It used to be real gone daddio, now it's just gone. The 50's Drive-In of South Haven, the ginchiest place for a burger and a shake on roller skates, has closed.

The sad news prompted an outpouring of affection for owners Ernie and Melissa in the South Haven Chatline Facebook group. After years of serving up hot dogs, burgers, onion rings, root beer floats and shakes on a tiny tray that fits on your car window, the 50's Drive-In of South Haven has closed.

Evoking memories of sock hops, poodle skirts, doo wop, cats-eye glasses, Wolfman Jack and American Graffiti, the drive-in restaurant was an important part of teenage American culture in the 1950s. You might say drive-ins were the social media of the day. Owning a car meant independence and showing it off at the drive-in was a rite of passage. The drive-in was where you met, hung out, made friends and made plans to race for pink slips.

It didn't take long for the drive-thru window to replace the drive-in restaurant, but there are still a number of places where you can park it and get a root beer delivered to an orange tray that hangs from the car window. The Root Beer Stand has several locations and Red's in Paw Paw is a seasonal favorite. Corky's in Allegan is worth a stop the next time you are up that way and Sonic is doing their best to keep the model alive. Sadly, there is one less drive-in as a blast form the past is history with the closing of the 50's Drive-In of South Haven.


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