First, let me explain why I was traveling along Hwy. 70 this week. Each year I go to Columbia, MO, in February along with family members for the conferring of the Gov. Mel Carnahan Public Service Award.
This year the selection committee chose Dana Tippin Cutler, a Kansas City attorney currently the first African American woman to be President of the Missouri Bar Association. The student Graduate Fellowship went to Army Capt. Erik Anthes, an Iraqi war veteran, who has been an effective advocate for Missouri student-veterans. Congratulations to both of them for embodying the true spirit of public service.
But this being a food blog, I have to tell you about a stop we made on the way from St. Louis to Columbia.
A Stop Along the Way
I was traveling with my son, Russ. I knew he’d want to buy gas in Williamsburg. a small town 18 miles out of Fulton. The big tourist attraction there is Crane’s Country Store, an old landmark that first opened its doors in 1899. To get there, we left Hwy. 70 at Exit 161 and drove north for about a half mile.
Today Crane’s is in its “new” location, one that they moved to in 1926. A hint of their varied merchandise is wrapped into the store’s slogan: “Boots, Bullets, Britches and Bologna.” They sell all that and more, including Carhartt jeans, Wolverine boots, and Mizzou paraphernalia.
Most intriguing is their famous food special: The “1-Meat, 1-Cheese, $2-Sandwich,” that comes on white bread with mayo and mustard. (You can shave a dollar off the price if your meat selection is bologna or a straight up peanut butter and jelly.)
Gas, Food, and a History Showcase
For a few moments of nostalgia, you can sit around the wood stove and “swap lies” with the locals or take a chair on the porch next to the doghouse and listen to the traffic passing on the nearby highway. Whatever you do, be sure to note the vintage Anheuser-Busch advertising poster of Custer’s Last Fight.
As Russ filled the car from their one gas pump, he noted that Crane’s is the only place he knows of where you fill your car with gas and then walk inside to pay.
Next door to the store is Crane’s Museum and Shoppes, that was opened in 2004 by the owners to show off the family’s collection of odds and ends. The 5000-square-foot space houses an historic barber shop, gas station, school room, home and farm items and Native America artifacts, as wells as retail shops and Marlene’s Restaurant.
This place is a great highway rest stop. If you’re wanting a step back in time and a $2 sandwich, you can’t beat Crane’s.
Crane’s Country Store, 10675 Old US Hwy. 40, Williamsburg, MO (Exit 161 off Hwy. 70). Open Mon-Sat 8a-6p.