Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow
Now The Wrapping Begins

I Doubt They'll Have a Drive-In Though

When I was a kid, our go-to restaurant was the Hot Shoppes. Hot Shoppes was a DC institution, founded by J. Willard Marriott in the 1920s. It was a both a drive-in and a sit-down place, just perfect for families and teens on dates.

There were two near our house. Both featured a drive in, where you parked your car next to the speaker, pushed the button, placed your order, and waited for the waitress to bring out the tray and hook it over the door. It was a lot like today's Sonic.

We enjoyed that feature as kids -- I mean, eating in the car! How cool!

As we, or rather, my parents, got older, we ate in the dining room more often. You filled out the order slip yourself and gave it to the waitress. The food was good, filling, and cheap; three attributes that pleased my Pop. The onion rings were the best I have ever had, bar none.

The menu featured several special items. Three spring to mind: the Mighty Mo, the Teen Twist, and the Orange Freeze. The Mighty Mo was a precursor of the Big Mac: a triple hamburger with all the fixings, including a secret sauce. The Teen Twist was -- I think -- a cold cut sandwich on a twisted sesame roll. The Orange Freeze was a fabulous drink made from orange sherbet. It was the best thing in the world on a hot summer day!

The last Hot Shoppes closed in 1999. I've remembered it fondly ever since, especially when I eat onion rings.

But here's a Christmas miracle! Today I learned that Marriott is bringing Hot Shoppes back!!

Of course, it's going to be in a Marriott hotel, but that's okay. It won't open until 2014, but I can wait. It's going to be near the convention center, but that's near a Metro stop.

I'll have my order ready: a Mighty Mo, onion rings, and a vanilla milkshake. Unless it's summer, then it's Orange Freeze all the way.