DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At the corner of Travis Street and Knox Street in Dallas, you can walk into the Highland Park Soda Fountain, and it’s like stepping back in time. “It’s a piece of history and people absolutely love it,” said Gretchen Minyard Williams. She and her husband have owned the restaurant for the last 10 years.READ MORE: 1-Year-Old Dallas Boy At Center Of Amber Alert Found Safe
The Highland Park Soda Fountain turns 104 years old this year, and not much has changed. “People and kids love to sit at the counter and spin,” Williams said. They took it over with a promise to keep it as much the same as possible.
“There is the carbonated water. So, we do the pumps of Coke or Dr Pepper, and the carbonated water, and it’s hand-stirred,” Williams said.
Behind the counter is college student Thalia Puebla. She’s been working there for three years, and said that there’s a learning curve when it comes to making malts, shakes and ice cream sodas. “I didn’t know how to make it, but thank God I had really nice mentors who showed me,” Puebla said. “And it became really easy afterwards.”
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Over the 104 years that they have been in business, a lot of customers have come and gone through the doors, including some famous ones — everyone from Troy Aikman to former First Lady Laura Bush.
But you will also find regular folks, people like Ray Blevins. “It’s convenient and its good,” said Blevins, a longtime customer.
There was also 3-year-old Philip Hendrix, who knew just what he wanted. “I’m going to have a grilled cheese,” the boy said.
The owners recently ran a promotion asking people how long they have been coming to the Highland Park Soda Fountain. The results surprised them. “Sixty years, 40 years, 20 years was the norm,” Williams stated. “It’s amazing — the second, third and even fourth generations that were starting to coming here.”
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As Dallas continues to evolve, and more buildings are torn down or repurposed, some worry about the soda fountain’s future. But the owners said that they plan to keep it just as it is, for as long as possible. “As long as they let us,” Williams said. That’s worth celebrating — soda fountain style.