Monday, October 3, 2011

Shoney's Big Boy Drive-Ins **HALL OF FAME EATERIES**

Shoney's #1 on Morehead St (1959 - 1979)

1962 saw the opening of a second location

By 1965, there were three locations

Close-up of the previous ad---not only are they perched on the sign, but how cool are those masks they are holding?

One of the hottest places to go in the '60's in Charlotte was the Shoney's Drive-In. The first one opened in 1959 on Morehead St in a building previously housed by the Borden Ice Cream Co. The second location (Shoney's #2) opened in 1962 on The Plaza and the third location opened on Independence Blvd just east of the Charlotte Coliseum in 1965. Many other locations would be added in the '70's, but the three original locations were widely considered the best and most symbolic for the era.

Marketing these locations involved an ad campaign that used area Charlotte students photographed at the three different locations from 1961-1968. Not only are the ads very interesting, but they give a great glimpse into the decor and ambiance of the restaurants.


  1. I stumbled across your blog via the Native Charlottean Facebook group. I am not only a fan of Charlotte/Piedmont/NC history, but I enjoy old marketing/advertising imagery. I'm in my mid-30s and aren't old enough to remember some of these awesome places (like The Drum, how cool is that!). I think it's very important to document these memories from the generations before mine because soon even the memories will be gone. Charlotte especially is too quick to bulldoze and replace these establishments, often with less-interesting structures.

    I have several old Charlotte Checkers programs and memorabilia from the late 50s-late 70s with great ads for some of the places you have on here. I'm in the process of photographing the hockey content, but will be glad to grab some of the eateries as well. Thanks for the cool history lessons!

  2. Thanks for the comment! Would love any of those eatery ads! Thanks!

  3. Just curious... where did you find all of these old Shoney's photos? I am working on a project for the company and would love to be able to use some of these images. Thanks!

  4. WOW! I grew up in the late 60's in Charlotte and was very familiar with Shoney's but I do not remember the one on the Plaza.

  5. Although a few Shoney's remain in the Carolinas, they sadly are no longer a prominent diner in the Southeast. But they still have Frisch's Big Boy in Kentucky and Ohio, Big Boy in Michigan, and Bob's Big Boy in California. All with a famous Big Boy burger and the retro statue outside. Frisch's uses tartar sauce, Bob's has a red relish, and in Michigan they use 1000 Island on the burgers. I wish Shoney's would return to Big Boy again and make a comeback in Charlotte and the Southeast..