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History Lost Drive-In Restaurants

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SUNROOFCORD, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 1,170

    Bob Lowry

    Old chain in Denver that started in 1936, last store closed in 1980. Called Rockybilt, were small buildings designed
    so that one person could operate it. Only one remnant remaining, on South Broadway, today. Boarded up, and
    last used as a take-out Chinese food outlet. Originally there were 17 locations, they were noted for their simple
    cheeseburger with their special sauce. See the recipe below.

    rocky.jpeg
     
  2. Oh yeah, Rockybilt! I remember seeing them around town when I was a kid. Every time we'd pass the one that was on the way to my Aunt's house my folks would chuckle and tell us one of the stories of when they were dating. Dad would ask my Mom if she could remember how they used to go to Rockybilt's and get a dozen little burgers and two pineapple shakes for a dollar. Those were the days!
    The little building on South Broadway Bob is talking about has to be the one that's right next door to the Gothic Theatre. I'm familiar with the little building as I worked by there for years a long time ago. I never knew it was once a Rockybilt! Thanks for posting @Bob Lowry, I learned something new today! E
     
    Cooon, alanp561, bchctybob and 5 others like this.
  3. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,182

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    2448D6D2-7833-4189-929E-3783F6CF6A31.jpeg Kool lil building, thanx 4 the location. I looked up the address above @85 S Broadway, but a different building is at that addy. Must’ve been a #’s change???? Someone oughta restore and reopen the Rockybilt burger joint. ;).
     
    bchctybob, adam401, AHotRod and 7 others like this.
  4. That's not a bad idea Kevin. I remember when the Chinese place was in the little old Rockybilt building they did a good business. You'd see lots of people in line waiting to get food at the restaurant on concert nights, and you'd also see people in line waiting to get into the concerts at the Gothic munching on Chinese food in little take out containers. The place always seemed busy during the week as well as there always seemed to be a line at the window. I wonder why they shut down.
    It seems like a little restaurant could do well there as it's right on Broadway, and then you have the hungry rockers always checking out concerts next door at the Gothic. Sounds too easy--I'm sure there's much more to it. E
     
  5. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,182

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    To pay Homage to “Rockybilt Burgers” w/o stepping on any previous owners toes I’d call it “Rockabilly Burgers”especially since its next to a music venue.
    I’d make the building look like it did when built, utilize the window as a walk up order window have a side window for pick up, then use the closed off (left side) for a picnic table dining.experience.
    Hit the City’s Director of Economic Development up to see if it could qualify for a possible redevelopment grant where local citizens could be put to work. Come up with a “10 step business plan” which could spell out your realistic goals to enhance the business and the surrounding community.
    I cannot tell how many times people drove by and made a comment like we were “Dreaming”, but in the end we created a very kool venue for all to enjoy;).
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  6. Here in Washington State we have places like Pick Quick drive in in Tacoma, of course we also have Dicks Drive in, there was also a place called Lew’s Drive in in west Seattle, and many others. You’ll find photos of the Pick Quick drive in on my current photos of old drive ins thread, if it’s still up that is.
     
  7. 2B6153CE-54D4-4083-A5C4-E52A52F6F954.jpeg
    charburger. Hwy69. Guntersville Al
    Got a great shake there today.
     
  8. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,182

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    1C34F8DC-1D6E-4535-BD40-5D1F1804227F.jpeg Looks like the Englewood location still exists of “Rockybilt Burgers” now a chicken joint.
     
    alanp561, chryslerfan55 and OG lil E like this.
  9. B148A7BF-B6E5-4EBC-BC49-DB5277AC9ADE.jpeg
    Hanceville Al. Drug store built in 39.
    The soda counter installed in the 40s.
    image.jpg

    enjoyed a shake there today
    Heck of a name for a paper
    BA97F6D8-78F3-4424-897B-11869CEFDB47.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2022
  10. flyin-t
    Joined: Dec 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,401

    flyin-t
    Member


    In Long Beach there's a similar place over on Atlantic Blvd off to the side of a 76 station.. Not sure when it was built but my friend had a little VW/Porsche repair shop around the corner in the mid 70s and we'd eat there a lot. Great burgers back then.
    Screen Shot 2022-04-02 at 8.51.01 AM.png

    There's still an old A&W on Highway 38 going the back way to Big Bear that was there when I was a kid, we'd stop now and then on the way to our cabin. I remember their food being fantastic. Flash forward 30 or so years and my kids loved stopping there for a root beer float heading to or from the same little cabin. Man the food is awful, maybe it sucked when I was 9? I sold the cabin so we don't go up and down 38 any longer but I heard they remodeled the place, hope the food's better.
     
  11. A few old restaurant's from my youth but are gone now. HRP

    The Acorn, been gone for many years.

    [​IMG]

    Pete's Drive In, the only one still standing but is a used car lot now.

    [​IMG]

    Skin Thrashers Hot Dogs, this business is still open and has been here more than 75 years, the hole in the wall was remodeled about 12 years ago.

    [​IMG]

    This place has seen Presidents, heads of state, doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs, not to mention wino's and and every day citizens rubbing elbows with Judges sitting at the counter.

