A pink ‘59 Cadillac flips on its headlights and a waiter strides to the window. “What'll be, Mac?” This was the golden age of carhops, when root-beer cost a nickel, and Joe Fanning built A&W of Smithfield with a hammer, saw, and a little elbow grease. Today, it is still a family operation under the ownership of Stephanie Mosca, whose sisters and kids have all slung sarsaparilla among the eatery's carports. Those servers and their compatriots have dispensed more than one million dogs and 97,000 frosty mugs of A&W root-beer at the location. Every year, beginning on the second Saturday in March, diners drive up and flip on their lights to signal to a carhop that they are ready to order. Hot dogs made from American beef pair perfectly with root-beer floats laced in cool tufts of froth, and burgers match up to pamphlets about not feeding the cassette deck no matter how hungry it looks.
Cafe 55 cultivates a relaxing atmosphere by cushioning guests in plush white booths and turning the lights low. Towering hookahs filled with fragrant tobacco invite patrons to take a puff of rich flavors such as mango and vanilla before expelling smoke into the air to make swirling patterns or 3D Rorschach tests. Appetizers and drinks, including beer, sangria, and nonalcoholic smoothies, pair with the hookah action.
A cozy setting and familiar foods make meals at Abby's Country Kitchen truly comforting. After taking a seat in the restaurant's cozy dining room or at cushioned stools along its counter, diners tuck into dishes that range from juicy burgers to plates of seafood.