Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where Did You Eat Off-Campus? Volume 4

The Arby's on West End was a pretty good walk or a short drive from campus as you headed in West End towards town.

Believe or not, it's still there over 35 years later if you care to drop by for a Giant Roast Beef, some curly fries and a shake while you are in town for Reunion October 24-25.

When my friends from WRVU used to go there to eat, we called it "pigeon park." In part, that had to do with an obscure comedy album that was sent to the station that we all liked a lot.

The album had a routine on it that featured pigeons (with one of the characters, sounding a little strung out on something, saying over and over: "Here, piggeey, piggeey piggeey." (Hey, stuff like could be very funny when you are 18, 19 or 20 years old). :)

We made the connection to Arby's because....well....lots of time you got to share your food with the pigeons when you went to Arby's in those days. Seating inside was very limited back then and that only left a couple of outside picnic tables and the pigeons (who as I remember, like the Vandetbilt squirrels, were almost trained when it came to dealing with humans).

The same was true with the Hardee's over on 21st Avenue across from the Law School, one of the original fast food places around Vanderbilt (and now for many years a Wendy's location).

Fast food was just beginning to explode as a restaurant concept in the late 1960s and early '70s. The most popular such outlet near Vanderbilt while we were there was the Burger King (or The Whop, as we called it) right across from campus and the Towers. Now it's a small strip mall.

Also near the Towers was the Krystal, a fast food place before that name was invented. It had also had a drive-in out back, so you could cruise in and eat in your car (a concept that now only Sonic keeps famous).

Going further out West End towards Belle Meade, Krispy Kreme was another great place for fast (or junk)food, disguised as a sweet snack. Located just on the other side of Murphy Road, today there's a small gas station and a sushi restaurant there (I-440 pretty much wiped out the rest of the area). There is still a Krispy Kreme near campus. It's over on Elliston Place not far from the Elliston Place Soda Shop, which is still serving great food (the traditional meat and three) after all these years.

Other fast food outlets I can remember near Vandy in those days were the Minnie Pearl Chicken outlet (where the Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel is today) and the Minnie Pearl Roast Beef restaurant across from the Cathedral (and where there is now a new retail development with several restaurants to visit).

In previous postings we've already talked about Rotier's, Tex Ritter's and The Flaming Steer (and there are such profiles yet to come), but what are your memories and stories to tell about eating off campus when you were at Vanderbilt?

Just leave your comments below.

Now just you don't just wish you could pay those prices again...and get a free glass mug to boot!

1 comment:

Steve said...


One of the places not on your list of course is McDonald's.

The closest McDonald's during our tenure was in Melrose over on Eighth Avenue.

Remember how we'd leave a basketball game, and make sure we'd get over there for a double cheese burger before we went home?

Or how about John Logan ordering a grilled limburger cheese sandwich at Zanders and the cook coming out just to see somebody eat one.

I think with the fifth annual Krystal eating contest being this past weekend we need some testimonials about how many Krystals any of us downed in one setting. I think the most I ever managed was 12, but I'm sure several people can beat that.

Also how many Krispy Creme donuts at a setting? Those are so sweet the most I could manage was five. So top that '73 er's!

Steve Womack

Pigeon Park Rocks