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140120 - January 20, 2014


Mullins Drive-In
Put Up For Sale
        For those of you who do still live in Huntsville or do not visit Facebook, here is a story that was just printed on It seems that we may loose one of our favorite teenage hangouts.

Mullins Restaurant in Huntsville,
Alabama's oldest family-owned eatery,
Put up for sale
by Steve Doyle The Huntsville Times  
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Mullins Restaurant, a Huntsville institution since 1929 and possibly the oldest family-owned eatery in Alabama, faces an uncertain future after being put up for sale.

Larry and Brenda Mullins, who have owned the Five Points restaurant since 1978, had the building listed Wednesday by Bill Poole Realty.

"Larry is 75, and he's kind of past the age where he can do what needs to be done to operate the restaurant," Brenda Mullins told Thursday. "I'm also at the age where I can't do it anymore. We've tossed this around for several years.

"It was a very, very, very hard decision," she said through tears.

Brenda Mullins said the couple's three adult daughters all tried their hand at the food business. "But it's not what they wanted to do," she said.

Founded in April 1929 by a relative of Larry Mullins' mother, Mullins was initially called Fifth Street Cafe. It moved to a different Five Points location in 1949 and assumed a new identity as a burger joint with car hops. Some longtime customers still call it Mullins Drive-In.

In the early 1950s, Mullins was honored for selling more hot dogs than any other restaurant in the U.S. "Miss Hot Dog Queen came to have her picture made," said Brenda Mullins.

Larry's mother, Owene Mullins, bought the drive-in around 1950 and operated it for years with her husband, James P. Mullins. The restaurant switched to a plate-lunch and dinner format in the 1970s.

According to the menu, Mullins is the oldest family-owned restaurant in Alabama.

The current location is Mullins' third on Andrew Jackson Way, and it was built to feed the masses. Brenda Mullins said the walk-in freezer is the biggest in Alabama; the kitchen alone is 2,100 square feet.

Stumping for votes at Mullins is a rite of passage for politicians running Huntsville City Council, governor and just about every office in between.

Brenda Mullins said the restaurant will remain open for now. She hopes the eventual buyer will keep Mullins going for future generations to enjoy.

"If someone bought the restaurant to keep it open, they definitely could have our recipes," she said. "They wouldn't even have to buy them.

"That's how much we would like to see Mullins remain open."

        Memphis, TN - First it was the courthouse, then Zesto, then the Lee High School building, and now it appears that another icon of our younger days may soon disappear from our midst. We hate to see this happen, but many of you locals have been reporting that the food and service at Mullins has gone down in quality over the last year and perhaps this is why.
        Anyway, we will keep our eye on the subject and keep you as informed as possible. In the meantime, Sue and I leave Sunday for a quick cruise to Cozumel to escape this cold weather that comes and goes in Memphis.
        We should be back in time to have the next issue ready, so if you have any news to share please email me.



From the Internet

I know some of you will not understand this message, but I bet you know someone who might. I came across this phrase yesterday.

'FENDER SKIRTS' A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like 'curb feelers'
And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) 'suicide knob,' 'neckers knobs.'
Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first.
Any kids will probably have to find some older person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.
Remember 'Continental kits?' They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.
When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes? At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'
I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.' Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor. For that matter, the starter was down there too.
Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore - 'store-bought.' Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.
'Coast to coast' is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term 'worldwide' for granted. This floors me.
On a smaller scale, 'wall-to-wall' was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.
When was the last time you heard the quaint phrase 'in a family way?' It's hard to imagine that the word 'pregnant' was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and 'being in a family way' or simply 'expecting.'
Apparently 'brassiere' is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up. I guess it's just 'bra' now. 'Unmentionables' probably wouldn't be understood at all.
I always loved going to the 'picture show,' but I considered 'movie' an affectation.
Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s word I came across the other day 'rat fink.' Ooh, what a nasty put-down!
Here's a word I miss - 'percolator.' That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with 'Coffee maker.' How dull... Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like 'Dyna Flow' and 'Electrolux' and 'Frigidaire'. Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with 'Spectra Vision!'
Food for thought. Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore.
Maybe that's what Castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening kids with Castor Oil anymore.

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most is 'supper.' Now everybody says 'dinner.' Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts. 



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