Pal’s Sudden Service, Kingsport TN

Pal’s Sudden Service is known as a drive-thru fast food place. In fact, the small chain is the industry leader in speed, efficiency, and accuracy in its drive-thru. But before it started putting its brand together and constructing identical buildings – beautifully oddball, but identical – it opened a store in Kingsport that is nothing like the others, and that’s the one we went to visit.

After Marie and our son finished breakfast at Old Lighthouse in Bristol, we drove south on US-11W for about twenty miles to the city of Kingsport, giving me the chance to consider just how much I like this part of the country. I love having three medium-sized cities with about twenty miles between them. The combined population of the Tri-Cities, including all the surrounding towns, comes to a little over half a million people, and there are some great little restaurants up here. There are also a few that weren’t open yet and we couldn’t try, but some of these, like the Purple Cow, demanded that we stop for a photo.

At any rate, we got to this unusual Pal’s location – the second in the chain – which does not have a drive-thru at all! Guests need to park and come inside to order. There are a few picnic tables out front, where we sat under the watchful eyes of an old, repurposed Michelin man.

Two years ago, we visited one of the drive-thru Pal’s in Johnson City, and I wasn’t all that impressed with the food. I said, then, that I’d like to visit this particular Pal’s and try the chipped ham sandwich. That’s exactly what I did, and I really enjoyed it!

This was a splendid little breakfast. I really enjoyed the ham, and of course those seasoned “Frenchie” fries were my favorite thing from my previous visit to a Pal’s. If we lived in the Tri-Cities, this would definitely be my fast food choice, and I say that especially loudly because they have Dr. Enuf in their soda fountain!

If you’ve never tried Dr. Enuf, you’re probably in the majority of drinkers. You can find it here and there around Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Asheville, but it’s said to be available at just about every gas station and grocery store in the Tri-Cities. We even saw a Dr. Enuf vending machine on our last trip through town! It’s a lemon-lime drink, not unlike 7Up, but with a stronger citrus flavor and both ginger and ginseng. In fact, it was designed in 1949 to have lots of vitamins and minerals as an alternative to just empty calories. The previous evening, I’d picked up a couple of bottles of Cherry Dr. Enuf from a convenience store, but I certainly was not expecting to find it in the soda fountain along with Coke. As I often say, we very rarely order sodas in restaurants, but I’m perfectly prepared to make an exception for something unusual and unique like this.

The partnership between Pal’s and Dr. Enuf, both of which were “born” in the Tri-Cities, is an awesome one, and it makes me so happy to see this sort of thing. I love to see local restaurants partnering with breweries and soda companies in their area and will always take time to let readers know about it when I see it.

Pal’s Sudden Service
1316 Lynn Garden Dr
Kingsport, TN 37665


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