Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again

But did they ever really leave? Isn’t that what Nick at Nite is for? And can you IMAGINE how big Tom Bosley’s residual checks must be?

Tip Of The Day: Watch my Fox 9 News at 5 segment and relive your (possibly non-existent, if you were born in the 70’s like me) youth. This week’s topic is all about drive-in restaurants in the TC. Poodle skirts and bobby socks are optional.

Tip For Tomorrow: Okay, FINE. I’ll do it. I’ll write a post about real estate. Some (aka MANY) of you have been pestering me for a post about frugality and the real estate market, so tomorrow I’ll actually write one. Will that make you happy?

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: I love dining out, and I love dining out, outside. But I hate the prices at most restaurants with outdoor dining – Via’s, W.A. Frost, even The Good Earth can get spendy. So what’s a Cheap Chick to do?

Luckily for me and my fellow TCians, our fair cities possess many drive-in restaurant options. Remember drive-ins? Yeah, me neither, I was born in 73. Ask me about The Muppet Show or the start of MTV – stuff I was alive for. In the 50’s, my parents weren’t even dating.

Anyway, for those of us not in the know, drive-in restaurants were the precursor to McDonalds. You’d pull up in your super-fly 55 El Camino, place your order with either a carhop or at one of those cute machines scattered around the parking lot, and in about 20 minutes, some teenager (either on or off skates) would roll up with your order.

Drive-in restaurants featured the best of Americana foods, like burgers, hotdogs, onion rings, malts, soda fountain drinks, and OH MY GOD am I getting hungry. Moving on.

Some of those drive-in restaurants have lasted until modern times. Best of all, their prices tend toward what you’d see in the 50’s, as opposed to what greets you on most menus today. I’m talking burgers, real burgers with real meat made by real people, from $2.50 to $4.79.

More expensive than McDonalds? Sure, but the taste. I mean, these puppies actually HAVE taste. Not just the flavor of pickles, onions, catsup and mustard, but real beefy meaty greasy taste. And now I’m getting hungry again.

To stop myself from eating the computer, I’d best get on with my list of drive-in restaurants in the TC. If you live outside the great state of MN, maybe you should come here for a visit, and I’ll take you to one. Better yet, why don’t you just move here, and we can hang out all the time?

Drive-Ins in the Twin Cities:

1. The Dari-Ette, 1440 Minnehaha Avenue East, St. Paul. American food, plus Italian American classics. Why is this one first? Because this one is THE BEST. Angela, the owner, and her trusty staff make every single item on the menu from scratch, like the bread, the marinara sauce, even the Italian sausage. If you go here, you will eat like a deposed Italian king, for under $10.

2. Porky’s, 1890 University Avenue West, St. Paul. Americana dishes, plus their famous pork cutlet sandwiches. If you come on the weekends, you’ll get dinner AND a show. This is the place to see classic cars on parade, as they pull into Porky’s parking lot where their owners order Twinburgers and onion rings.

3. Wagner’s Drive-In, 3712 Quebec Avenue South, St. Louis Park. Best burgers. Wagner’s is known for their burgers, has won awards for their burgers, even has songs written about their burgers. Okay, I made up that last part. But for a great, inexpensive burger and fries drive down to St. Louis Park. Relax in your car, or on one of Wagner’s many picnic benches, and enjoy the food our country has perfected.
For those of you on the north side, there’s a Wagner’s North at 7000 West Broadway, Brooklyn Center. They offer great prices, too, and vintage car shows on the weekends.

4. A&W Drive-Ins, two locations (at least): 3006 Rice Street in Little Canada and 7429 East River Road in Fridley. Then there are the new fangled A&W Restaurants, but those aren’t drive-ins, so those don’t count. A&W is known for (dur) their root beer, and the greatest treat on earth next to a Party Pizza, the root beer float.
You know, I think I’d want my final meal to be a Party Pizza and an A&W float. Oooo, and cheese popcorn! But since I’m nowhere near death (to the best of my knowledge), I’ll just skibble over to the stand on Rice Street and drink to my heart’s content right now. Sugar content be damned!

If that list doesn’t give you a thousand new ways to completely destroy your diet and make the kids happy, I have no idea what will. Now get out there and eat and drink the way God intended – under the stars and in a parking lot.


mia said...

You know what would be So Incredibly Awesome? If Dairy Queen and A and W collaborated to make a DQ-A and W float with A and W root beer and DQ vanilla. Oooh.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the newly opening Sonic. St. Paul and opening in Savage in August. Cheap food (half price happy hour soda's and drinks) breakfast all day long, good burgers. Seen the commercials for years, finally they are in MN.

LaRue said...

There is an A&W in Faribault as well. And I really hate mixing ice cream and root beer. Why ruin a perfectly good drink? (GO ahead, tar and feather me now.)

We are stopping at the A&W in Eau Claire on our way to Bristol...

Jami said...

Mmmm...I'm hungry! to hell with diets, we're only here for a short time, live it up! (well, that's my motto anyhow!)


Anonymous said...

There's also a great drive in up in Taylors Falls, I believe it's called The Drive-In (original, huh!), which isn't so far for those in the NE Metro (we're in Hugo), and can be quite a nice, pretty drive. They have pull up dining complete with poodle skirts, a picnic table area and even mini golf. Our kids love it!

Marketing Mama said...

My first job was as a car-hop at a drive in when I was 15. No, I didn't wear roller skates. (Everyone always asks) - I did wear a change belt and learned how to count-out change without the help of a cash register!

It was at the Minnetonka Drive-In on County Road 15 in Spring Park (on the way out to Mound from 394).

It's still there and has Awesome Onion Rings and rootbeer floats.

Manager Mom said...

I love drive-in restaurants. And I won't drink root beer unless I get it from the tap at an A&W. But I am jonesing for a good drive in MOVIE. I think they all went out of business.

Ann said...

I have the same memories as you: The Muppets, the beginning of MTV. I lived in the TC for 5 years too, so it's fun to read about this! Memory lane....

Michelle said...

Although, it's not quite a Drive-In, cause you can't eat in your car, I love Culvers. They have the best Cheeseburgers. And the custard is wonderful.