Welcome to Cumberland County.
This is my (very dirty) car, Chino, sitting in my grandparents’ driveway in Kentucky.
Why is this noteworthy?
Well, let me tell you.
I’ve never been able to just drive to my grandparents’ houses in Burkesville, Kentucky. Having lived in the Northeast and about 1000 miles from my grandparents my whole life, any visit involved at least one plane ride (usually 2) and then a 2 ½ hour drive from the airport in either Louisville or Nashville to rural Kentucky.
Now that I live in Nashville, I can drive up to visit and be there in 2 ½ hours. It’s glorious.
The blue Jeep, Azul, is my cousin Lauren’s. Since this is Chino’s first time in Kentucky, he and Azul had never met and they are just tickled to death (a favorite Southern saying) to finally be together as family.
Naturally, as soon as I arrived in Burkesville, we had to eat. We went to one of my favorite little spots on the square in town: Annie Ruby’s.
Now, Annie Ruby’s is in the location that was formerly Smith Pharmacy. My papa thinks it had been open since the town was founded in 1810. He said that when he was little a single ice cream cone was a nickel and a double was 10 cents. My parents used to go there as kids for ice cream and orangeades, which they could purchase for something like a quarter. This was pretty amazing (even back then) since it took 2 fresh, sweet oranges to produce enough juice for this specialty.
My cousins, sister and I had a summer ritual at Smith Pharmacy when we were growing up where we would go sit at the old-timey fountain and order coke floats after a long day in the office (more on this later). They had the BEST old school vanilla ice cream that was sort of a creamy yellow and then they would pour over the fountain coke to create the perfect ice cream to coke ratio. This sounds pretty basic, but there’s quite an art to making a coke float. Trust me, I’m a coke float connoisseur.
While we were devastated when Smith’s pharmacy went out a little while back, we were so excited to learn that Annie Ruby’s would be opening with good food and with the fountain. It’s the same fountain that was in Smith’s and they do a darn good job with the coke float. Their curry chicken salad is also pretty delicious if you want something to go with that coke float. Actually, maybe eat the sandwich first and then savor the coke float.
Annie Ruby’s is known for “tomato pie,” which I’m sure is delightful, but unfortunately I’m some sort of genetic mutant and do not like tomatoes. As my granny says, “what a shame” because my papa grows a whole mess of tomatoes that the rest of my family lives for.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve worked up a craving for a coke float.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?