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Driving through the many dusty miles of open road on Route 66, one might begin to crave the simple comforts of a freshly smashed burger patty, a frosted milkshake—or even an “ugly crust” pie. Sitting “smack dab in the middle” of the iconic American route, a cafe welcomes motorists to satiate those desires midway through the long journey from Chicago to the City of Angels.
The structure that now exists as the Midpoint Café was constructed in 1928, first referred to as Zella’s Cafe. With 1139 miles to Chicago to the east, and 1139 miles to Los Angeles in the other direction, the cafe’s location in Adrian, Texas made it popular with roadside patrons in the heyday of Route 66’s usage. While the location would change hands many times, it would expand, and at one point, stay open 24 hours a day due to the demand of the popular highway. In 1969, however, the town of Adrian was bypassed by the new expressway system, and the popularity of the road-facing diner went with it, like an automobile charging into the sunset.
But instead of the institution becoming lost to the desert sands of time, fortunes changed for the simple structure in 1990, when Fran Hauser bought the aging establishment. Opening up shop right as interest renewed in Route 66 adventuring and memorabilia, Fran was convinced by travel author Tom Snyder to name the cafe the “Midpoint”, in order to capitalize on the cafe’s location. Becoming a household name on the route herself, Fran went on to inspire the character “Flo” in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.
While Fran sold the business a few years back, travellers and tourists still flock to the Midpoint Café for comfort foods and decadent pies–dubbed as “ugly”, due to the cafe’s pastry chef feeling like they just aren’t as good as her grandmother’s baking. Now with the food service as busy as its early 20th Century iteration, the crowds beg to differ.
Written By: Seamus McMahon
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