riverton, members discussed the district’s involvement in preventing a proposed landfill from being built about two miles from the school.
Fired McDonald County chief deputy charged with tampering
A Missouri State Highway Patrol probe of the McDonald County sheriff’s office has led to the former chief deputy being accused of tampering with evidence and raised questions about a possible cover-up.
VIDEO: African art collection found in stairwell ‘tomb’ at MSSU
It wasn’t exactly like opening King Tut’s tomb, but the treasures found inside were priceless just the same. After taking over as head of the art department at Missouri Southern State University, Christine Bentley wanted to assess the department’s African art holdings.
4.3 magnitude quake reported in northern Oklahoma
The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.
Update: 4 workers injured in SE Kansas oil refinery fire
A Texas company says four workers at a southeast Kansas oil refinery were burned in an early morning fire.
Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying
A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.
- More Local News Headlines
- VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill