Rob Hepworth, a former PE guy who now lives in Vancouver with his wife Rochelle and their kids, saw my post on the closure of Something Good and sent me this e-mail ....
"I happened to stumble across your article on Road Houses earlier today and it got me thinking …this is not just PE, but other places too.
Growing up in Uitenhage, we had a die-hard entrepreneur called Harry Panagis, who had the only roadhouse called “Harry’s Road House” out near Willow Dam.
It seemed to outlast many other business ventures over the next 30 years, but I believe it may still be there today, if only by the grace of God.
Surviving fires, break-ins, name changes, various business directions (Pan Handle / Disco)…even outlasting “little Bess”, the steam train and the Putt-Putt - across the road.
I remember the PE road houses a lot better. During my national service, and brief stint at UPE, I ended up supporting Casbah (Formerly the “SugarBush Wimpy), who was famous for their R1,25 burger, dubbed the “pets-mince burger”….long before Something Good changed that perspective.
While working at HAL Fennel, York Road, I used to support Westees, then legendary for their Venison Pies (that contained raisins) and their Strawberry Cheesecake. Pity to see them go.
I also remember “Palms Road House” near the Humewood Golf Club that , as you mentioned, has been reduced to a hole with a view.
That said, Vancouver has the same problem, I have noticed that most of the road houses here have been reduced to take-out fast food outlets. There was one, and I think the only one left, in Burnaby, called the “The 50’s Diner”, where you got served from your car, old style greasy food etc…but have noticed that they are hardly open any more.
The massive American food chain called “Allen & Wright”, now “A&W” (The Root Beer Kings) are everywhere and started out as a real road house, but have entirely changed direction, and are as unique as KFC, Wendy’s and McDonalds.
The only option left are the “White Spot” chain of restaurants, which have some locations that serve you roadhouse style, complete with the long board that gets clipped into your car from the inside (window to window) – an awesome experience, especially for South African visitors.
One aspect that has never changed, and remains constant, is the crappy service !!!
I’ll never forget The Red Windmill having that “FLICK YOUR LIGHTS FOR SERVICE” neon sign…and having a bus full of Woodridge pupils point out that the black paint on the neon tube, between the L and I, had been worn off, enough for the instruction to be changed to ”F*CK YOUR LIGHTS……”
Thanks for the article and the memories.
Thanks Rob, I'd almost forgotten the Sugarbush, but who can ever forget that neon sign!
St Mary's front on Govan Mbeki Road
6 days ago