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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

14 Rev-Worthy Drive-Ins and Drive-Thrus in Northern California

Pull up to these burger, taco, and falafel institutions

California rocks the drive in, that 1950s and 60s emblem of American car culture. That’s when cars first started pulling up to restaurants, and car hops — sometimes on foot, sometimes on skates — hustled from drive in to diner, and back again.

In the current health crisis, the concept is making a comeback, and it’s easy to understand why: Even diners who don’t feel safe sitting down at restaurants want to get out of the house, sometimes, and a soft serve from the comforts of one’s car might do the trick. Northern California (where American Graffiti, perhaps the most iconic nod to the drive-in era ever, was filmed) has some real throwbacks, with vintage stools and neon signs, serving everything from burgers and shakes to tacos and falafel. So hop in a car, head to the beach or the mountains, and pull up to these old-school drive-ins and drive-thrus.

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