Mugs Up isn’t open in the wintertime

Shannon Freese

Sometimes I just want a cheese zip.
There’s a drive-in by Hickman High School that has the best root beer in all of Missouri. It has unbelievable chili and cheese, and the servers put it on anything and everything: hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries.
If you’ve never been to Mugs Up, you’ve never lived. It’s, literally, one of the gems of Columbia, Mo., and it easily ranks up there with Sparky’s on 9th Street, Shakespeare’s on 9th and Elm and Booches on 9th.
Mugs Up, on Orange Street,  is an interesting place. It’s got the classic drive-in look and feel. It’s a tiny shack flanked by awnings on two sides at an obtuse angle. They’re supported by red, round metal poles. It’s like a square metal bird taking flight to flavortown. If you don’t get a spot underneath its wings, you can park anywhere around Mugs Up. There are no lines; therefore, there aren’t parking spots, so anywhere is fair game for cars. Sometimes on a busy day, they’re packed around the tiny shack. It’s like trying to fit the wrestling team in the elevator in the math hallway. Getting out of the lot is like solving a logic puzzle.
Wherever you park, they will find you. The waitresses never write anything down, but they never mess up an order.  There was one time my parents and I went there and ordered enough food for five people. Since the people in my house are the pickiest eaters, I was amazed when all the food and drinks came back, unscathed by any mishap or mix-up that could have easily occurred with the order. It’s downright amazing, and there’s very little that could mess with whatever system the ladies at Mugs Up are working on.
The only thing that stinks about Mugs Up is that it isn’t open during the winter.
It wouldn’t be a shock to find out the tiny shed had no heating system at all, but for whatever reason, Mugs Up isn’t open for operation. If there’s ever a time for a chili cheese dog craving, it’s during the winter months when snow coats the ground and freezes the water that drips off the house into icicles.
Summer is swimsuit season, and although it’s never hard to gobble down a zip burger, thinking about the love handles it’ll give you makes it slightly more difficult when you’re half-naked all season.
It’s probably unsafe to send workers out to the snow and ice, catering back and forth from the serving window to the cars, but sometimes I just need a cheese zip. And I’ll be danged if I can’t get one in December.
Today, I hate that Mugs Up isn’t open in the wintertime.
By Shannon Freese