Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit one of the drive-in (not thru) restaurants you see in movies like “Grease”, “American Graffiti”, “The Lively Set” and “Back to the Future”? You know, the place our parents use to hang out in, even if they refute it and claim they didn’t go out at all until they were 28.
Well, now you have the opportunity to visit an authentic drive-in restaurant – if you live in New Jersey that is, or don’t mind driving a few hours or fly in to visit the Garden State.
Anyway, we visited such a place a few weeks ago, when going to the New Jersey State Fair, which is another post.
I like to plan family trips a little bit, so I was checking the wondrous web for attractions we could visit on our way to the New Jersey State Fair, which was about 1.5 hours from our house.
On a web site, I stumbled across an opportunity to get your picture taken with a life sized hot dog. When I say life sized, I’m mean my man sized (height). We had to do that. It was something weird and funny.
The place where this hot dog was based was in a place called “The Chatterbox Restaurant“.
We left the house, and had agreed to have lunch somewhere along the way, not knowing our path would cross this unique place. After an hour drive I suddenly spotted a sign for “The Chatterbox Restaurant” in less than 2 miles.
As we got closer to the place, I saw this unique and yet recognizable structure down the road. This was it. I had actually found it, and it looked like a great place to have lunch.
The choice was to have lunch in the drive-in, meaning getting your food served on a tray, which is carefully placed hanging from the window of the car. Or, we could just walk into the restaurant and have a sit-down lunch.
With 3 kids under the age of 7, the choice was already made for us. Imagine trying to eat burgers, fries and drink shakes in the car WITHOUT spilling. Yeah, not going to happen!
We walked around the building, towards to the main entrance, only to be greeted by the coolest Hot Rod and Harley’s parked next to the entrance. The kid in me emerged like a flash and I dragged my son across the parking lot, much to the surprise to him, only so I could take a picture with him standing next to these cool vehicles.
I was amazed to discover that they have Hot Rod gathering every Saturday afternoon/evening throughout the summer, which “unfortunately” means we have to come back to visit this place.
What made this place a brilliant place to have lunch with the family was:
- There was live radio being broadcast from the parking lot, by a hardcore hot rod enthusiast and he only played old tunes from the 50s and 60s.
- The menu was simple; burgers, fried chicken, burgers, fries and burgers + milkshake and coke.
- Staff and facilities are extremely family and kids friendly
- The place was packed with memorabilia from the 50s and 60s, including cars, motorcycles, signs. etc
- The kids had their food served on a cardboard Cadillac plate
The kids got photographed not only with the giant hot dog, but also with a ’56 Cadillac and a giant burger (again, my height). We were all bopping our heads to the music streaming out of the speaker system, while eating our burgers and drinking our shakes. We had a great time for lunch. The kids were especially impressed with the model train driving around under the ceiling, and their plate which was a miniature cardboard Cadillac plate … this obviously ended up on the floor in the mini van afterwards.
We gotta go back to this place. I can highly recommend it. You gotta go too.