The days of old are beginning to make a resurgence in the Twin Cities. A long time ago soda parlors and drugstore soda shops made their exit from American society. Now, in 2013, Twin City residents are having a bit of nostalgia as they come in droves to places like Lynden’s Soda Fountain in St. Paul and Eat Street Social in Minneapolis.
With Coke and Pepsi dominating the soft drink market, consumers are looking for a fresh taste on their palate. Artificial ingredients, processed syrups, and sleek packaging dominate the big soda businesses -- but fresh ingredients like egg creams, a lack of preservatives, and the personal touch of someone hand-making your drink is the appeal of the soda in these shops.
Homemade root beer drinks, concoctions with Minnesota Maple Syrup, or even a rendition of the original Coke (minus the ingredient, cocaine of course) are featured at these soda shops. The process of creating these drinks is very similar work to that of a bartender, carefully mixing the right ingredients to make the perfect tasting outcome. The training to create a proficient soda jerk (an old term coined for these drink makers) is about two weeks. So suffice to say, the process isn't simple.
Drinking alcohol early in the day is not commonplace for most, so this idea is a family friendly way to get patrons through the doors interested in drinking non-alcoholic treats. Not to mention the idea of parents bringing their kids to a place they grew up loving.
“We wanted to get some families in here, and we’re open for lunch,” Nick Kosevich said, one of the owners of Eat Street Social. “Plus, we’re finding that a lot of people who want the bar experience don’t want to drink alcohol all night. They might have a couple of drinks and then switch to sodas.”
On top of the old time sodas, patrons can get quite a trip down memory lane visiting places like Lynden’s Soda Fountain. The interior is decorated much like a 1950’s diner and features a wall of candy from the day, and even features a refurbished soda fountain dispenser to make the drinks.
“When I found a 1950s soda fountain for sale, I became determined to do something crazy,” John Lynden said, owner of Lynden's Soda Fountain. “Life is so rushed these days. I want people who come in here to slow down a bit, to sit at the counter and get that experience back.”
You hear older generations of people saying things like “Life is rushed today” quite often. Back then you sat down to enjoy a soda and an experience, now people consume it at all times of the day, in excess and oftentimes on the go or at a fast food restaurant. This is not only a throwback to the days of old, but the drinks have more personality than the big business mass produced sodas on the market today.