You want to talk guilty pleasures? Let’s talk Mark’s.
Quad Cheese Burgers. Milkshakes so thick they need some time to melt. Orders taken at the walk up, waits handled by buzzer. Every time I’m through Livingston, it’s a must stop. When they close for the winter, it’s local tragedy. When they reopen in the spring, rejoicing.
The RB Drive in opened around 1945 as the Root Beer stand. For some great historical photos of it, please see: http://www.helenahistory.org/rb_drive_in.htm. Originally the foam of the pouring root beer was trimmed in horizontal bands of neon and sat on much higher poles. It appears the building is the same one, but has seen many minor changes over the years which have entirely changed the look.
Every drive in I’ve been to out here has had a different set up for ordering and getting your food delivered. Mark’s in Livingston is a walk up to order, walk up pick up and then you eat in your car. Ford’s in Great Falls had car hop ordering and delivery. Scotty’s you order inside a building and eat outside. You get the idea. The RB still has those classic push to talk menu boards at each parking place. A large picnic pavilion has been built at the far end of the parking lot, but we ate in the car.
RB Drive In
932 Helena Ave, Helena, MT 59601
Children’s Cheesenurger. Also interesting that they offer a wide variety of Phosphates. Not something you see much these days.
Scotty’s has a nice space age look to the sign, and to the curvature of the supports for the canopy. Things get a bit visually cluttered with the retro tin signs and back-to-the-fifties theme on the inside, but on the whole it plays it pretty close to the original concept. They make a nice drive-in burger with just the right crust to the flat-top grilled meat.
The Barrel Drive in was located on 301 north of Glen Burnie. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything else about the place on the internet- so if you have any information or memories- please drop me a line!
Noted neon preservationist Norman James was kind enough to send me a photo of “The Barrel” when it was still operational.
I was sent these pictures by my old man, who visited on Friday.
The Frazer diner is a 1935 O’Mahony, originally located in and named the Paoli diner. (Paoli is also the home of the Philadelphia curling club, where I’ve spent a lot of time). It was moved in 1957 to its current location, just down the road, in Frazer. It was renovated/restored in 2002.
A photo of it before the work was done, showing the old awnings, can be found at: http://www.agilitynut.com/p/frazer.jpg
A photo of the old neon sign can be found at: The American Roadside
The Charcoal Pit- original location – North Wilmington
The Charcoal Pit Tradition dates back to September 1956 when it first opened its doors. The “Pit” – referred to by loyal customers, became such an instant success that only after three months from the grand opening, it was decided to build more room for its long line of hungry customers. The “Pit” went from a small four table and a counter burger joint to a 115 customer-seating establishment.