Big Top Drive-In, Evansville IN

We had a pretty decent night’s sleep at our hotel in Evansville, and then we went out to take some pictures and do some shopping, and, at nine, arrived at the Children’s Museum of Evansville just as they opened. It’s a really great museum that uses its space very, very well. It occupies the former home of the city’s main library, the building having been constructed in 1931, and dedicated to the memory of a local temperance crusader. So no drinking in today’s chapter, okay? Continue reading “Big Top Drive-In, Evansville IN”


Mr. D’s, Henderson KY

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that some amazingly good fried chicken originally brought me to the Henderson area. That’s no longer available, although the rights to the old Bon Ton recipe can be purchased or leased for a price. Our friend Louis Hatchett was very clear that while nobody’s fried chicken was quite like the Bon Ton’s, there was some pretty good stuff available at a drive-in called Mr. D’s. Continue reading “Mr. D’s, Henderson KY”

Big Chief Drive-In, Glencoe AL

So, on this trip to Alabama, we took a quick break from barbecue to visit a terrific A-frame restaurant. The Big Chief is in the town of Glencoe, right outside Gadsden, and it was originally built in 1963 as a Jack’s Hamburgers – although this was not the same Jack’s as the large fast food chain with locations all around Alabama and southern Tennessee, and in the towns of Tallapoosa and Carrollton in west Georgia. This Jack’s was owned by Jack Locklear, and he had one store here and another in Fort Payne. I’ve not found any evidence that there were any Jack’s Hamburgers other than these two, but would love to be corrected on that point. Continue reading “Big Chief Drive-In, Glencoe AL”

Walls’ Drive-In, Cannelton IN (CLOSED)

Walls’ Drive-In ranks among the most difficult places to find of all the restaurants we’ve visited since 2010, and it simply should not be that way. Let’s note the problem finding the place first before anything else. Its address, which I confirmed when I visited, is simply “Highway 66.” I plugged that into Google Maps in late May, and it found a site twenty miles west, literally at the next bridge downstream. They finally seem to have figured it out about a week ago. The young lady working the window confirmed that their delivery drivers often complain that they can’t find the place. Continue reading “Walls’ Drive-In, Cannelton IN (CLOSED)”

Johnnie’s Drive-In, Tupelo MS

There are certainly a number of establishments in Tupelo and in Memphis that trade as much as possible on the Elvis tourism dollar. One of these is Johnnie’s Drive-In, which originally opened in 1945 and is allegedly where the young Elvis liked to come for a meal from time to time. What’s said to be his favorite booth, one of maybe eleven in the small dining room, has a plaque on the wall. It’s easy to miss the plaque, surrounded as it is by all the memorabilia, including the newspaper accounts of his death that you see at lots of restaurants in the region. There is something of a shortage of proof in this claim. Some say that the whole Elvis connection was concocted in the wake of his death. A comment at the Tiny Travels in Mississippi blog – linked below – calls hooey on the whole thing. After all, the Presleys did move to Memphis when Elvis was only thirteen. Continue reading “Johnnie’s Drive-In, Tupelo MS”

Maurice’s Piggie Park Barbecue, West Columbia SC

Last month, I indulged on another barbecue road trip. I’ll relate the details in the next chapter, and use the space here to talk about my experience at one of South Carolina’s best-known barbecue joints, Maurice’s. It’s a pretty large family-owned business, similar in size and local impact to, say, Country’s Barbecue in Columbus and eastern Alabama, Buddy’s in Knoxville, or Golden Rule in Birmingham. The business as we can perceive it today dates back to 1953, but it claims a somewhat older lineage on the strength of its bottled sauce, which the current owners’ grandfather, Joe Bessinger, began selling in a restaurant in Holly Hill SC in 1939. (A restaurant called Villa Tronco, also in Columbia, claims to be the oldest continually-operating one in the state, and was founded in 1940.) Continue reading “Maurice’s Piggie Park Barbecue, West Columbia SC”

Snow White Drive-In, Lebanon TN

On my Nashville to-do list: visit a whole lot more hot chicken places, visit a whole lot more barbecue places, and see Brooke and Matt get married. We marked off one of the three on this trip, and slightly dented the very, very long barbecue to-do list. Continue reading “Snow White Drive-In, Lebanon TN”