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This soda fountain has old favorites and a few surprises on its menu

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Ice cream companies support the U.S. by providing jobs, money and a sweet treat.
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Ice cream companies support the U.S. by providing jobs, money and a sweet treat.

If you have a nostalgic bone in your body, you are going to love the newly re-opened Lovelace Drugstore and Soda Fountain in Ocean Springs. Plenty of small towns in the South have an old soda fountain, frequently in a drugstore on the town square. In fact, that pairing has been popular since the 1880s and has been the gathering place for young folks well into the middle of the 20th century.

The Lovelace Soda Fountain has all the accouterments that you might expect. A bright red countertop, red tables and chairs, and chrome counter stools, topped with red upholstery, offset by black and white checkered floors. This is about as 1950s as you can get.

The menu includes lots of old favorites, but it also includes upgrades for today’s tastes. Perhaps the most obvious change is the inclusion of more than two dozen espresso and brews; in fact, manager Kelley Triplett has 10 years’ experience as a barista. Check out the fancy espresso machine behind the counter, and you will agree this place is serious about good coffee.

Now don’t get the idea that this soda fountain is some fancy fusion place where you can get lemongrass, turmeric and pumpkin spice everything. Want an old school cherry Coke (16 oz, $1.85 plus 25 cents for the cherry)? No problem. There is a nice breakfast menu, a good assortment of sandwiches and hot dogs, plus a whole world of ice cream, milkshakes, floats and sundaes.

One of my weaknesses is a good chocolate milkshake and the one I had at Lovelace ($4 and $5) was rich and creamy and I drank it so fast I suffered the dreaded brain freeze, but it was well worth it. In fact, it was one of the best shakes I have had in years. I am also a hot dog fan and went for the Cuban dog ($4.75). The hot dog had a nice snap to it and was made even better with Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. It would be hard to leave this place without trying a sundae, and the Elvis ($5.50) was way too tempting to turn down. Served in a classic sundae glass bowl, and more than enough for two, this beauty was loaded with peanut butter, bananas, vanilla ice cream, and, amazingly, caramel and candied bacon bits. Get ready for a sugar rush!

The good folks of Ocean Springs have been waiting for three years for Lovelace to reopen, and the reception has been grand. Locals and visitors are standing in line to sit at the counter or gather with their friends in the candy red booths. For some it’s a trip down memory lane, for others it’s a new experience.

Ocean Springs has a lot to offer, with some of the most interesting culinary adventures to be found on the Coast, and Lovelace Soda Fountain is going to rank at the top of that list for a long time to come. Located in the very heart of town, at the intersection of Washington and Government, Lovelace is, once again, the place to be.

Lovelace Drugstore and Soda Fountain

Where: 801 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs

Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Phone: 228-818-5111