Saturday, November 22, 2008

Town & Country Drive-In **CLOSED**

Above three pictures courtesy of Rick Fisher

All that's left are the menu poles...

1962 ad

Another of Charlotte's legendary restaurants has closed. The Town & Country Drive-In closed this month. Opened in 1955 on Wilkinson Blvd, the Town & Country was one of the few remaining drive-ins left in Charlotte. Located a block away from the Bar-B-Q King Drive-In and the area's oldest Dairy Queen, the Town & Country was a popular destination for everything from its famous "Cowboy Sandwich" (double-burger all the way) to its hickory-smoked barbecue. Warm nights would always find the parking lot packed. It originally opened in 1952 at the site of the former Athen's restaurant and moved to WIlkinson Blvd in 1955. Legendary Charlotte restauranteur Pete Politis was the founder of the Town & Country.

With the count of area drive-ins down to only two (South 21 on Independence and the Bar-B-Q King on Wilkinson), the Town & Country will be greatly missed.


  1. It's too bad. This looks like it was some awesome place back in its heyday.

  2. It was. Even towards the end, the Town & Country still drew big crowds.

    For years, Wilkinson Blvd was the only thoroughfare leading out of the city on the Westside. Once I-85 opened (which runs parallel to Wilkinson Blvd), the abandonment of Wilkinson began.

    During its heyday, Wilkinson Blvd was packed with restaurants and shops.

  3. What was the reason it decided to close down now?

    There were so many thoroughfares and backroad routes prior to the Interstate system. Lots of these streets had great restaurants, motels and awesome mid century modern architecture. it is ashame that most of these roads now are long forgotten or left to look deserted and abandoned.

    I love this blog, food is my favorite subject next to architecture and dead retail.

  4. There has been mention of the closing anywhere. It appears to have happened fairly suddenly. Usually when a place like this closes, there is a mention in the paper a few weeks prior to the closing which allows everyone to have one last visit. My guess would be that the latest family generation was not interested in taking over the reigns.

    This road still has many old motels and a few eateries left on it. All of them sport cool designs or other unusual attributes.

    Thanks for your comments on my blog. I also love retail and dead retail.

  5. Can that ad from 1962 possibly be correct? Could they possibly really had hickory smoked barbecue AND Kosher food at the same restaurant?

  6. Can anyone tell me if Pete Politis is still around? I remember him from the 50's-60's. My dad did construction on his restuarants. He would make us great fish sandwiches. Such memories. I think Pete and my dad were about the same age born about 1925-30. I miss Charlotte as my family moved from there about 1972. What ever happened to Ronney's Grill, they made the greasiest best sandwiches ever. Hope to hear from someone who knows like Pat R

  7. I worked there for a few years in the early 2000's. The last owners (not the ones I worked for) from what I've been told, just weren't very good at running a business. They were way behind on their rent (8 months, I think), and the power was shut off a couple of times because they didn't pay the bill. Finally, they were forced to shut it down.

    I never thought the place would close down. It's been there since 1955. I had some fun times working there.

  8. I remember going there as an underage teenager, with a driver's license and you could park behind the main building and the car hop's would always take your order for a cold Budweiser with a nice tip. Survived it all.