A friend from California was intrigued in our conversation about my book, by cruise-ins. She asked if I had ever gone to the Big Boy restaurant in Pasadena for cruise night. The only time I was there, it was definitely cruise night. Well, every night was cruise night back in the ‘60s when I was there. Not a car over 1967. And I also liked the Big Boy burger and the Slim Jim.
Back in the ‘60s in Detroit, Woodward Avenue had two Big Boys. One was near where I lived, but it was not a drive-in. The other Big Boy at Thirteen Mile Road on Woodward was a drive-in with curb service. They had a minimum charge to eat in the car because kids would come in, and park for hours watching the cruising scene.
There were a lot of drive-ins on Woodward back then, like the Totem Pole. But what has taken it’s place are bars and restaurants that attract classic cars by designating a ‘cruise night.’ A lot of Big Boys, Steak and Shakes, and Sonics (one of the last chains of drive-ins with curb service besides some A&Ws) around the country have them and so do a lot of sports bars like Quaker Steak and Lube that also have bike nights.
A good source for drive-in restaurants is Jilly’s drive-in restaurant page; http://www.jazzkeyboard.com/jilly/jillys-drive-in-restaurant-page/
Here’s their list of Drive-in restaurants:
Drive-in restaurant homepages:
- A&W Since 1919.
- Ardy & Ed’s Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
- Arnold’s drive-in in Decatur, Indiana.
- Big Daddy’s Drive-In in South Carolina.
- Big Daddy’s Drive-In in Auburn, Washington.
- Bob’s Big Boy Broiler reopened in Los Angeles.
- Bummies drive-in in Bluffton, Indiana.
- Charlie’s Drive-In Restaurants in Hortonville, Wisconsin.
- Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants in Seattle.
- Didleys Metamora, Illinois.
- Eat’n Park Chain of drive-ins.
- Fender’s Drive-In Restaurant Holland, Mass.
- The Frosted Mug Drive-In Closed/abandoned. Chicago area.
- Hi Lite Drive In Marshall Michigan.
- JB’s Drive In Restaurant and appliance repair.
- Keller’s Drive-in Dallas.
- La Salle Drive-In Quebec, Canada.
- Lendy’s fan page about Lendy’s drive-in.
- Louis Original Drive In Restaurant Knoxville, TN.
- Mel’s Drive-In famous California drive-in.
- Pat’s Drive-In Tuscon, AZ
- Pilot Butte Drive-In Bend, Oregon.
- The Rebel Drive In “Home of the Lottaburger” Cleveland Tennessee.
- Rudy’s Drive-In for over 70 years!
- Sonic, America’s Drive-in™ Popular franchise.
- Tom’s Drive-in in Wisconsin.
- Triple XXX Family Restaurant, Since 1929 West Lafayette, IN
- The Varsity A famous Atlanta drive in still going strong.
- Wayne’s Drive Inn Lawton, Oklahoma.
- White Spot Drive-Ins Since 1928
- Wright’s Dairy Rite in Staunton, Virginia since 1952.
- XXX Root Beer Drive-In in Issaquah, WA.
- Wot-A-Dog Drive-In in New Carlisle, OH.
Jilly’s list also has a list of interesting articles about Drive-ins. I would think that most of these places have a designated ‘cruise-in’ night where you will meet friendly people that have awesome ‘Dream Machines.’ Hey, Google it for a cruise-in night where you live.