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Car Hop Service at Staley’s Drive In Restaurant

Staley’s first restaurant pictured above with “Curb Service” in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was a constructed in 1937 in conjunction with a local oil company. In addition to food, Shell gasoline and oil products were sold at the restaurant at this location.

The lead image shows a couple in a Plymouth two-door hardtop at Staley’s second restaurant which opened in 1959. This new facility served both drive in and sit down diners inside of the building. The concrete islands in the “Car Hop” section of the lot supported both the menu and the individual pull-up stations for each car complete with tray supports, and a microphone and speaker for placing orders.

The last photo below shows another Staley’s restaurant that opened in Winston-Salem in 1957 that served “Charcoal Steaks,” its specialty. The building has survived and today is an Italian Steak House.

Share with us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of Winston-Salem Time Traveler.

27 responses to “Car Hop Service at Staley’s Drive In Restaurant

    • Took Driver’s Ed in a later version Lark with V-8 and 3-on-the-tree. A big eye-opener when compared to Dad’s ’63 Impala with a Stove Bolt 6 (well, really a 3rd generation L6 introduced after the ‘Blue Flame ended in 1962) and Powerglide (misnomer if I ever heard one). Teach would let us take it out on Lincoln Blvd. just north of LAX to let us feel a bit of acceleration and speed! Yahoo!

    • I taught driver education to foreign students at S.F. State College in the mid-Sixties, using ex-state government cars. These early grey Larks had suffered much abuse, with more to come in some hair-raising moments.
      The instructor had a set of brakes and an engine kill switch on the right side, and we certainly needed them sometimes. But the Larks served us well for several years.

  1. (heavy sigh…) I was definitely born about 15-20 years too late! Oh to have been at any of these drive-ins back in the day!! Closest I ever got was one last A&W drive-In that survived into the 70s when I got my license. By the time I graduated, it was a Walgreens.

  2. Drive-Ins were the traveling circus of our youth; everyone showing off their cars and girls friends. A steady line of honking cars nightly parading up and down the streets of town and around the restaurant. Beer drinking out of the sight of the cops….Fun times and mostly harmless in those post-war days.

    • You have called this one right on the button.
      I also have fond memories of the cruise nights and seeing some of the most awesome cars with horse power ,looks and of coarse cool chicks.
      A burger, fries and a tall root beer were always a standard item.
      I recall marrying my first wife as a result.
      That of coarse is another story.

  3. In the 1st pic, I’d say these kids got daddy’s Plymouth, and what, no tire marks on the pavement? That was a given in any drive-in I was at. Sometimes, if you had a not so powerful car, you could get the tire spinning on the oil blotches.

  4. Yes sir, tire marks were a way of life at the Richy Creme and the South Pole for us in Tennessee too, Howard A ! It just HAD to be done ! These are some great photos, and those were great times…sure miss some of the goofy stuff we did, but then I never got old or mature, ha !

    • For us in Milwaukee, it was Marc’s Big Boy, any McDonalds, Kitt’s Custard ( still there on Capitol Dr) , Leon’s , Kopps, Gilles, and Pig N’ Whistle, allegedly, the model for Arnold’s in Happy Days. You could make an evening cruising through them all, and we did.

  5. In the 4th photograph, center, is a 1958 OLDSMOBILE Dynamic 88 Holiday Coupé, flanked by a 1955 CHEVROLET [with a V8 engine and not a One-Fifty] and a two-door 1956 PONTIAC Chieftain Catalina.

    In the same picture, lower left corner, is a two-tone 1955 BUICK Century.

  6. In the earliest photo, going by the mouldings that looks to be a 1951 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special – except it looks to be a two door car.

    Front and centre in the last photo is a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Seville. On the left is a ’56 Coupe DeVille – (Coop Devil as I recall them being called when I was in the US in ’78). And on the right a ’55 Olds 98 sedan.

    • Sorry Mark, that Caddy is a ’54…evidenced by the chrome strip that ends on the passenger door. The full vertical reveal moulding below the rear 1/4 window is another clue. You are right on that Eldo tho…..

  7. One more time, Great pictures and settings!
    The wheel covers on the Plymouth in the 1st pic were pretty popular to put on any car in the 60’s. They looked a lot like ‘discs’ In my town we had several drive-ins, and the ones at each end of town were a couple of miles apart. Driving in endless circles from one to the other was the ‘drag’. Like ‘American Graffiti’. See and be seen. And if you had broken up with your girl you would hurry to get out at night and make the drag so you could meet her going the other way and ignore her.

  8. In the third image, the car on the left in the parking lot is a ’57 Ford 300 Custom (two tone paint and a backseat). My father bought a ’57 Business Coupe that summer to drive to work. No back seat, single tone paint job, inline 6 cylinder. My dad was cheap; the businessman coupe was $200 less expensive than the Custom 300. Turns out the ’57 Businessman coupe is somewhat rare and collectable. Only about 6500 were built and most went to the salvage yards within a decade.

  9. I agree about those ’57 Plymouth wheel covers. Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s I had them on a couple of my cars in high school. Also, it was strange how many ’57 Plymouths were seen driving around without them.

    • They were 14″ stainless steel. Some aftermarket ones were 15″ plated steel. They got rusty before long. I put screw on Moon’s on my dad’s 57 Plymouth post 2 dr and used it to tow my 29 roadster circa 1958.

  10. The images themselves are interesting. The first, third, and fourth we’re evidently shot with a very wide-angle lens, unusual for those days, perhaps to make the place look bigger. The second was shot with a telephoto lens, which compresses the image.

  11. Staley’s Drive -In Restaurant, in Winston-Salem, N.C., may or may not have been the first to have a : Remote controlled: “Robot order – taker mechanism”, at each Auto food service parking position . Good news and bad news: Hiring practices at “Drive-ins” in Los Angeles Calif, included the requirement that the Waitress was “attractive”, portrayed “pleasantness” in taking their order, (or politely declining a Proposition!), delivering the quality food & drink, presenting the bill, removing the tray, and a pleasant good -by – thank you. This was preceded by turning on your Auto headlights for anything that required your Waitress, for- during the Customer’s visit., from start to finish. The bad news was: Robot Mechanisms do not replace the total personal activity of a good Waitress from the beginning to end of a visit cycle ! It is “bad theater” and in-human. Ladies or men both appreciate the Human, as She is also: “An extension of the Quality of the food in the kitchen”. I finally accepted automatic transmissions, 35 years ago, but I can also shift gears & “double -clutch”, on up & down shifts! I believe that a Robot arm with drive-in movie speaker to take orders, — is in the same territory as “self- driving cars “!!! ( An answer to a question that almost NOBODY asked!) Just sayin’ Edwin W. Anybody else out there, for Robots & driverless cars? Now, we are seeing that they cannot replace a responsible driver! (I knew that!)

  12. Yes we had three driveins in my town in High school days I drove a Model A Ford roadster, could get three girls in the front seat (it was fun to shift ) we were all thin in those days (1953) . Great times and good memories 1

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