Fremmings Hot Shoppe
by Ronda Shaner Pollock
Built in 1947, by F. M. “Mel” Fremming, the Hot Shoppe was a popular spot in Westons Mills during
the late 1940’s and 50’s.  In later years, some of the younger generation may remember the place as
Gomez’ Drive-In.  

Back in those days, Richardson Rootbeer offered a free franchise, as long as the recipient agreed to
advertise and sell their brand.  The Fremming Family owned the Weston property, (now owned by
Cattaraugus County), which included a section that faced the road and was separated from the house
by a hedge.  Hence, this became the site for the Olean area’s first drive-in food operation.

Mr. Fremming nostalgically remembers those days when the Hot Shoppe offered its customers five
different kinds of beverages, including rootbeer, of course, all 10 cents each.  They also offered five
different sandwiches, ranging in price from 15 to 30 cents.  Twenty different flavors of milkshakes
were offered for a quarter.

Mel Fremming says it was a family operation.  He did the cooking, along with his father and brother.  
His wife, Eleanor, also “car hopped” for about five years until they started their own family.

Motorists would drive into the parking lot of the Hot Shoppe and be greeted by “car hops” who
would take their order and attach a tray to the outside of the car window.  Customers then ate their
food in their car.
The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770
Portville, New York
Dining in your car was not the only option.  There were several stools indoors for customers who
preferred the more traditional way of dining out.  He recalls two portly gentlemen who were regular
customers who, together, occupied four stools.

Perry Ethridge was the contractor and builder of the Hot Shoppe.  Mr. Fremming also remembers the
names of some of the teenagers that worked as car hops in those days.  They were Norm Stephen,
Jake Kush, Elmer Sherman, Esther Whitney, and Neal Teachman.

In 1958, the Hot Shoppe was sold to Mr. Gomez.  The Fremming family moved to Florida, where
they owned and operated Largo Lanes, in Largo, for many years.  At one time, Mr. and Mrs.
Fremming operated the Pine Wood Diner in Portville.  Jack Fremming, Mel’s brother, owned a beer
garden on State Street in Olean, next to the First National Bank.

After they retired, Mel and Eleanor Fremming enjoyed living on the east cove of Lake Tsala-Apopka,
near Inverness, Florida.  Mel passed away in 2005 and Eleanor continued to live in her own home
near their three daughters until her death in 2010.
Mel takes an order from Eleanor, using their original pad and tray table (1994)
Fremming's Hot Shoppe in the late 1940's
This page was last updated on 02/27/2015