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Landmark restaurant celebrates 50 years

 

The Frosty Inn in Russellville has been a city landmark since its opening in 1960. There will be a 50th anniversary celebration at the Frosty Inn all day Saturday, May 1, featuring local entertainment. | Nathan Strickland/FCT

 

The delicious “secret sauce” on the burgers and the huge brown barrel with “Frosty Inn since 1960” plastered across it has kept locals and tourists coming for a bite to eat at one Russellville landmark for the past half-century.

Former Frosty Inn owners Raymond and Betty Grissom said they had no idea how to run a restaurant, but thought it was a good idea and wanted to give it a try when they opened the restaurant in 1960.

“My brother, Homer, saw a Frosty Inn in Bay St. Louis, Miss., and told me about it and suggested it would be a good idea to open one up here in Russellville,” Raymond said.

“The blueprint for the building was released from a company out of Memphis, Tenn., and by the time I graduated from Auburn University, Betty and I moved back here and it was built.”

As the years began to fly by, Raymond and Betty found a sense of acceptance from the community and business began to pickup, making the restaurant a success.

“In the beginning, we made root beer in a stainless steel barrel-like container and distributed it through a carbonation dispenser into a frozen novelty mug,” Raymond said. “We did the same with Coke and I believe the mugs are what set us a part from other restaurants. People would keep coming back, wanting an ice cold beverage in either a 16 ounce or eight ounce frozen mug.” 

As the time passed and things changed, Betty said the best thing for them to do was to “change with the times to survive.”

“We use to sell the small mugs for a nickel, the big mugs for a dime, two ounce burgers were five for a dollar and the big burgers were 40 cents,” Raymond said, laughing. “I remember when we had a 13th birthday for the restaurant. We had a special where everything was only 13 cents. Police had to direct traffic that day because we were so busy.”

The Grissoms kept the cozy, historic restaurant running for 42 years until selling it to their daughter Ramona and husband, Jeff Robinson.

“We worked seven days a week from opening time to closing time,” said Betty.

“The one thing I miss the most is the people. Raymond worried about me retiring because I am such a people person, but he says I’m doing pretty good.”

Raymond said if it wasn’t for the customers and employees the Frosty Inn would have never made it.

“We had a lot of good people to work for us through the years and the customers were always supportive of the food and restaurant,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the hometown folks and solid employees the Frosty Inn wouldn’t have ever made it and we would like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”

The brown barrel with the Frosty Inn logo on top of the restaurant, renovated in 2000, is one of the attractions that draws customers to come and grab a bite to eat. | Nathan Strickland/FCT

 

Jeff and Ramona Robinson have now been in charge for eight years and Jeff says he hasn’t had to do any changes other than maintenance since they have became owners.

“The place is in pretty good shape and customers still come and place orders,” he said. “We had one lady to drive up and just take a picture of the barrel on top of the roof because she thought it was neat and drove away. I plan to keep this place running until I pass away, I guess.”

A celebration featuring Russellville’s own Buford Parker and Brooklyn Hall, along with a few other performers, will be held from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Frosty Inn parking lot this Saturday.

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