Last week, I loaded my chunky beagle into my hatchback and journeyed home to the Ozarks for some family time. The road trip from Chicago to my hometown takes roughly eight hours, and it takes me directly past North America’s most exquisite food-related roadside attraction: the Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store in St. Robert, Missouri.
The factory is located in the Uranus Towne Center, a small roadside complex that includes a sideshow museum, an escape room, an archery outlet, and an outdoor survival store, the latter of which I’ve always been too scared to explore because I fear extremists. Billboards for the complex start springing up about 80 miles north of St. Robert, advertising “big fun in Uranus” and “satisfaction in Uranus.” But the fudge is the main event because, per the attraction’s website, “the best fudge comes from Uranus.”
I tell everyone I meet about the Uranus Fudge Factory. First, the fudge is actually good. Second, the whole thing is incredibly stupid, which means it’s right up my alley. To me, passing the factory elicits a visceral reaction: usually a grimace, a hearty chuckle, and, finally, sigh of relief because it means I’m almost home. The Uranus Fudge Factory also the exact brand of roadside Americana that I love, right up there with South Dakota’s Mitchell Corn Palace and Georgia’s Gas Station Biscuit Trail. Have you ever pulled over for a tasty roadside attraction? Does your hometown boast its very own scatalogical dessert destination? Tell me about your faves, please.