I have a passion for thick malts made from hand-scooped ice cream and juicy burgers served at kitschy and cute old-fashioned drive-ins. I wrote about some of my favorites a few weeks ago — and judging from the response of readers, it appears as if I am not alone. Several people wrote to tell me about other old-school gems.
I consider the ideas just more sweet reasons to hit the road before summer ends.
“We also enjoy Barney’s in Waseca,” Julie Hoeft wrote in an e-mail. “It has an old car ‘hauling’ the chicken (rooster?) Barney behind it. Best seat in the parking lot!”
Hoeft noted that the food and the root beer at this spot just across the street from Clear Lake are top-notch. I haven’t tried its housemade drink, but a fan wrote on Barney’s Facebook page, “Coming from New Jersey to get root beer!!!”
Another reader who went to college in La Crosse, Wis., wrote to recommend the city’s Rudy’s Drive-In. The popular spot carries on a family business that began in 1933; the current location dates to 1966. If you want the full old-fashioned treatment, you’ll find it here. The unsigned e-mail reads, “Good food brought out to your car by staff on roller skates!”
Claudette Moran raved about Lakeview Drive Inn in Winona, which makes root beer from scratch, has carhop service, and overlooks Lake Winona. It’s been operating since 1938. She also frequents the Minnetonka Drive In.
Mike Bemis wrote to alert me to his own favorite: The Dari-ette Drive-In, in St Paul. “This is an American original, dating to 1951. The hamburgers are great, but my favorite item is the banana milkshake, with slices of fresh banana,” he wrote.
Generally, given my focus on travel, I report only on locations beyond the metro area. But I’ll make an exception for ice cream and root beer. After all, they have the ability to transport.
Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.