    My granddad took me here more than 60 years ago when Skin Thrasher served hot dogs & cokes through the back window at the pool hall.

    I have been there when some of the mills and plants called in orders of more than 300 hot dogs at a time.

    Skin served and still does hot dogs and chips, in recent years he add cold slaw, he offers soft drinks and beer, but a limit of two beers. HRP

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2022
  12. Driver50x
    Joined: May 5, 2014
    Posts: 290

    Driver50x
    Member

    Biff Burger in St. Petersburg, FL. They hosted weekly cruise ins from the 1950’s until about a year ago. Part of it was air conditioned, most of it was an open air bar and restaurant. Now it is gone forever, soon to be a modern gas station.


    13AE24DA-8268-40B3-8689-398ACAC64DE2.jpeg B6A8818D-52B4-4E6F-99B5-257389A23102.jpeg 0E18D9C1-2FEE-4217-A418-F3588D359878.jpeg
     
  13. gconnsr
    Joined: Sep 14, 2008
    Posts: 144

    gconnsr
    Member
    from AZ

    One of my cooler memories as a kid was when my babysitters (and I always had hot ones) boyfriend picked us up in his 70 SS Chevelle and took us to A&W. The car literally blew me away and I was like 5.
     
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  14. 1320 Fan
    Joined: Jan 6, 2009
    Posts: 138

    1320 Fan
    Member

    I looked back and found no mention of Tommy's in Los Angeles. I went to high school about a mile east (Belmont) and worked in a Chevron station on the same corner of Beverly & Rampart 4 years. Anytime I am back to LA it is a must do. "Double cheese & and a tamale, heavy on the chili and napkins" IMG_2103.JPG IMG_2107.JPG IMG_2109.JPG
     
  15. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,182

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    My favorite place since I was able to eat!!!!!
     
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  16. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 4,302

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Mmm, Tommy’s! My GF and I used to go all the way from LAX to downtown LA just for their chili cheese burgers.
     
    OG lil E likes this.
  17. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 4,302

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My first cruisin experience was to Tiny Naylors at Sepulveda and Manchester in downtown Westchester. They knocked it down and built an office building. I was probably 13 and got to ride in the back with the big kids from my neighborhood, Gene and Lance in Gene’s red ‘56 Chevy 210. I built a clone of Gene’s ‘56 a few years ago.
    We also did the ‘Wich Stand to Fosters to A&W Hawthorne Blvd cruise. That route was still popular when I got my own car and a license. The ’Wich Stand and A&W closed years ago. I’m pretty sure that the Fosters Freeze is gone too.
     
  18. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 4,272

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    My small Midwest town in the late 60's had five drive in restaurants , lost the last one 15 years ago , closest one now is 16 miles away , they have excellent community support from 3 adjoining towns & still struggle
    Lots of things have changed , I think the internet & the overall negative feelings about automobiles have been behind a lot of it .
     
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  19. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 4,302

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    We still have an active A&W drive-in nearby in Lodi, Ca. They have had an ongoing cruise night every Thursday for years. I’m hoping that they are still doing it this year, you know how the Covid debacle has messed things up. I’m not sure if they still have car-hops.
     
  20. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,889

    fleetside66
    Member

    My brother & I restored this sign that we found, but we could never find where it was from. It's embossed plastic, so it's probably not that old.

    IMG_3447.jpg IMG_3445.jpg
     
  21. Dairy Queen late 50s. Jasper Al
    DEAEC459-7936-4274-BD37-B031626D231E.jpeg
    Today it’s an automotive paint store. PPG
    5A58F895-358F-43CE-ACC2-C31A2644DAA3.jpeg
    my old shop teach with the thumbs up
     
  22. Flat Roy
    Joined: Nov 23, 2007
    Posts: 533

    Flat Roy
    Member

    What ever happened to Bob's Big Boy in San Fernando? Does any body know?
    Any pictures?
     
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  23. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,932

    goldmountain

    I was looking for a t-shirt to wear and found an old one from Wayne's Drive Inn in Lawton, Oklahoma. Does it still exist?
     
  24. Hey @Pete1 , are you aware that the aforementioned Nick still owns the Triple XXX in Issaquah just off of front street?
     
  25. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 12,488

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Wich Stand building is still there as a meatless food store. Fosters just South of Arbor Vita is still there and I’d include a photo but my OT pickup is parked in front last year. The A & W is gone. I started that cruise in 60 and continued til 66 when I got married. Did a lot of light to light on Hawthorne Blvd in my 62 ChevyII with an injected 292” SB and 4 speed. The 4.56’s on the weekends helped.
     
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  26. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,182

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor


    There is a really good read about the history of Biff Burger, founding, former franchise units and franchise agreements and this architecture of the drive-in posted, it goes back to 60-62 and it’s called “port-a-unit”. The buildings were built off site prefab and basically can-could be disassembled used in another location if necessary. I googled the street view, there’s a fence around this place, someone really oughta save it (probably could get it for free?) and keep it out of a landfill. The building has metal, porcelain and stainless in its construction.
    C’mon guys, save an icon, that is truly the last “Biff-Burger”.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
    chryslerfan55 likes this.

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