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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lunch Report: Olmos Pharmacy...

My wife and I are still playing catch-up after our long weekend in Florida last week, so the thought of going beyond the general area of home seemed out of the question - until my wife mentioned knocking the Olmos Pharmacy off of our list of places we need to eat. So, what the heck, off we went!If you are familiar with the McCullough - Hildebrand part of town, you know exactly where Olmos Pharmacy has been, for many, many years. I love that entire area and occasionally will take a drive through there when coming from my downtown office. In spite of driving past the place numerous times, I just never stopped in. So today, we took care of that.We sort of expected to see a pharmacy inside of Olmos Pharmacy; wouldn't you? Instead, it was just a diner complete with a long bar with stools for folks to sit up at the counter. I trust that the pharmacy part closed a while back but the milkshakes and malts were enough to warrant keeping the soda fountain part of the store open.Instead of sitting at the counter, we opted for a booth so we could sit back and take it all in. Like some of the other diners we have visited in town, there is this genuine feeling of near time-travel back to an earlier time. Does that even make sense? I mean, couldn't an architect with a few drawings taken from an old Life Magazine simply recreate the 1950's experience? I suppose, but when I sat down in the cushioned booth we were seated in, I swear it felt like years and years worth of peoples butts had softened the cushions. And it felt pretty good!

There is nothing special about the place unless you count the history and the fact that they have been around for so long. In other words, don't go expecting some special, elegant or super fancy diner; it is what it is and for us, that was good enough.
My wife ordered a burger which comes with Ruffles chips. It wasn't jumbo sized but neither was the price. She was more than pleased with it and even did a little bit of the Happy Dance at one point.I opted for a patty melt on rye bread. Not bad at all. The sandwich was certainly enough, and chips versus fries was actually a good idea since we both ordered Malts.

If you haven't read a reason to make a visit to Olmos Pharmacy up until now, I understand. But if you have ever enjoyed a shake or a malt, I think you will find the trip very worthwhile, if only to experience one of these. I ordered chocolate and my wife got the strawberry.
When our waitress brought them out, they were served in the actual mixing cups. This seemed highly unusual to me. We both sort of looked at one another wondering what the protocol is for getting the malt from the mixing cup to the mouth. There were straws at the table, but this was really thick. Then the waitress came back and brought long spoons and asked us if we wanted whipped cream. We both nodded yes and she brought us these small cups filled about quarter full with the whipped cream.In looking around, we also noticed several other folks pouring their shakes or malts into the smaller cups, and we were then sufficiently educated enough to proceed. Good Lord; you can't take us anywhere fancy.

One note - if you are eating lunch and you want to order a shake or malt, they are big enough and filling enough that you could easily share one between two people - assuming you can agree on the flavor.
One final note. We noticed that on some of the signage outside, they referred to it as Olmos Bharmacy (as in "Bar"). And, behind where we were seated, there was a fully stocked bar. I didn't ask, but I got the distinct feeling that when the milkshakes and malts shutdown, the beer and bourbon opens up. Who knows?

Have you been to Olmos Pharmacy - or Bharmacy? Were you there when GW Bush visited? Tell me about it or leave a comment here.


M2 said...


We stopped by there a few weekends ago but the rest of the family decided they wanted to go to Augies instead. For everything I have heard about the place, it wasn’t that visually appealing. You have to make the trip up to Fredericksburg and eat at the Airport Diner, that is more satisfying both to the eye and the stomach. And Augies was its usually excellent self!

And the “Bharmacy” does turn into a bar in the evenings, which is where I suspect they make most of their profit. Also, did you notice the misspelling on the clock above the entrance? It says “Olomos” and apparently it’s been that way for a while.

Cheers! M2

Dave said...

Yes, the Airport Diner is of course, on our list. After your fine report over on CD, how could we not want to go?

Funny, I hadn't even noticed the misspelled "Olomos" on the sign. I guess once it was up, they figured it wasn't worth changing.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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