You’d be hard-pressed to find a full-service soda fountain more historic than the one at Elliotts Pharmacy, a locally owned, family-run business in downtown Fuquay-Varina. Originally established in 1918, the current fountain bar, swivel stools and other equipment have been in place since 1954.
The soda fountain at Elliotts serves as the quintessential place for locals and visitors alike to get their fill of chicken salad, pimiento cheese sandwiches, fresh-squeezed orangeades, old-fashioned milkshakes and much more. Never mind that just across the aisle from the soda fountain, rows of metal shelves are filled with pharmacy staples like Band-Aids, aspirin and low-priced greeting cards. Without question, Elliotts represents the epitome of a bygone era.
But for many who enter this iconic place, it’s not just to pick up a birthday card, cough drops or a prescription. People like me are more likely to turn up for a reasonably priced lunch and a laid-back conversation with friendly staff.
When it comes to the food, all the popular sandwich spreads are made in-house, including the pimiento cheese, chicken salad, egg salad and ham salad. According to Edwin Holleman, registered pharmacist and the store’s manager, the recipes were created by Sallie Fitzhugh, who ran the fountain for some 40 years.
Most sandwiches are prepared using a classic sandwich press and then served with chips and Bay Valley brand bread and butter pickle slices. It’s best to pair your sandwich with an orangeade or vanilla Coke, either of which will be served over crushed ice. It’s the small details like this that Elliotts gets right time and again.
Be sure to save room for the best chocolate milkshake in Wake County — bar none. Made with Maola ice cream and Hershey’s Genuine Chocolate Syrup, this otherworldly concoction is spun using a classic stainless-steel Hamilton Beach milkshake machine. If you’d rather have a scoop or two of ice cream, half a dozen flavors like chocolate revel or moose tracks are sure to hit the sweet spot.
Elliotts Pharmacy Soda Fountain is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted. The menu is available at www.elliottspharmacy.com/.