Twin Kiss marks 50 years of good eats in Quincy

September 30, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

QUINCY, Pa. - The Twin Kiss Drive-in in Quincy must be a people magnet. A former owner lives next door. Employees tend to stay on a long time. The manager lives behind it; another long-time employee, now retired, lives just up the road.

And the customers come back and come back and come back, bringing children and grandchildren.

Celebrating 50 years in business this month, the small eatery on Pa. 997 started as a trailer from which George and Janet Benedict served ice cream and root beer in frosted mugs. They had purchased a Twin Kiss franchise and placed the fully-equipped trailer on their farm. A few years later, they added a sandwich unit to the building and expanded their menu. The unit arrived "ready to serve the people. It had all the equipment, and all you needed to do was hook up your utilities," Janet Benedict said.

During the months they were open, the Benedicts and their daughter lived in a mobile home beside the Twin Kiss.


"We lived on the farm right back of it, but we would move down there every spring and move back every fall," Benedict said.

They owned the business for 17 years, then sold it to Chauncey Blubaugh.

Manager Kim Creager has worked at the Twin Kiss since her junior year of high school in 1972.

"This is the only job I ever had and probably the only job I ever will have, because I love it," Creager said. "They tease me that when I die they're going to set my ashes above the grill."

She walks over at 7 a.m. from her home adjacent to the picnic area to prepare for the 11 a.m. opening and to order supplies.

Current owner Charles "Butch" Rotz, 56, and his brother, David, purchased the business in 1996. David Rotz also owns Rotz Auto Body.

The Twin Kiss is a popular place for local people to meet and eat. A herd of seven deer that children can feed are a draw, especially when the fawns are born, Creager said. Picnic tables in a grassy, shaded area and a stream with four small bridges make it a relaxing place to eat, watch the deer and chat with friends.

Jackie Drooger, who lives less than a mile from the Twin Kiss, said she and her family go there often.

"They have good food, it's quick, and we love their ice cream. You almost always see someone you know."

When her daughters, now 15 and 18, were younger, Drooger took them there often to feed the deer, who liked to finish off the last of their ice cream cones, she said.

The business may be a half-century old, but the management isn't afraid to try new things. Many menu items have been added over the years, such as finger snacks, pizza and salads.

Creager makes the Maryland Crab and ham and bean soups.

"We added beef rice this past week," Creager said, "and it sold like wildfire."

They've kept many of the traditional Twin Kiss foods, such as the Sloppy Joe, the Italian Steak sub, the root beer mixed on the premises and, of course, the Twin Kiss soft ice cream.

Creager makes the Sloppy Joe from scratch.

"People buy it by the quart to take home. I make two pots a day sometimes," he said.

Twenty-year employee Karen Bingaman supervises the ice cream side. She said the ice cream isn't much of a temptation for her.

"After 20 years of working with it, you tend to not eat a whole lot of it," she said.

The business offers several flavors of sugar-free, hand-dipped ice cream. The treats are handed out the same two front windows the Benedicts used in 1955.

Creager said the most rewarding part of her job is "seeing the different generations come in. The kids I went to school with, and then their kids come in. People move away, but they come back to the Twin Kiss. They'll say, 'I had to come back and get an Italian sub.'"

Rosetta Minnich of Quincy worked at the Twin Kiss for 44 years before retiring a few years ago, Creager said, and still comes back to see the employees and give them her special coconut cake.

Several Twin Kiss stands still exist in Pennsylvania and Maryland, employees said, but all are now individually owned.

Twin Kiss Drive-in will close for the season Oct. 16 and reopen in mid-February.

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