50 Burgers, 50 Days: Nau's Enfield Drug

 
Day 42: Nau’s Enfield Drug
1115 W. Lynn St. 472-0070, www.nausdrug.com.
Soda fountain hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday-Friday. 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday. 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 09.21.11
 
An  aroma of antique soap drifts over you the minute you walk into Nau’s. A clean but superannuated smell, influenced by shelves of cough remedies, peppermint sticks, baby essentials and perfumed grooming supplies. This is still Clarksville’s working pharmacy, after all, with medicines designed to treat most of the maladies brought on by the low density lipoproteins from the soda fountain in the back. In the business, we call this managed care. The Cause and Effect Grill.
 
The burger: There must be a half-pound of beef in Nau’s large bacon cheeseburger ($5.85). It’s gnarly and irregular, cooked on the flat-top grill to a uniform gray-brown, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. It’s not big on subtlety, but it’s big on everything else: a breakfast’s worth of bacon, processed cheese as bright as an egg yolk, a pile of shredded lettuce and two big tomato slices. The sesame seed bun is toasted to an armored shell just to keep up, half-wrapped in white paper like a gift you already knew you were getting.
 
Fries or rings? Nau’s has neither. Just chips, if you want something crunchy. That’s all right, because nobody else pours a chocolate soda ($3.50) like this, in a tall parfait glass layered with carbonated water and chocolate syrup and fat scoops of vanilla ice cream and a crown of whipped cream, pretty please with a cherry on top.  A full third of the open kitchen is devoted to the ice cream fountain, with pumps and mixers and spigots and freezer cases, like an artisan cocktail bar in a place where it feels like black and white only recently gave way to Technicolor.
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)