Diners and drive-ins have been exciting hungry travelers and local patrons for generations. From neon lights to homestyle country cooking, these eclectic restaurants come in as many shapes and sizes as the milkshakes they serve. Cruise with your pooch to these pet-friendly restaurants that offer a nostalgic throwback and treats worth going out to fetch.
Posted by Billy Francis
Since its first location opened in 1954, Dick’s Drive-In has provided Seattleites with a place to park easily, get food in a hurry, and pay less than the usual sit-down joints. If Fido’s drooling at the sight of your Deluxe with fries and a shake, Dick’s recommends you split a plain hamburger patty with him. Check out one of the old-school locations across the city to see why local pups keep coming back for refills.
After dinner at the flagship location, head back to Staybridge Suites Seattle Fremont and check out the Emerald City skyline from the pet-friendly rooftop deck.
Bring your Beagle to Howley’s Diner in West Palm Beach. Built in 1950, this historic diner was lovingly restored by the current owner in 2004 and has been attracting people and pups to the dog-friendly patio ever since. With the motto “Cooked in sight, must be right,” the menu brings local and organic ingredients to greasy spoon surroundings. Dogs are given a water bowl to cool down from the Florida heat, and you can order your hungry howler an organic dog treat while you eat breakfast, burgers and more.
Spend the night in this Airbnb studio with a hot tub situated in a garden sanctuary near Howley’s.
The neon lights and monster burgers at Westside Drive-In have fulfilled the folks of Boise since 1957. Yes, the burgers may have gone up in price from the 15 cents people paid back then, but they’re still an affordable way of feeding your two- and four-legged family. While you’re chowing down and slurping on a shake, your furry friend can devour an ice cream with dog biscuits sprinkled on top.
Featured on The Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," The Oinkster is a beloved LA restaurant with a patio for pups. Chef/owner Andre Guerrero combines his passion for American classics with his Filipino heritage to bring a menu stacked full of favorites including burgers piled high with meat and toppings, Belgian-style fries, and an ube shake made with purple yams.
You might need a break after attempting to finish The Oinkster’s Royale. If you do, catch a movie at Glendale’s Electric Dusk Drive-In. Then, hit the snooze button at the Residence Inn Los Angeles Pasadena Old Town.
Established in 1928, The Varsity in downtown Atlanta is the oldest drive-in restaurant on our list, and perhaps the most well known. The ATL institution sprawls over two city blocks and welcomes dogs and their owners to dine in style, the same way people have for almost a century, in the comfort of their vehicles. No trip to Hotlanta is complete without a hot dog and shake from The Varsity!
With locations in 46 states, it’s hard to imagine Sonic Drive-In’s humble beginnings as a one-off restaurant in Oklahoma called Top Hat Drive-In. The secret canine menu varies at each location and can include a whipped cream dessert, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or even a pooch-friendly burger patty. Sonic Drive-In off US 40 in Oakley, KS, even has an attached dog park for road trippin’ pups to use during stops.
After a visit to the Oakley location and a romp in the dog park, hibernate like a hedgehog at Kansas Country Inn.
My Dog Duke’s Diner
My Dog Duke’s Diner has become a staple for Lynchburg locals who love breakfast with a best friend. The name comes from the owner’s white Lab, Duke, a fun-loving guy who can sometimes be spotted on the patio with other pups. If you’re visiting for breakfast, try The Duke Sandwich, which includes a side of home fries or grits. Lunch guests can sink their teeth into the Diner Burger from the restaurant’s selection of handhelds. Meanwhile, Fido can enjoy a bowl of water and a treat on the house.
Meet more local mutts after your meal at Blackwater Creek Dog Park. Reserve a room at Craddock Terry Hotel and Event Center for an overnight stay. No one will judge you if you head back to Duke’s in the morning for another tasty meal.
Experience old-school car-hopping at the Kiltie Drive-In, where servers in kilts deliver homemade frozen custard to your car door. The Swingin’ Sixties are still very much alive at this iconic Oconomowoc eatery. Four-legged customers can enjoy one of Kiltie’s trademark dog sundaes when they pull up.
Spend the night at this quiet country home on the other side of Oconomowoc Lake. With access to the lake path, guests are free to walk around the water and back to Kiltie for round two.
Mr. D's Route 66 Diner
Planning a Route 66 road trip with your dog? Be sure to add Mr. D's Route 66 Diner in Kingman to your list of stops. This bright beacon of mouthwatering meals is a welcome place to pull over and refuel with burgers, fries, milkshakes and more. Dogs are welcome to join you on the colorful pink picnic tables outside and can cool off with a bowl of water.
Classic 50's Drive-In
Owned and operated by one family for more than 60 years, Classic 50’s Drive-In is a wistful road trip down memory lane. Park and put up your pooch’s paws as you select from a menu full of classic diner dishes. Don’t drive off without grabbing yourself a Sprittle for the road. This colorful concoction is a mixture of Sprite and Skittles you never knew you needed.
The sugar rush might inspire you to dash around with your dog at Norman Community Dog Park at Griffin Park. If you’re spending the night in Norman, the La Quinta Inn & Suites Oklahoma City Norman offers a cozy landing spot for you and your pup.
Mel’s Drive-In first sprouted to life in San Francisco at the start of the Golden Age for drive-in dining in 1947. Film fans will recognize the hip hangout from George Lucas’ 1973 cult classic, “American Graffiti.” Nowadays, diners can enjoy Mel’s on wheels across California. At all locations, you can indulge in a nutrient-packed liquid breakfast from Erik’s Juice and Smoothie Bar, and order classic American comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. f you want to get a taste of the good times, head to Mel’s Drive-In on Geary Boulevard in the city where it all began, San Francisco.
Extend your stay in the Golden City at this pet-friendly apartment on the marina. Fido can relax off-leash in the walled backyard.
Burger Master Drive-In
Burger Master Drive-In is known to local old-timers as “The Chalet,” which was its name when J.C. Morgan opened it in 1967. The business has passed through many different owners over the years, finally settling back with Morgan’s grandson in 2016. Distract your canine copilot with an ice cream-covered dog treat while you devour a hickory burger and a delicious dipped cone.
After filling up at the drive-in, set off on a great American tubing adventure from Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing, located just across the river. Dry off and camp with your canine at Townsend / Great Smokies KOA next door to the restaurant.
Vicco’s Charcoal Burger Drive-In
Vicco’s Charcoal Burger Drive-In is home to a collection of memorabilia that will transport any visitor back to opening day in 1953, including original gas pumps, classic cars and other gleefully restored items. Charcoal chefs recommend a plain patty for peckish pups.
The King Eddy
Opened in 2014, The King Eddy is one of the newest restaurants on the list. Claiming to be home to Ottawa’s best burger, Fido might not be the only one who starts drooling when ‘The King Eddy Burger’ is served up. Made with fresh beef ground in house every day, it’s a classic double cheeseburger with no added seasoning or salt. Order an extra patty for your pup to share and a bowl of water to help him wash it down.
After lunch, feed your outbound hound’s hunger for adventure with a trip out of the city center to Stony Swamp Conservation Area. Book a room at Andaz Ottawa Byward Market and enjoy views across the city from the rooftop terrace.