Soda Fountain of Our Youth at Thomas Drugs in Cross Plains
Thomas Drugs gives customers a glimpse into the past, offering an experience likened to one found in Andy Griffith’s Mayberry.
“We try to keep things as authentic as possible,” says Debbie Green, who owns Thomas Drugs with her husband, Dan. “I think when you walk in the drugstore, you feel it. It has a certain ambiance about it that kind of takes you back.”
The Dish on Thomas Drugs
Location: 7802 Hwy. 25 E., Cross Plains, TN 37049
Hours: Soda Fountain – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday; Grill – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
Phone Number: (615) 654-3877
Located in Cross Plains (about 30 miles north of Nashville off of Interstate 65), Thomas Drugs has been a pharmacy since 1930, and Dan has been the pharmacist there for 40 years. The restaurant portion of the 100-year-old building, which Debbie describes as an old-time soda fountain, opened in 1991. A true husband-and-wife team, Dan manages the pharmacy, while Debbie handles the soda fountain.
“It’s just a mom-and-pop place,” Debbie says. “I think it’s cool, in this day and age, that you can go into a business and the people who own it are there to serve you. Plus, we’ve been serving the community for so long that it really feels like the natural place for us to be.”
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Thomas Drugs exudes old-fashioned charm with black-and-white-checkered floors and red stools lining the lunch counter. While the pharmacy uses the latest technology, the soda fountain uses what Debbie calls “traditional” methods to serve customers. Each soda is handmade, with the syrup and the carbonated soda water mixed together on an order-by-order basis.
The soda fountain’s grill menu, served only during weekday lunch hours, features classic sandwiches, including a BLT made with fresh bacon, and each meal is served with chips and a pickle. Aside from sodas, drinks include regular and salty lemonade, as well as milkshakes, malts and floats made with real ice cream. Customers can also satisfy a craving for sweets with treats like sundaes, banana splits and scoops of ice cream.
“We use Purity ice cream,” Debbie says. “When you have a milkshake with real ice cream, you can sure tell the difference.”
In addition to its many regulars, the soda fountain draws travelers who make a point to stop and eat there year after year. Even local students who leave the area for college come back on breaks to enjoy lunch or grab a snack while catching up with old friends.
“It’s a good place to meet friends – everybody knows your name,” Debbie says. “And if I don’t know your name, I probably know what you like to eat when you walk in.”