The Sno Cap Drive-In, located in North Augusta for over fifty years, and Fatman’s Cafe, located in Augusta for over sixty, have a lot in common. Both have very loyal fans, both serve up great food and nostalgia in equal doses, and both are now owned by the same family. Having purchased the restaurant last month, the Usry’s are already running the burger joint like they’ve been there forever.
With a kitchen smaller than yours, Havird seems very comfortable directing traffic during a recent lunch. We were curious about any changes to the menu long time fans of the restaurant can expect.
But first, about those two-way menu boards. Apparently, the cost to get the old system back up and running was a bit cost prohibitive, even with new owners willing to go the extra mile. “I could rewire the old system. I got a quote for that. That’d be about thirty-five grand. So I was like, ‘that’s out,” chuckled owner Havird Usry. Fifty year old technology for sixteen spaces. That is a bit much.
“I got another estimate on just an intercom system, the parts were around eight grand and another two grand to install it, so around ten grand. But it had to have someone with a headset on to operate it. So that was out.”
Squeezing through the cramped kitchen, Havird says they are changing a few things, then stops mid sentence to mention to an employee “You need to get some cold water on those” as he passes a clear container filled with fresh cut french fries, then picks right back up where he left off.
“Lanier’s is grinding my meat for me, the blend I want. We’ll still be doing the steamed buns with the old school steamer, works like a champ. I did go to all beef hotdogs, and we’re grilling them instead of having them floating in water all day. All the desserts are staying the same except for the rootbeer floats. They were using Barq’s and I wanted to go with Red Hare, which is brewed with pure cane sugar. We should have a keg of that in Wednesday.”
But back to the menu boards out front. “I talked to some guys right outside of Chicago who just re-did one (an old drive-in restaurant). He said we just have a toggle switch outside that lights up a light inside and we just have one girl who just flies between cars taking orders all day.
So, Hav decided to just have a server work the covered car park area.
“I have pretty much all of this out here rewired. They’re all wired, the lights are working, and I have the plexi glass to drop in this slot right here. And this switch right here just does a little buzz noise and lights up a number inside so we know which car to run out to with a handheld.”
They won’t order on this, they’ll order on the handheld which just shoots back to the kitchen.
“We just put everything into to go boxes ship it out the door. We’ll see what happens. We’re gonna give it a go.”
The new Sno Cap owners wanted to make sure and mention they are looking for some teenagers who want to work this summer. So if you would like to gain some restaurant experience from one of the most experienced restauranteurs in the CSRA, contact Havird Usry at firstname.lastname@example.org.