For the next stop on our trip to Memphis via US-72, we visited what is probably the oldest business that we have ever featured at our blog, eclipsing even Payne’s in Scottsboro AL. Borroum’s Drug Store opened in 1865, and moved to its present home across from the Alcorn County Courthouse in 1873. The owners still dispense prescriptions and sundries today, though the attraction for out-of-towners, of course, is their soda fountain.
The attraction for this out-of-towner happens to be their slugburger. I’ve only found one of these that I’ve actually and honestly enjoyed – at C.F. Penn – but I do like trying these where I can and comparing the styles. Borroum’s slugburger is thicker than the disk-like patty at Corinth’s White Trolley, but it has a crispy shell around its chewy innards. To be honest, I did not like this one bit, but that’s okay, because we all liked pretty much everything else about Borroum’s a whole lot.
Change comes very, very slowly to Borroum’s, as the family, now on its seventh generation of ownership, rightly realizes that people come here for the time capsule experience. These days, the soda fountain uses Blue Bell Ice Cream, but the old block lettering reading Swift’s, a much earlier vendor, remains on the wall. Marie had a chocolate-banana milkshake, which the staff makes using freshly-sliced bananas.
My daughter ordered a pimento cheese sandwich, which is one of her favorite foods. She’d probably pass up oxygen in favor of more pimento cheese, which is some evidence that I might be raising her correctly. She ordered a surprising treat to go along with it: a watermelon limeade. Hold the phone, everybody. We’ve found the best drink in the whole world.
It’s always a rare treat to have a freshly-made drink from limes that are sliced, squeezed, and given a few jerks of soda water right in front of you, and this limeade was indeed as good as any I’ve ever had. But they also offer a watermelon elixir which my daughter ordered with her sandwich. She passed me her glass for a sip and I asked for another one of those in a cup to take with me. Oh, this was so delicious. I would love for some place much closer to us to offer this drink. (Note: Since writing this, it came to our attention that the Sonic Drive-In chain also makes a watermelon limeade. It’s not bad, to be sure, but it is a pale shadow, a sad imitation of the amazing drink that Borroum’s offers.)
Borroum’s is a very popular place, and even after one on a Wednesday, the place was bustling and busy and the staff was working very hard to clean the tables and turn them over for more families and groups. I bet that on Fridays and Saturdays it is really swamped, They close pretty early, so plan ahead and give yourself some time to walk around the courthouse square. Since US-72 is a mile or so south of the square, it’s easy for travelers passing through to miss just how attractive this small city really is, but it is definitely worth a look.
Other blog posts about Borroum’s Drug Store:
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