If you’re a fan of fast dining, you’ll be happy to know that today (July 24) is National Drive-Thru Day (there’s even a hashtag #nationaldrivethruday). The first drive-thru was Red’s Giant Hamburg in Springfield, MO (located along the historic Route 66), opened by Sheldon “Red” Chaney in 1947. Since then, drive-thru dining has become a way of life in the United States. Red’s closed in the 80s, but there are still some historic drive-thru restaurants across the U.S. where you can celebrate the day in style. Here are my top four recommendations.
915 N Main St
Miami, OK 74355
One of the original drive-ins (the predecessor to the drive-thru) along Route 66, Waylan’s in Oklahoma is easily recognizable by the Ku-Ku bird on the top. They now offer both drive-through or dine-in service. Memorabilia from days gone by line the walls, making a trip to Waylan’s feel like stepping back in time. Waylan’s also offers a full menu of retro fare that’s different from your typical fast food finds – try the fried green tomatoes and fresh cherry lemonade.
805 W Manchester Blvd
Inglewood, CA 90301
The iconic Randy’s Donuts, located just south of Los Angeles in Inglewood (near LAX) has been serving up fresh donuts, muffins and scones to hungry drive-through customers for over 62 years. It has also appeared in countless movies that take lace in L.A. There’s no way you can miss it- just look for the huge donut on the roof.
118 N Pasfield St
Springfield, IL 62702
Along with Red’s, Maid Rite in Springfield, IL also claims to be the first drive-thru in the country. You can visit this historic restaurant, located along Route 66, and enjoy the vintage charm of the original building while digging into a loose-meat burger and sipping on a shake or a cup of their famous homemade root beer.
Quickie Dog/Taco Quickie
7716 Eastern Ave
Bell Gardens, CA 90201
Located near Los Angeles in Bell Gardens, Quickie Dog opened in the 1950s and later merged with the neighboring restaurant and expanded its menu to offer tacos. The current building was built in 1967 and maintains its kitschy, retro vibe with original vintage signs & umbrella tables. The hotdogs are big, juicy and come with multiple options for toppings, and the tacos are some of the best I’ve ever had at a fast food restaurant.
Pic via Flickr – Mandy Goldberg