Few people would be more qualified than Tim Distler to explain the popularity of the Root Beer Stand, a Sharonville landmark since 1957.

Distler has been a regular customer of the restaurant since he started working at General Electric’s Evendale plant in 1990.

“It’s a special place,” says the 53-year-old Distler. “You walk in there and it’s a good feeling.”

The special feeling of the restaurant, located at 11566 Reading Road, is so good that Distler is a regular when the restaurant opens in March through September. “I go there at least once a week to get a sandwich,” says Distler.

And it’s not just any sandwich that Distler orders. Although the restaurant is known for its foot-long chili-cheese coney—one of the few places that has a true 12-inch hot dog—and its distinctive root beer, Distler prefers a sandwich named in his honor.

It’s called the Timmy Dog, a foot-long hot dog with chili, onion, hot sauce, cole slaw, mustard, ketchup, relish and sauerkraut, and topped with cheddar cheese.

Distler says he grew up in a large family with limited food options besides Spam, beans and hot dogs. So when he’d order a hot dog with everything at the Root Beer Stand, he meant it.

“They said, ‘OK, the standard chili, cheese, mustard combinations or whatever?’ And I said, ‘No, no like everything. What else you got back there?’ They said, ‘Well, we’ve got cole slaw, we got this, we got that,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, throw that on it.’

Distler told restaurant co-owner Jackie Donley the sandwich tasted so good she should put it on the menu. The following season the Timmy Dog was on the menu.

The Timmy Dog sold so well that it remains on the menu, says Eric Burroughs, who now owns the Root Beer Stand along with his father-in-law, Scott Donley.

But it’s the signature foot-long chili dogs and root beer that keep most customers coming back to the Root Beer Stand year after year. One of the reasons the root beer is distinctive is because the water used to make it comes from a 280-foot well on the restaurant’s property, Burroughs says.

The only carbonation in the root beer comes from the CO2 the pump uses to push the liquid through the tap, he says. That gives the root beer its unique, creamy flavor.

Little has changed since the Root Beer Stand was opened in 1957 by Mick and Nancy Rideour, along with Nancy’s parents, Jim and Catherine Clark. Scott and Jackie Donley bought the restaurant in 1990 and now they are passing the business along to their daughter, Abby, and her husband, Burroughs.

The chili recipe used today is the same one developed by Catherine Clark, Burroughs says. And the root beer is still made the same way as 1957, using the original equipment.

The popularity and longevity of the Root Beer Stand is because, “It has that kind of small-town, old-America feel to it,” Burroughs says. “I think that’s part of its charm.”

For more information, visit therootbeerstand.com