The Parkette Drive-In, a legendary local establishment with a history of more than 70 years, turned off its neon sign and closed on Holy Tuesday, owner Randy Kaplan confirmed to the Herald-Leader.
Known for its fried chicken, fish boxes, “Poor Boy” double-decker burgers and milkshakes, the Parkette Drive-In enjoyed a brief renaissance during the pandemic when customers settled into its vintage-style bays in the 1950s.
In the long run, however, a close relative of the family of original Parkette founder Joe Smiley told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday that the legendary Lexington restaurant simply cannot continue.
So where does that leave Lexingtonians looking for an authentic drive-in experience?
After calling various locations across the state, we’ve confirmed and compiled this list of alternatives that are still open. It includes two that are within an hour of Lexington, putting them within easy driving distance ahead of the 4th of July weekend.
Just be sure to call ahead and check with the drive-in for their hours before hitting the road.
The Drive-In Theater Bourbon, Paris
This circa-1956 drive-in features first-run movies and funnel cakes, among other concessions and combo meals.
Next holiday weekend will be busy there.
Starting at 9:20 p.m. or dusk, whichever comes first, the Bourbon Drive-In will feature the new Minions movie, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Smokey and the Bandit.”
Admission to see both films is $10 for ages 11 and up, $5 for children ages 6-10, and free for ages 5 and under.
Booth opens at 6:45 p.m.
In addition to the double feature, you can watch a fireworks display on Saturday evening.
Address: 147 Jackstown Road, Paris, KY 40361
Judy Drive-In, Mount Sterling
This weekend, the Judy Drive-In promises live music and fireworks during intermission, weather permitting.
Like the Bourbon Drive-In, the Judy features the new Minions movie all weekend and co-stars “Shrek,” in what the drive-in calls “great family programming for everyone.”
The has more details online at judydrivein.com.
Address: 4078 Maysville Road, Mount Sterling, KY 40353
Other Drive-In Options Around Kentucky
Some of them offer a drive-in cinema experience, while others do not. Be sure to check with each establishment for details before you go.
Root Beer stand, Corbin
This place stays busy on nice summer evenings in Corbin. The menu features classics like onion rings, grilled cheese sandwiches and the local Dixie Burger.
Reviews on the venue’s website praise the drive-thru’s quality of service. You can get a taste of The Root Beer Stand experience in this vlog by some locals who go there before stopping at the Dollar Store.
Address: 129 18th Street, Corbin, KY 40701
Dizzy Whizz, Louisville
Home to the Whizzburger since 1947, Dizzy Whiz retains some of its traditions from the 1940s and 1950s, including curbside service. In addition to classic burgers, there are quick breakfast options, sandwiches, soups, and a dairy bar with shakes, sundaes, banana splits, ice cream, and pies.
Address: 217 W. Saint Catherine St., Louisville, KY 40203
Email: [email protected]
Parker’s Drive-In, Paducah
This 1950s-style drive-in and restaurant has been providing family service for 30 years. In addition to your classic greasy spoon dish, it also offers catering service, according to its website.
Address: 2921 Lone Oak Road, Paducah, KY 42003
Franklin Drive-In, Franklin
This is a drive-in theater in Franklin, about a half hour south of Bowling Green near the Tennessee border. This weekend, it’s streaming the latest hits, like “Jurassic World: Dominion.”
Be sure to bring cash for ticketing, and outside food and drink is fine as long as you purchase a $5 permit.
Address: 6250 Nashville Road, Franklin KY 42134
Cinema phone: 270-790-7168
Do you have a question about Kentucky for our duty journalism team? We would love to hear from you. Complete our Know Your Kentucky form or email [email protected]
This story was originally published June 29, 2022 2:17 p.m.