The days of American Graffiti and Happy Days are back! With the Coronavirus pandemic making it nearly impossible to eat indoors, customers have taken to restaurants with carhop services to eat a delicious meal without the worry of leaving their car. One of the top fast food chains that still offer carhop service is Sonic Drive-in, and according to TOP Data, the fast food restaurant has been a favorite, especially in these past few months. The data shows its a favorite in fourteen states, including Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The History of the Carhop
In the 1920s more cars were starting to hit the streets. A businessman named J.G. Kirby and a physician named R.W. Jackson decided to take advantage of all the new and hungry drivers and open the Pig Stand in Dallas, Texas, adding male carhops so customers wouldn't have to get out of their cars. A&W started using carhops two years later and turned the carhop into the cultural phenomenon it is today.
The drive-in slowly lost interest in the 1960s when drive-thru service gained popularity, however, it looks like they are coming back full force, not only to combat Covid social distancing protocols but as a way for restaurants to cash in on baby boomer nostalgia.
Carhop Restaurants You Need to Visit
Some of the originals are still up and operating. Check out these Drive-ins that are worth the road trip.
King Tut Drive-in
Located in Beckley, West Virginia, and opened in the 1940s, King Tut prepares all of its hamburger buns from scratch along with homemade pies, breads, and soups.
If you find yourself in Seattle, you have to drive over to Dick's. Founded in 1954, the restaurant inspired rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot to sing about the Drive-in.
South Caroliners flock to this Drive-in located in Spartanburg. Open since 1946, the restaurant is known for its Chili-Cheese A-Plenty, a chili-cheeseburger buried underneath piles of sweet onion rings and french-fried potatoes. Come hungry!