Landmark Drive-In Closes For Renovation

LEXINGTON, KY -- A landmark Drive-In restaurant best described as a page out of the movie "American Graffitti" closed its doors Saturday night for a winter makeover, to return renewed in the Spring, according to one of the owners.

The "Parkette Drive-In," is now owned by a group of investors including Lexington businessman-entrepreneur Alan Stein. The nostalgic establishment flipped its last burgers -- locally known as "Poor Boys" and fried its last batch of fries for the season, generating rumors, and phone calls from concerned residents fearing that it was closing for good.

Stein told WKYT-TV that the owners want to spruce up the 1950s style restaurant and they plan an April 1st reopening. "It's not the end by any means," said Stein. Stein and the group of investors took over the restaurant in 2003.

Stein told the Lexington Herald-Leader he would not, however, rule out "selling the restaurant, if someone wants to buy it and maintain it as the Parkette."

The Parkette was opened by Joe Smiley in 1951 before New Circle Road was completed, off a gravel road at Liberty Road. Lexington Babyboomers in particular grew up with the institution which sparks memories of car-hops with ponytails, gliding on roller-skates serving burgers, fries and shakes, to waiting "hot cars."

Stein says the partners bought the restaurant to preserve a piece of Lexington History. He told the Herald-Leader, "The building is very, very old and very tired, and we need to keep the same spirit of the restaurant, and we have some fun ideas for improving it, but we're really not ready to talk about them yet."

Stein also promised 27 Newsfirst that when the Parkette reopens, he plans to drive his 1964 Corvette to the ceremony marking the occasion.

-Some information for the story from: The Lexington Herald-Leader.

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