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For other uses, see Drive-in (disambiguation).
Drive-in theater in Neu-Isenburg, Germany

A drive-in is a facility (such as a restaurant, movie theater, or church) where one can literally drive in with an automobile for service. At a drive-in restaurant, for example, customers park their vehicles and are usually served by staff who walk out to take orders and return with food, encouraging diners to remain parked while they eat. It is usually distinguished from a drive-through. At a drive-through restaurant, conversely, customers wait in a line and pass by one or more windows to order, pay, and receive their food, encouraging them to take their meals elsewhere to eat.

The first drive-in restaurant was Kirby's Pig Stand, which opened in Dallas, Texas, in 1921.[1][2] In North America, drive-in facilities of all types have become less popular since their heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, with drive-throughs rising to prominence since the 1970s and 1980s.

Drive-in Ferris wheel

In popular culture[edit]

As a symbol of the 1950s, the drive-in is featured in many films or series about this period. In American Graffiti, the beginning of the movie takes place front of a drive-in, while in Happy Days, the "Arnold's Drive-In" is one of the main locations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wells, Dick. "SRMA Update", in Street Rodder, 12/98, p.298.
  2. ^ Jones, Dwayne. "What's New with the Pig Stands—Not the Pig Sandwich!"

External links[edit]