But hey, why ruin a good thing by thinking about it? Whistle just tastes great. It's a local addiction that dates back to 1916, when Vess Jones concocted the formula. For folks born and raised here, it's the kind of thing that, when you were a kid, your Grandma Fannie bought for you because it was your favorite. Vess Soda was locally owned until 1994, when Don Schneeberger sold it for $24.7 million to Cott Beverages Inc., based in Toronto. Vess is packaged in Maryland Heights and peddled throughout Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and northern Arkansas. Cott's main business is making soda for store labels -- including the Sam's Choice brand for Wal-Mart, Sweet Valley for Aldi, Super S for Schnucks and on and on. Vess sells 27 flavors of soda, including the newest, kiwi-strawberry. Whoa -- suddenly a dash of brominated vegetable oil in orange soda sounds okeedokee.
To avoid useless fat, check out the best of the meal of the day at WC -- breakfast, if only for the world's best affordable coffee. It's not pretentiously "gourmet," but it's good and hot and, chances are, it moves quickly. The worst thing for coffee is to sit and burn. A large java with a plain cake doughnut -- individually wrapped -- comes to a reasonable $1.11. It's just the right mix of sugar and caffeine to jerk you into alertness. While waiting for a WC employee to pour the coffee into a paper cup with a faux Starbucks logo, don't forget a napkin to wrap around it. Coffee-cup holders are nowhere to be found. But where else could you get good coffee, a government-issue doughnut and a chance to hear a customer at 8:30 a.m. in the drive-thru order chicken rings with melted "cheese"?