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GUEST COLUMN: Tab’s sauce aroma evokes great memories

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Nadine Wark

The May 26 Journal article ‘The Secret of Tab’s sauce finally revealed?’ conjured up great memories of the past for myself and no doubt many others who grew up in Sarnia-Lambton.

Nadine Wark
Nadine Wark

Tab’s sauce was a staple at Tab’s Drive-in, having a distinct taste you could find nowhere else.

Tab’s sauce was the topping for the Tab’s Canadaburger and a footlong called the Tartan Surprise – which could include melted cheese and bacon wrapped around the weiner – a favourite of mine!

The sauce seemed to have just the right ingredients, not too spicy with a hint of sweetness, which was OK with me.

Well, if we don’t have the original sauce today, at least we have the memories. My first visit to Tab’s Drive-in was the late ‘50s at the Golden Mile location. However, in the ‘60s, Colborne Road was the place to make the scene.

Along with great food, you could see your friends from high school, hear Top 40 songs blaring from muscle cars, junkers and maybe dad’s family car, borrowed for the night.

It was important for a first-time car owner to be seen at Tab’s, no matter the model or year, so long as it had a horn and arrived. You could also be entertained watching the cars race on Colborne Road. (“Yeah, of course I won’t speed, dad”).

Part of the fun was the novelty of parking your car, using a speaker outside the window to order food, then waiting for a carhop to serve it on a tray attached to the window. I do believe, for a time, Tab’s had carhops roller-skate while carrying food trays – enough to give anyone frayed nerves. But, of course, they were young and invincible, as all youth were.

On those hot summer nights, along with the smell of Tab’s Sauce, romance was in the air. The girls were checking out the boys, their cars and whom they were with. Maybe that boy from tech alley would show up.

The boys were girl-watching while combing back their greasy hair and trying to look ‘cute;’ maybe that new girl in town would pull in.

Car songs were popular at the time with the Beach Boys getting lots of airplay with ‘I Get Around’ (round, round, get around, I get around…) ‘409’ (she’s real fine my 409…), and ‘Little GTO (you’re really lookin’ fine…) by Ronnie & The Daytonas.

Thanks Tab’s, for the special sauce and all the special memories!

Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who resides in Sarnia











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