Where Was Michigan’s First Drive-In Restaurant?
Oh yeah, we've talked about drive-ins before.
And where to get the best burgers in the state.
But curiosity finally got to me and I wouldn't be satisfied until I located where Michigan's very first drive-in restaurant used to be.
What was the one that started it all? Who was the first to serve up deliciously greasy burgers, crispy french fries, and thick malts? And how about those car hops that would come to your car – sometimes on roller skates – motion for you to roll your window down and clasp a too-heavy tray to the window (sometimes breaking it)? Who in Michigan started it and where was it?
All resources point to Ted's Drive-in, formerly located on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Square Lake Road in Bloomfield Hills, south of Pontiac.
Before Ted's became the place to hang out and pick up members of the opposite sex while gulping down burgers, it was a lunch wagon in 1934, famous for its “World's Largest Hot Dog”. For being the World's Largest, this foot-long only set you back 35 cents.
You saw the film American Graffiti, right? All they did in that film was cruise the ave all night. That was Woodward. No, not in the movie, but that's exactly what Woodward Avenue was all about in the 1950s. Cruise up & down the ave, lookin' for chicks, scopin' the dudes, smokin' filterless cigarettes, pickin' a fight or two with the out-of-town rubes, and hittin' all the drive-ins, perusing out the date prospects at each one. Cruise by any Friday/Saturday night and kids hangin' out would be decked in letterman's sweaters, leather jackets, bobbysox, tight slacks, and poodle skirts.
And Ted's was Michigan's original.
Take a look at some photos below of Ted's, followed by a bevy of burger barns & drive-ins from Michigan's past, from the 1920s thru the 1960s!
Vintage Hamburger Diners and Michigan's First Drive-in Restaurant
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