ORIGINAL STORY: The A&W Restaurant, 3751 S. 27th St., will serve its last root beer float via a car hop service on Sunday. But its new location, which won’t have a car hop, will be located on the west side of I-94 just east of the expressway next to the Pilot gas station and will re-open soon. Owners Sharon and Frank Welch don’t have a set opening date since construction is still going on at the new place. The restaurant had to relocate to Caledonia because of the new interchange being built at Highway K and Interstate 94.The restaurant makes its own root beer and was one of the oldest drive-in restaurants in the area. While the new restaurant won’t have a drive-in car hop service, the new restaurant will have a front patio and a picnic area so the outdoor dining experience isn’t completely a thing of the past. The couple has owned the business since 1974, said they’ve known about the road construction since 1995, but the DOT changed the plans in 2007 and those changes would have negatively impacted their business. So they decided to move the business to Caledonia. The move represents a fresh start for their son Philip, who will be the third generation to own the business. Philip, who quit his job as a software engineer, is spearheading the building project by going to all of the lawyer appointments, Sharon said. This isn’t the first time the restaurant has had to be relocated. Franklin and Dorothy Welch, Frank’s parents, started running the first A&W Restaurant in 1954, which had been located off of the Highway K exit. Their home and a tavern were also located on the property. But when the Interstate was built in 1958, they had to relocate the restaurant to its current location. But it’s always been in Raymond and it’s the oldest restaurant in Raymond – until now.
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