Midwest Living Review
Owners Paul and Sarah Krumsieg brought their Chicago sensibilities and tastes to this classic soda fountain along the brick street of historic Lebanon in southwest Illinois (23 miles east of St. Louis). That means you can sit on a red vinyl stool at the old-time counter and order a genuine Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich with hand-cut French fries on the side. Of course, you can have an old-time chocolate shake with that. Hardly anyone (six people in the eight years they've owned the place, Paul says) overcomes the shop's ultimate challenge, the Ice Cream Overdose, 12 scoops of as many flavors ($23.99). Finish it, and it's free! The shop complete, with a vintage player piano and a wooden phone booth with a working phone. Paul says the soda fountain is the oldest in the country, dating to 1887. In those days, it was part of an even-older pharmacy, and people ordered sodas for their supposed health benefits. That's the sort of background you learn in the soda jerk school included with a stay in the sleekly decorated B&B upstairs (leather furniture; flat screen). Guests also learn to make the ice cream creation of their dreams. Egg cream, anyone?