** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **
Have a seat on one of Edgar’s steel-banded counter stools and observe the fine art of soda-making. It is no haphazard process. First, syrup and a little ice cream are smooshed together at the bottom of the deep vase-shaped glass to form a kind of sweet-shop roux; next, soda is squirted in and mixed vigorously; penultimately, a globe of ice cream is gingerly floated on top; finally, a crown of whipped cream is applied and, to that, a single cherry. It’s a beautiful sight; and while much of the soda will drip and spill down the sides of the glass as soon as it is touched by a spoon, one cannot help but admire the confectionery perfectionism.
The same high standards apply to tulip sundaes, malts, and shakes, and a long roster of more daring delights that range from the relatively familiar turtle sundae (vanilla ice cream with hot caramel, chocolate syrup, and pecans) to the rocket, a vertical banana split that the menu promises “will send you for a blast!”
With its pink-and-white tin ceiling, quartet of creaky wood booths, and steel rod chairs for a scattering of tables, Edgar’s is an absolutely charming little place inside the Pioneer Drug store on the main street of Elk Point. Its nucleus is a soda fountain that was first installed in Schmiedt Drug in Centerville in 1906. In the 1960s, the old marble fountain was removed and put into storage. Ultimately, it was rediscovered by Edgar Schmiedt’s granddaughter, Barb Wurtz. Barb brought it to Elk Point where it is once again part of a pharmacy (run by Barb’s pharmacist husband Kevin) and general store.
The back of Edgar’s menu is a marvelous page from soda fountain history that features practical how-to articles taken from the 1906 Standard Manual of Soda and Other Beverages. Among the suggestions are that a soda fountain attendant “should never display soiled towels or dirty sponges,” “should never stand watching the patrons drinking,” and “should study each customer’s desire and endeavor to remember the particular way in which he likes his drinks mixed and served.” The year all this was written, the Centerville Journal declared Edgar’s soda fountain one of the finest in the state. Over a century later, once again it is.