It was a beautiful March morning leaving out from Nashville and heading to Lynville, TN. Four guys, four completely different styles of bikes, and a couple of hours enjoying the beautiful backroads of Tennessee. I always thought Soda Pop Junction was some fictitious town created for a 1950’s sitcom, but I was pleasantly surprised to be thrown back in time to a simpler era where good food, good friends, and open roads were in abundance.
Most of my riding adventures include a hearty plate of food, but most of the time the real adventure is the going and coming. Nature it is at its best at sixty miles an hour with the wind beating you in the face and bugs sticking to your teeth. While dinner is often the destination, its the journey that makes the experience worth living, but not on this day.
Soda Pop Junction thrust me back in time to those summer trips with my dad through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It reminded me of all the greasy spoon resteraunts and side trips along the mountain streams that filled my youth. There are lots of places you can order a cheeseburger, french fry, and coke (in a styrofoam cup), but today was different. I may have felt every one of the 56 years I had lived when I got off that bike, but when I bit into that greasy, juicy, messy burger I felt 15 again. Maybe it was the bar stools at the counter, or the memorabilia on the walls, but I really think it was something more – there was an authenticity to this place.
It wasn’t some restaurant chain trying to be a 50’s or 60’s diner. It wasn’t a pasted-on facade designed to make you think you had stepped back in time. It was more like a twilight zone episode the minute you walked in the door. The people, the cloths, every detail was authentic. The rush of a busy life melted away quicker than the butter splattered on a hot grill.
All the memories, the nostalgia, the best days of my youth make it impossible to adequately review the food and atmosphere at Soda Pop Junction. For a lot of people it may just be another burger joint in a small town in main street America, but for me the trip to Soda Pop Junction was a visceral experience. I’ve had the experience of reviewing diners and dives all around the world, but Soda Pop Junction was different. It beckons me to return, not for the food, or the cheesy gifts at the register – it calls me back to my youth, over and over again.