Meatloaf and strawberry milk? The billboard that has drivers talking

ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Thousands of drivers every day take in an odd billboard along U.S. 33 just west of Athens for Margie's Meatloaf Mecca.

A billboard in Athens County, Ohio, advertises a restaurant where only two items are served: meatloaf and strawberry milk.

The billboard boasts only two items are served -- meatloaf and strawberry milk.

It turns out the Meatloaf Mecca doesn't exist. The billboard was a prank pulled by Margie's friends, including John Sammon.

"We wanted it to be realistic but also really stupid and silly," Sammon said.

Sammon says the group of friends always pranks each other any time there's a big life event among them.

Ohio University graduate Margie Pandora got married in December. Last fall, she returned to campus for a bachelor party thrown by her college friends. On her drive into campus, she was greeted with the billboard, which includes an image of her smiling.

"I couldn't believe it," Pandora said. "It's really surreal to see that thing in person."

Sammon says they only paid to have the billboard up for a month. Four months later, though, the billboard company hasn't had a reason to take it down, so it's still there -- either confusing drivers or leaving them hungry for a meal they'll never get.

"For it being up as long as it has, it's like the prank that keeps on giving," Sammon said.

"I think that's so awesome," Pandora said. "I hope it makes (drivers') day brighter. I hope when they drive by they do a double-take and wonder what did I just see?"

Bryce Baxstrom lives near the billboard and sees it five days a week. He didn't know it was a prank until now.

"I saw that woman's face for four months," Baxstrom said. "I personally don't like meatloaf, so I was just kind of wondering, you know -- I'm never gonna go there."

A website is also listed on the billboard that sells Meatloaf Mecca merchandise.

"About 60 people visit the website every day," Sammon, who works in marketing, said. "I just think it's hysterical."

With the prank carrying this much life, those involved can't help but wonder if one day the restaurant will indeed become reality.

A portion of the proceeds from the merchandise sold on the website will go to the Athens County Food Pantry.