The Parkette Drive-In, a local legendary establishment with a history spanning more than 70 years, powered down its neon sign and closed for good 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 patrons pulled into its vintage, 1950s style bays.
In the long-term, however, a relative close to the family of original Parkette founder Joe Smiley told the Herald-Leader Wednesday the storied Lexington eatery just could not go on.
So where does that leave Lexingtonians looking for an authentic drive-in experience?
After calling around to various venues around 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, easily putting them within driving distance ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
Just be sure to call ahead and check with the drive-in about its hours before hitting the road.
The Bourbon Drive-In Theatre, Paris
This circa-1956 drive-in theater features first-run films and funnel cakes, among other concessions and combo meals.
The upcoming holiday weekend will be a busy one there.
Starting at 9:20 p.m. or dusk, whichever comes first, the Bourbon Drive-In will show the new Minions movie, “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” and “Smokey and the Bandit.”
Admission to see both films is $10 for those ages 11 and older, $5 for children between 6 and 10 years old and free for those 5 and younger.
The concession stand opens at 6:45 p.m.
On top of the double feature, you can catch a fireworks display Saturday evening.
Bourbon Drive-In Theatre
Address: 147 Jackstown Road, Paris, KY 40361
Judy Drive-In, Mt. Sterling
This weekend, the Judy Drive-In is promising live music and fireworks at intermission, weather permitting.
Like the Bourbon Drive-In, the Judy is showing the new Minions movie all weekend long and co-featuring “Shrek,” in what the drive-in calls “a great family line-up 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 these offer a drive-in movie experience, while others do not. Be sure to check with each establishment for more details before you head out.
Dizzy Whizz, Louisville
Home of the Whizzburger since 1947, Dizzy Whiz still holds on to some of its traditions from the 1940s and 50s, including curbside service. Along with classic burgers, there’s fast 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
Parker’s Drive-In, Paducah
This 1950s-style drive-in and diner has offered family-owned service for 30 years. Along with your classic, greasy spoon fare, it also offers catering, according to its website.
Address: 2921 Lone Oak Road, Paducah, KY 42003
Franklin Drive-In, Franklin
This is a drive-in movie theater in Franklin, about a half hour south of Bowling Green near the Tennessee border. This weekend, it’s playing the latest hits, like “Jurassic World: Dominion.”
Make sure you bring cash for the box office, and outside food and drink is OK as long as you purchase a $5 permit.
Address: 6250 Nashville Road, Franklin KY 42134
Movie phone: 270-790-7168
Wigwam Drive-In, Ravenna
This drive-in has no website, but Google reviews of the menu show breakfast options, sandwiches and more.
Address: 419 3rd St., Ravenna, KY 40472
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