AP NEWS

Frostop celebrates 60 years in business

May 28, 2019

HUNTINGTON — After 60 years of car-side serving homemade root beer and hotdogs with a perfected sauce, it’s safe to say the rotating root beer float on Hal Greer Boulevard is a verified Huntington landmark.

Frostop Drive-In celebrated its 60th anniversary in Huntington on Monday with a day-long party at the restaurant featuring past employees, cake and commemorative mugs, which were given to every customer.

The Huntington Frostop is just one of 13 remaining stands in the country. The drive-in was first opened in the 1930s in Ohio and spread to over 300 at its height in the 1950s.

Brothers Rupert McGinnis and Bill Warnock opened the Huntington staple in 1959. After McGinnis’ death in 1980, his widow, Marion McGinnis, purchased the business from Warnock. After her death in 1996, the restaurant got passed to sisters Marilyn McGinnis Murdock and Bing McGinnis Murphy, who have run the joint ever since.

Growing up, the sisters said they didn’t spend as much time at the restaurant as one might think, as their dad did not permit them to work there, nor did he hire any women.

“We always stopped when we were out so dad could check on it,” Murdock said. “We’d stay in the car, but if he came out and called us, we knew that meant there were mugs to wash.”

Murphy recalled before the grand opening, her mother and aunt worked tirelessly to perfect the sauce. They had to taste all the versions. The final recipe is still in use today.

Murphy said the secret to a long-lasting business is tradition, community support and great employees. The current manager has been with Frostop for 35 years and the assistant manager for 10.

“It really makes a difference when you have employees like that to help,” Murdock said.

Tony Stroud, an attorney with BrickStreet Insurance, worked at Frostop from 1982 to 1987. He returned to the pavement Monday, zipping across the parking lot to deliver orders to customers’ windows.

“I’m a little more tired than I was then,” he said with a laugh.

Stroud said the McGinnises are like a second family to him. He paid his way through college working at the restaurant and his connections with the family helped get him into law school.

Though, on his first day on the job, he thought he was fired.

“They decided to play a prank on me because I was the new guy,” Stroud recalled. “They put a five gallon bucket of water above the back door. Well, Mrs. McGinnis was on her way back from the beauty shop. They had sent me out to clean the bathrooms while they rigged up this water. Well, she pulled in before I came back in, so she opened the door and all this water got her drenched. I thought I was fired my first week. She came in, she sat down in the back, smoked a cigarette, didn’t talk to anybody, got in her car and left. I understand that she laughed about it later.”

Stroud’s daughter now works in the kitchen.

Frostop is located at 1449 Hal Greer Blvd., near Cabell Huntington Hospital. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press.All rights reserved.