Drive-In Trades Burgers and Fries for Bourbons and Ryes
Having grown up in the 1950s, Claude Embery had fond memories of the many drive-ins that thrived all over Chrislip. The drive-ins came and went. Like so many things of the ’50s – coonskin caps, hot rods, James Dean – you just don’t see as many of them around anymore. Claude was saddened by this.
But the Good Lord smiled on him recently when his uncle was killed in a natural gas explosion and left his favorite nephew $100,000. Claude borrowed $25,000 from that nephew and opened his own drive-in.
It was a dream come true, except in Claude’s dream, his drive-in had customers.
“People seemed to love the idea of my drive-in,” he remembers. “The neon, the Buddy Holly songs, the carhops on roller skates. But hardly anybody stopped in. They’d drive by, honk and wave, and cruise right into the parking lot of Dingo’s Bar just down the road.”
That’s when Claude had his brainstorm. Instead of chili dogs and onion rings, he would sell something that wasn’t around in the 1950s: liquor.
Goodbye, curley fries. Hello, vodka stingers.
The atmosphere hasn’t changed. The carhops in their ’50s garb still rollerskate from car to car as the neon glows and the Buddy Holly music blares. But now their trays are laden with scotch and tequila.
Business is booming. “People stop on their way home from work, on their way to work, and every hour of the day and night,” says Claude. “It does my heart good to see our local businesmen sitting in their cars, knocking back one scotch rocks after another.”
Since switching to liquor, alcohol-related car accidents have quintupled in Chrislip, and drunk driving arrests are up nearly 3%. Claude doesn’t believe his drive-in is responsible for this, as he is not convinced that there’s any proven correlation between drinking alcohol and drunk driving.
“Sure, when people leave my drive-in, they’re often traveling at a high rate of speed and driving on the left side of the road,” he says. “But how do we know that they’re not simply trying to make any English visitors feel at home?