“an original since 1956”
The Drive In Restaurant, located on Bench Street in Taylor's Falls, will be celebrating its 53rd anniversary this summer. The Drive In nurtures fond memories of that golden era, with carhops, 50's music, root beer in frosted mugs, and good old-fashioned hamburgers.When Allan Anderson opened his Drive In on July 5, 1956, James Dean was starring in the 50's classic "Rebel Without a Cause" at the St. Croix Auditorium Theatre. A Drive-Inn restaurant was a new concept and the idea was intriguing for the Anderson's, who were intent on making it a "family business".When the Drive In first opened, customers were not quite sure what to do! It wasn't long before they learned where to park their cars and how to order from the carhops. Inside workers poured the root beer into glass mugs while cooks fried the hamburgers. A small root beer cost 5¢, a large 10¢ and hamburgers were 25¢.The large rotating root beer mug sign was installed in 1963. It was purchased from a Hastings Frostop Drive In that had gone out of business. The giant classic rotating mug still greets guests today!The Drive In was closed for a year in 1987 and purchased by the sister and brother team of Gail and Wade Vitalis in 1988. This new “family” breathed life into the Drive In, re-making it as The Drive-In Restaurant with a theme which reflected the 50’s era. Customers were once again greeted by carhops wearing poodle skirts while 50s music played in the back ground. Guests could drink ice cold root beer from a frosty cold mug and get hand-packed burgers on fresh bakery buns.In 1993, Wade and his wife, Carol Vitalis bought The Drive In Restaurant and added an 18-hole adventure mini-golf course featuring waterfalls, ponds and challenging multi-level holes. It was named Adventure Falls Mini-Golf. A club house was added to the Adventure Falls mini-golf site. The buildings siding and interior was constructed entirely from recycled barn wood.Wade and Carol Vitalis and their three kids still operate the “family business” in much the same fashion the Anderson family did in 1956. It is a very popular destination for families looking to eat great food, do some mini-golfing and enjoy the St. Croix River.The “greater than life” American experience of eating in your car, being waited on by a "car hop" and drinking homemade root beer still lives on at the Drive In Restaurant in Taylor's Falls. Our family invites your family to be a part of this history!
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