Another Time Soda Fountain: Cheaper Than a Time Machine

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Let's face it: The main appeal of Another Time Soda Fountain -- the subject of this week's cafe review -- isn't really the food. Sure, the burgers and chili dogs are good. But people are coming here in droves for two things: the desserts and the drinks.

As the name would imply, Another Time Soda Fountain is a vestige of times long past, a still-functioning soda fountain that is unusual simply for still existing. And it's a quick trip to the past if you don't mind the short drive to Rosenberg.

Like soda fountains of old, it makes its own phosphates (the original soft drink) and scoops enormous softballs of ice cream onto banana splits. It makes Coke shakes and butterscotch malts. And in this small town, it still serves as a pulsing heart for the community, filled each day with happily eating and chatting families and kids.

Owner Renee Butler took over the old Meyer-Foster-Mulcahy Building -- originally built in 1910 -- eight years ago and made Another Time into the community restaurant and soda fountain that it is today, while making sure it retained that old-fashioned feel that's somehow entirely holistic. Like the desserts, nothing here is artificial.

And of those desserts and drinks, there are some that I've never seen on Houston menus, some that my mother (my official arbiter of old things) claims she hasn't seen since the 1960s. Take the old-fashioned lime cooler, made just like a float but using 7-Up and lime sherbet. Or that aforementioned Coke shake: sweet Coca-Cola syrup blended with ice cream that tastes like the wondrous amplification of a Coke float.

But my favorite desserts here are the malts, made with Carnation malted milk powder and Blue Bell ice cream. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a simple dessert for a simpler time. And as pithy as that may sound, I'll take that malt over a deconstructed artisanal Mille-feuille with organic strawberry foam and balsamic-roasted almond "dirt" any day of the week.

For more photos from Another Time Soda Fountain, check out our slideshow.

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