May 29 — “In this place…”
When I turned 21, my late Auntie Annie (my mom’s twin sister) took me on a road trip to Reno. She said that she wanted to be the first one to take me gambling. While it wasn’t a Thelma and Louise trip exactly, we did have our fun moments! Like the gas station attendant (yes, they still pumped your gas for you in those days) who went absolutely crazy about my aunt’s name! As he handed her her credit card he said, “Antoinette! What a beautiful name. I’ve never heard that before! Antoinette!” We had a good laugh about that for years!
About halfway up the highway, just outside of Auburn, California, she introduced me to one of her favorite stops, Lou LaBonte’s.
Auntie Annie was a waitress her late husband, Uncle Johnny, had been a bartender so they were quite familiar with many great places and this one was no exception. It was established in 1946 and had a rich history. It’s owner was a musical arranger from Hollywood and the walls had pictures of some of the famous people who had been there. It was a great experience for me and one I remembered quite fondly.
So much so that from then on, every time I went to Lake Tahoe or Reno, a stop at Lou’s was always made, both going up and coming back. We even stopped with the children a few times, especially when our eldest moved to Reno for a few years. We were almost regulars!
Our eyes went wide in disbelief. How could they close this wonderful, historic restaurant? Without asking us? Without sending us a notice to visit it one last time? What were we going to do? Where could I get my fizz? The only other places close by were fast food type or Denny’s.
I find it quite ironic that the new place will be named “Awful Annie’s!” Wonder if MY Auntie Annie is having a laugh. Pretty sure they won’t be serving fizzes, though. We’ll have to do some research to find another place to stop on our trips. Any suggestions?