Our History

The year was 1965.  Larry Melancon, a retail jeweler and partner of Wethered-Rice Jewelry Store decided to change directions in his career.  He purchased the A & W Drive-In at the corner of Clio and Pierson Rds. in Flint, Michigan.  After pooling together all of the money that he had and borrowing on his life insurance policy he was now ready to open.  He had never prepared a hotdog or drawn a glass of root beer.  The date was April 1st and the joke was on him.  Flint experienced one of its biggest snowstorms and the opening was delayed until Friday the 13th.  Larry had been near broke before but never with a wife and 5 children.  He was down to his last $50 on opening day, and that money was used to make change.  The A & W franchise had been purchased from Herb Herdrich. The Menu consisted of hotdogs, root beer and popcorn.  The hotdogs used were the famous Kogel hotdogs made by a local firm with a German ancestry.  Mr. Herdrich ask Larry to never reveal the ingredients of the red sauce that he had perfected from a previous receipt.  The red sauce is a taste, complemented by the root beer, which many locals enjoy.  The elder Mr. Kogel enjoyed telling the story about the young man that stopped selling diamonds to sell his hotdogs.  When Larry went into the new business, his wife Chris said "OK but don't expect me to be there".  Not many days passed before the phone rang and it was Larry saying "I need help".  Chris then stood by his side on the night shift for many years until one day Scott suggested to his Dad that he had too many bosses and maybe Mother would enjoy staying home now.  With God's blessings and protection the Melancon Family remained on Clio Rd. until 1998.  Many of the area's young people experienced their first job working for Larry.  A favorite pastime of the young people in the '60s, '70s and into the '80s was cruising from drive-in to drive-in.  Showing off their cars and meeting up with their friends.  In 1970 an additional restaurant was built in Flushing, Michigan.  This restaurant had a more expanded menu and was eventually open year round.  The Clio road store had been a seasonal 7 mo. operation.  Flushing was managed by some family members in the beginning and then eventually sold to son Rob.  The restaurant has now gone independent as the Flushing A and is owned by son Scott.  Still serving the same delicious red sauce hotdogs and many other favorites.  Where is Larry now?  Still active showing up as maintenance man and every week cleaning those root beer lines to keep that clean fresh taste.