‘We offer a bit of nostalgia’
Rockin’ Relics is celebrating its 10th year as downtown Rugby’s authentic 1940’s soda fountain, diner and antique store.
The building has quite the history, beginning as Ellingson & Gronvold Hardware Store in the early 1900s. In 1929, the store was purchased and ran by Ed Hoff until he sold it to Melvin Presthus in 1959. Presthus Hardware stayed at the location until the 1980s.
Bonnie and Greg Berginski bought and began restoration of the store in 2004, opening it in 2006 to the public.
Since then, the establishment has become a place where both residents and visitors alike can come to enjoy the 1940s-like atmosphere, antiques, diner food and various drinks and desserts.
“We saw a need,” Bonnie said. “Area business people wanted lunches downtown. So we looked for an old soda fountain because we thought that would be kind of cool and would tie in with the antiques. The restaurant side grew bigger than the antique side, so that’s where we’re at today.”
Some of the restaurant’s most popular menu items include The Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire”, a turkey and bacon panini sandwich with pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo; The Hunka Hunka Melted Love”, a turkey and bacon panini sandwich with cheddar and Swiss cheeses; the Chubby Checker Panini, with turkey, ham, roast beef, peppered bacon, lettuce, tomato, choice of cheese and mayo or chipotle mayo; “The Dean Martin”, a turkey-bacon club with cheddar and Swiss cheeses, tomato and choice of honey dijon, ranch, mayo or chipotle mayo; the Southwest Chicken Wrap, filled with grilled chicken breast strips, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and Caesar or ranch dressing; and the Mexi-Ranch Salad, with grilled chicken breast strips, roasted onions and peppers, cheddar jack cheese, tomatoes and tortilla strips and served with salsa and “Mexi-Ranch” dressing.
Rockin’ Relics also serves burgers with a variety of toppings and breakfast sandwiches.
“The food here is delicious and of such good quality,” Rugby resident Caroline Doucette said while visiting the store. “They don’t use any of that cheap stuff.”
Rockin’ Relics has beat out their fry competition by introducing ‘air baked’ French fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings. The restaurant and store prides itself on being a “no added grease” establishment, using a hot air fryer instead of a grease fryer, which allows for people to enjoy a healthier alternative to foods that are often too high in cholesterol and fat.
Fresh soup is made every day, as well as desserts.
While the food may be popular, the drinks are even more so. Rockin’ Relics offers old-fashioned sodas, hand dipped malts and shakes, smoothies, lattes and more.
“We can make just about any type of drink. If we have the ingredients for it, we can make it,” Nancy Rameden, waitress, said. “All of our malts and shakes are fabulous.”
Rockin’ Relics also serves hard, hand-scooped ice cream; flavors change periodically.
The thing that attracts customers the most, however, is the restaurant’s atmosphere. Restored into a 1940s style diner, the retro vibe can be felt from the front door all the way to the back, where the original rope elevator still stands.
The original tiled ceiling is still intact, after restoration from water damage. Antiques line the walls, including jukeboxes and Coca-Cola machines. Years old Coca-Cola advertisements are hung as display pieces and antique coat racks, chairs and household items bring a yearning for times past.
“We offer a bit of nostalgia,” Bonnie said. “We’re a friendly place for people to meet. The thing that makes Rockin’ Relics special is the people that come through the door the regulars, who are there almost everyday, to the travelers entering for the first time.”
Rockin’ Relics is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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