Photo of Jeff Kunkle and Kelly Burg with three A&W Burger Family Statues

5 Questions With...Jeff & Kelly of Vintage Roadside

Jeff Kunkle and his wife Kelly Burg own Vintage Roadside — a small mom & pop company dedicated to the preservation of roadside history. They're also big fans of all things A&W Restaurants. We talked with the couple about the origins of their A&W Restaurants love, their favorite piece of A&W memorabilia, and more.

How did your love of A&W Restaurants begin?

I grew up in a small town and the closest “big” town was about 20 miles away. So, things like grocery or clothes shopping would take us there every couple of weeks. In that town was an A&W complete with menu boards in the parking lot and booth phones inside of the dining area. Visiting from a town with nothing like that I thought it was the most incredible place to eat in the entire world. One of my earliest memories is getting the Baby mug of root beer with my meal. And, they also had a complete set of the Burger Family statues so in hindsight it was everything I could have ever hoped for in an A&W location of that era.

Favorite A&W menu item?

I’d have to go with the Papa Burger. That’s assuming anything on the menu comes with a frosty mug of root beer. A&W Root Beer has to be considered the foundation for any order.

What’s one item on your bucket list?

Since we started Vintage Roadside we’ve been lucky enough to go on numerous cross-country road trips. Our goal is to eventually spend time driving around all 50 states. Just a few more to go!

If you could share a Root Beer Float with anyone, who would you choose and why?

If I could choose anyone ever I’d love to sit down with Roy Allen (one of the founders of A&W Restaurants) and ask him about starting out in Lodi and hear his thoughts on the decades that followed. I’ve always loved knowing the history, decisions, and effort behind starting a new business.

What is your favorite piece of A&W memorabilia you own?

Without a doubt, our favorite piece of A&W history that we’re thrilled to own is a complete set of original Burger Family statues. We both grew up going to locations with them and always thought someday it would be incredible to own our own set, as far-fetched as that seemed. We spent about 6 years looking until one day we saw an online listing. It turned out the gentleman was a long-time operator and when it was time to retire the statues from his restaurant he moved them to his house. He enjoyed them for several decades and had decided it was time to find new caretakers for them. A 2,000 mile round trip in a giant U-Haul and they’ve been making us smile now for 14 years.

Be sure to follow Jeff & Kelly on social media to keep up with all things Vintage Roadside.