Sunday, November 9, 2014

Drive-in me wild: Johnny Rockets wants to bring back the drive-in theater

A rendering of the Johnny Rockets restaurant/drive-in theater concept. Go, Johnny, go!

We've just read a news dispatch that seems just too good to be true for all of us eccentric roadside attraction fans. Johnny Rockets, the restaurant chain with a retro 1950s hamburger joint theme, has partnered with a drive-in theater company (they still have those?) with the intent of building 200 new drive-in theaters (with Johnny Rockets drive-through restaurants attached, of course) by 2018. 200! It seems like a great idea to us... the theater brings in all kinds of folks: young people who have never experienced cinema al fresco before, budget-conscious families (tickets will probably cost around $6) and older folks nostalgic for the good old days. And then Johnny Rockets get to lure everyone to their fine dining establishment for a full night of retro fun and rake in the dough. Whether or not people drive up in droves is anybody's guess (thriving drive in theaters are few and far between) but good for Johnny Rockets for having the vision to look in the rear view mirror while looking ahead.

Here's a gallery of some of the drive-ins we've come across, both thriving and abandoned, on our travels:

 Ruskin, Florida

 San Luis Obispo, California

 Shinnston, West Virginia

 Hyde Park, New York (FDR's hometown)

 Moab, Utah

Lincoln, Rhode Island
 Lincoln, Pennsylvania

 Middleboro, Massachusetts

Ruskin, Florida

Monte Vista, Colorado

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