Forget Buc-ee’s. Stuckey’s is still my roadside stop of choice


In the mid-’70s, there were 368 Stuckey’s stores around the country. COURTESY OF STUCKEY’S CORPORATION

From Atlanta Magazine: The year I spent in New York City in the early ’70s taught me almost nothing about America. Entranced by a huge city that, like my own, offered constant stimulation, I functioned very much like a Parisian: pounding the pavement, looking at stuff I couldn’t afford and restaurants I dreamed of. I’d been seduced by the life of the West Village, but I eventually ditched the man who had brought me there and married another, who was on his way to Atlanta to study law.

Moving to a Southern city was an unexpected and profound culture shock. Bit by bit, I discovered my new country. Road trips with my young husband and, subsequently, with my friend Bill Cutler, who wrote a column for the iconic monthly Brown’s Guide to Georgia, opened up another world. Where I come from, we don’t have roadside attractions. We don’t snack constantly. Foodstuffs such as divinity fudge and pecans, the only nut indigenous to North America, are unheard of.

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Booth where Tony Soprano may – or may not – have been whacked sells for a cool $82K to mystery buyer


Ron Stark, co-owner of Holsten’s, the Bloomfield N.J. ice cream parlor and restaurant where the final scene of The Sopranos TV series was filmed, sits on March 5, 2024, at a recreation of the booth where Tony Soprano may or may not have met his end. The day before, the original booth used in the show was was sold in an online auction for $82,600 to a buyer that wishes to remain anonymous. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

From the Associated Press: BLOOMFIELD, N.J. — The ice cream parlor booth where Tony Soprano may or may not have been whacked has sold for more than $82,000.

As Tony would say, Madone!

An anonymous buyer bid $82,600 Monday night in an online auction for the piece of memorabilia that occupies an outsize role in the lore of the award-winning HBO series— particularly because it was where the New Jersey mob boss was sitting when the series ended by cutting to black, outraging many viewers and claiming a place in TV history.

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A piece of local oil history donated to Santa Paula, California


The headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California, founded in Santa Paula, California, in 1890, occupied the second floor of this building. A hardware store and post office were located on the first floor.

From Chevron: Chevron has donated the building that housed the former headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California to the city of Santa Paula, which will use grant money included as part of the donation to rehabilitate a piece of the city’s history.

“Acquiring this piece of local history is a major win for our community, and we are looking forward to restoring operations for our residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Mayor Leslie Cornejo.

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Auction for prime Las Vegas Strip land (and its pink elephant) opens


A pink elephant statue is seen at the Diamond Inn Motel on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Madeline Carter/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal: You have a chance to own a piece of the Las Vegas Strip, if you have millions of dollars lying around.

An auction for 1.36 acres of land on the south side of Las Vegas’ famed tourist corridor opened on Thursday. The land houses the now closed Diamond Inn Motel and its eye-catching pink elephant statue, which is included in the auction listing.

The starting bid for the land is $12.5 million, according to the J.P. King Auction Company’s website. As of Thursday morning, there weren’t any bids on the land, which is across the street from Mandalay Bay and near a proposed expansion site of the Boring Company’s Vegas loop.

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City leaders discuss future of Warm Mineral Springs Park


From WFLA: NORTH PORT, Fla. — Warm Mineral Springs Park in North Port is the state’s only warm mineral spring. The site draws visitors from around the globe to the area.

During Hurricane Ian, historic buildings on the property were significantly damaged. Tuesday, city leaders discussed whether to restore those structures or demolish them.

They have an existing $8.5 million budget set aside for the site, but many commissioners indicated that figure just isn’t enough to restore the structures and build a new building for admissions, restrooms, and showers for visitors.

“We are trying so hard to do the right thing. Stuff is just so expensive today,” said Commissioner Barbara Langdon.

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Chicago Café: California’s oldest Chinese restaurant


Paul and Nancy Fong in the kitchen at the Chicago Café (Jose Alfonso Perez/UC Davis)

From the Daily Democrat: A step into Woodland, California’s, Chicago Café is an immediate leap into the past.

Customers sit on black swivel stools at a classic diner counter enjoying $12 combination plates heaped with chow mein, pork fried rice, fried shrimp and egg foo young (hot tea and fortune cookie included — cash only).

Regulars know to enter the shotgun-layout restaurant through the kitchen in back, where boisterous café owner Paul Fong, 75, greets customers before turning back to cook alongside his wife, Nancy, 67.

Their lone employee, server Dianna Olstad, 57, delivers iced water to tables in throwback red plastic tumblers, sprinkles “honeys” and “sweeties” like salt and pepper, and good-naturedly chides customers who go too long between visits to the café.

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