#Oshbash Will be 'Rockin' With Help From Ardy & Ed's!

11:34 AM

By Dan Pimentel,

Airplanista Blog Editor

The Airplanista Blog Meetup, #Oshbash, is set to bring the aviation family and Twitter #Avgeeks together at EAA Airventure Oshkosh on Wednesday night, July 31 from 5:30 - 7:30pm in the EAA Press Tent. We'll be passing out the first-ever Airplanista #Oshbash Awards, and now, a generous donation from a new event sponsor, Oshkosh's iconic Ardy & Ed's Drive In, will make the event even more cool...but you'll need to attend the event to see what their surprise is!

Ardy & Ed's should always be a part of anyone's Oshkosh visit, as it is a tradition that is engrained in the social fabric of this Wisconsin city. But during "EAA Week" this former A & W on the shores of Lake Winnebago fills up with people from all over the globe who insist on making a stop there while in town for Airventure.

As the #Oshbash host, I am elated for this support, because this little Drive In is as synonymous to the "Oshkosh" show experience as watching Duggy drop the skydivers carrying Old Glory to show center each day to begin the air show. Let me explain why I pursued this support:
It all began one evening at #OSH11 when I met up with @MLadd (Michael Ladd, designer of the AvPad kneeboard) who invited me to join him and his wife for an "Ardy & Ed's run." He told me not to ask what that was, just get in his car, and said I would not be sorry. All he said was that "everyone that is anyone" in the #Avgeek world was headed over there right now, and I would not regret the decision to join them. Wow, was he ever right.
We headed off around KOSH, in the general direction of the approach end to runway 27. As we turned into the parking lot of this very cool, authentic "Drive In", I saw the carhops on skates, heard Jerry Lee Lewis coming out of the loudspeakers, and I knew this was going to be a fun meal with a bunch of great friends. I didn't know Ardy & Ed's even existed. But as soon as the wheels of the Ladd's SUV hit the lot, I was transported back to the 1950's, when rock and roll ruled AM radio, and root beer was made right there in front of you fresh every day out of ingredients that sounded more like food instead of a science experiment. I was enjoying the company of a large group of my BFF aviation friends who had made this exodus, and proceeded to devour one of this life's most memorable meals.
Why was this such a great meal? What's that you say, burgers are burgers? Fries, root beer, it's all been done? Well, if you subscribe to that nonsense, you've never been to Ardy & Ed's during Airventure:
It is hard to even describe the atmosphere of enjoying a meal while standing around the parking lot of a real true-to-life Drive In like this. The music, the cute girls on roller skates delivering trays of food everywhere, and OMG, the burger!! I have had a few "burgers" before, but never one with a slab of beef AND a slab of Bratwurst between the same set of buns. It's their "Drive-in Double", and yes, it's as good as it sounds. Add to it a majestic portion of perfect french fries, and a gigantic frozen mug of the most insane root beer on this planet, and you have a meal that is hard to forget. As I stood there talking airplanes and consuming this feast from yesteryear, a train of inbounds to runway 27 flew overhead at short final altitudes, finishing off the ambiance exquisitely.
Ardy & Ed's owner Steve Davis
Let's take a trip through the history books and look back on the life and times of Ardy & Ed's:
The Drive In opened in 1948, and was originally known as the Southside A & W Drive In, serving little more than A & W Root Beer, Hot Dogs and chips. The business was eventually sold to Edward Timm and his wife Ardythe, or "Ardy" to just about everyone. In 1972, the business was renamed "Ardy & Ed's Drive In". After the death of Ed in 1979, Ardy continued to operate the business. Today, she runs the business with her partner and husband, Steve Davis, who began working at the restaurant in 1977, including making the daily batches of the drive-in's popular root beer.
And while most of the aviation family only visits Oshkosh one week per year, according to the Drive In's website, they have attracted quite a bit of worldwide attention:
"Through the years, Ardy & Ed's has been featured in numerous local and national publications and TV broadcasts, including 2005's "Roker On The Road" and 2004's "Top Five Food Innovations" on the Food Network . In 2003, we were honored to be chosen as the # 4 location on Mazda's "Top 10 Top Down List" of places in the USA to go in a convertible. Ardy & Ed's was also honored to be a featured exhibit in the Oshkosh Public Museum from 1995 to 2003. In 2008, Ardy & Ed's was featured in Roadway Transportations annual calendar "Roadside Drive Ins". Taglichtmedia of Germany filmed scenes for an episode of their documentary "As the World Eats" at Ardy & Ed's during the summer of 2008. The documentary aired on German television in the fall of 2009. Frommer's 500 Places For Food & Wine Lovers included Ardy & Ed's Drive In when released in May 2009. Discover Wisconsin filmed at Ardy & Ed's in September 2009 for a segment of their show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dairy Bars" which aired in May 2010."
So as you plan your visit to EAA Airventure Oshkosh, make sure to wander over to the Press tent just NE of the control tower after the Wednesday afternoon air show. #Oshbash is going to be loads of fun, and I promise to have you back on the flight line in time for the new Wednesday night air show that has been added to the Airventure schedule.

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