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I was in Irving for my niece’s 6th birthday party at Incredible Pizza Company. That put me a few miles from Big State Drug in the Irving Texas Heritage District. The miracle in this story is that I remembered the place was there and that I wanted to go see it.

I got off Highway 183 at Irving Blvd, which is highway 356, by the way, drove along for a while and came to the Irving Heritage District. Have to admit I didn’t know it was there. It’s the old part of Irving Texas where the town was founded. The Heritage District is an interesting side story, but your going to have to write that chapter yourself. They have a web site if you are interested.

Big State Drug is at the intersection of Main Street and Irving Boulevard, one block from the birthplace of Irving. The place has been in busienss since 1948. The red and blue neon signs outside was a pleasant surprise. Once inside, the place said 1950’s to me. Big State Drug hasn’t changed much. That’s on purpose they told me and they intend to keep the place just like it is for a while longer. Business in the pharmacy is good plus they sell over the counter remedies and home medical equipment. Kind of like an old drug store if you can remember that far back.

What I went there for in the first place was the soda fountain. They make ice cream confections with Blue Bell Ice Cream and do quite a lot of breakfast and lunch business. The place has a real vintage feel. I’m not a real big fan of fancy and this place isn’t. It is a classic old lunch counter. They have the counter with old fashioned round stools and booths on both sides–with purple upholstery no less.

Big State seems to have a lot of regular customers that know each other and like to visit. Sheryl, my waitress, claimed to have worked there for 10 years. The cook, Leland, has 8 years to his credit. I noticed a 2006 article from D-Magazine on the wall, framed, giving him the nod for outstanding chili in the DFW Metroplex.

The atmosphere was friendly but not intrusive. None of that cheery crap like at franchised places. Just the important stuff: Is your food good? Do you need anything? You know, real service, not some crap cooked up by the marketing department at the corporate office in New Jersey. And, yes the food was good.

Go see the old neon signs. Eat if you’re hungry. Look around for a few minutes in the Heritage District. Enjoy the uniqueness of the moment. On most days, that’s as good as it gets.


100 E Irving Blvd
Irving, TX 75060

County: Dallas


Copyright © 2009 by Sam Fenstermacher
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