|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (January 2007)|
Fitz's Bottling Company is a regional soda brand in the St. Louis area. The flagship brand is its root beer popularized by its microbrewery and restaurant in University City, Missouri, on the historic Delmar Loop near both Washington University in St. Louis and the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Fitz's was originally a drive-in hamburger stand located on Brentwood Blvd, in the St. Louis suburb of Richmond Heights. The root beer was first produced in 1947 and sold alongside hamburgers and fries. Beverage production was discontinued when the original eatery shut down in 1970. But fifteen years later, the root beer was brought back in its original recipe. In the early 1990s, a new location in the Delmar Loop was purchased and vintage bottling equipment installed.
In addition to root beer, Fitz's produces other soft drink flavors including diet root beer, cream soda, diet cream soda, grape pop, orange pop, strawberry pop, ginger ale, hip hop pop (Dr. Pepper flavor), and orange cream. The labels feature the locally familiar logo; its classic colors are red, white, and blue, but these colors change from one variety to the next to indicate and complement whatever flavor is in the bottle. The soda is made in the old-fashioned style of using cane sugar (as opposed to high fructose corn syrup).
Fitz's has produced some flavors which have been discontinued. These include Dr. Fizz (similar to Dr. Pepper with hints of black cherry), and Lemonade Pop.
The restaurant is designed in the 1950s art deco style and painted in bold colors. The interior features bar, booth, and table seating, with a connected patio for outdoor dining. The two-story building was originally a bank, with the bottling equipment in the space where the vault was located.
Along with their full line of soft drink flavors, Fitz's offers classic American-style cuisine as well as various shakes and malts. Children's meals are served in boxes designed to resemble 1950s cars, a throwback to the dining experience of the original Fitz's drive-in. The local press consistently praises the restaurant in reviews and dining guides, and on occasion Fitz's receives attention on the national level, most recently in USA Today and by Rachael Ray of the Food Network. Fitz's donates all its used crayons to St. Louis Children's Hospital and is active in the community.
From the late 1990s - 2000, Fitz's opened locations in Chesterfield, MO and Kansas City's Union Station - both included restaurants and bottling plants. Initially successful, both restaurants eventually closed due to lackluster sales.
- IBC Root Beer, another St. Louis Root beer