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The last 3 drive-in restaurants near Pittsburgh

These spots have been serving up car-side eats for over 50 years

by Cody McDevitt
September 25, 2020

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year that drive-in eateries had seen a boom in business during the pandemic. It seems that the type of restaurant is the perfect eating out option for people who want to socially distance while breaking up the monotony of cooking at home.

According to a history compiled by the University of Michigan, drive-in restaurants arose in the 1920s as an option for people who had begun to enjoy the automobile age. These free-standing dineries permitted people to park their car and go up to a window and order burgers, sandwiches and milkshakes.

Pittsburgh was once home to dozens of such places, but the number has dwindled over the years. Nonetheless, we found three in Western Pennsylvania that are worth the road trip to enjoy.

Jim’s Famous Sauce, West Mifflin

Pittsburgh drive-in

Founded in 1927 by Tsambikos Damianos, Jim’s Famous Sauce features hot dogs with a special condiment and toasted cheese. After Damianos died in 1959, his son Alex lost the family recipe his dad had told him. Alex later said a vision of his father came to him one night and told him how to make it. They’ve made it the same way ever since.

More info:

Vinny’s Drive In, Lemont Furnace

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJq3KsXApYD/

Vincent Weaver began this eatery in 1967. Featuring milkshakes, fried food and hearty sandwiches, it’s in the heart of Fayette County. When you’re driving in from Pittsburgh, make sure to stop at one of the farmer’s markets to get some rural delicacies like cherry cider.

More info: 

Jerry’s Curb Service, Bridgewater

https://www.facebook.com/111598115545149/photos/a.2307018299336442/2307016466003292

Jerry Reed started this nifty restaurant in 1947, according to yourbeavercounty.com. When you enter the parking lot, you put your car in one of the spots and waitresses or waiters come to your car and take your order. The Dorsey, which is a double cheeseburger with special sauces, is the most famous sandwich there. Fried mushrooms and jalapenos are among the other options to accompany its extensive list of dining options.

More info: 

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Cody McDevitt is an award-winning journalist and the founder of the Rosedale Oral History Project, which is the basis for “Banished from Johnstown: Racist Backlash in Pennsylvania.” Recently, he released a compendium of first-hand accounts of veterans who fought in World War II called “Answering the Call: Somerset County during World War II.” He is also the co-author of “Pittsburgh Drinks: A History of Cocktails, Nightlife & Bartending Tradition,” which is available on Amazon and in select bookstores locally. He lives near Pittsburgh and works for the Somerset Daily American.

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