Kennewick, Washington, U.S.
Number of locations
|Inland Northwest (& formerly Boise)|
|Robert "Zip" Zuber (Founder)|
Zip's Drive In was founded in 1953 in Kennewick, Washington, by Robert "Zip" Zuber. Zip's was originally created to serve scientists and workers coming to the Tri-Cities to work at Hanford and other nuclear industry companies. Zip's attracted so many customers, that Zuber decided to build another store, this time in Spokane. The new store was an immediate hit with college kids from Gonzaga. Zip Zuber then sold the Spokane store to Jake Vorrath, who opened another store in Spokane. He then sold the store to Harold Laing, and the other store to the drive-in’s manager, Harold Fettig. When Henry Laing died, his wife sold the restaurant to Ed Minor, who partnered with Don Kelly. Fettig, Minor, Kelly, their families, and former store managers remain operators of the most of the restaurants today.
In the 1960s, Zip's was a typical American drive-in restaurant, but by the 1970s many drive-ins across America were closing. Zip's began to decline, but Minor and Kelly built some of the first drive-thrus in the Northwest. Their quick thinking ended up saving the chain, and it is one of the few local restaurant chains still in operation today.
Zip's is located in 8 counties across Washington and Idaho, and was located in 11 counties at its peak. The chain started in the Tri-Cities, Spread to Spokane, and then eventually spread to the Idaho Panhandle and the Palouse. Locations in Ritzville and Boise were opened, but due to the recession, the Boise location has since closed down.