In the sweltering humidity of a Midwest summer, the Wilton Candy Kitchen is a welcome reprieve. A small-town business in a small-town state, it is in fact the oldest ongoing ice cream parlor and soda fountain in the world- originally established in 1860 and run by the same family since 1909.
Stepping inside made me feel like a 10-year-old kid in 1950s suburbia. The shop worker smiled and waited patiently as I sat at the bar and peered over the counter, eagerly trying to glimpse my ice cream choices.
Sodas, sundaes, and malts: I wanted to try everything. Eventually I settled on the root beer soda, because what could be more quintessential about a small-town childhood?
A transplant from the Midwest to the East Coast, that soda definitely took me back.