Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lenny's Drive-in on Oberlin Avenue

Even though I grew up on the West Side of Lorain, I had never heard of Lenny's Drive-In until I saw this ad announcing its Grand Opening.

The full-page ad ran in the Lorain Journal on July 10, 1956 – 57 years ago today.

Lenny's Drive-In was in fact a Richardson Root Beer stand. In addition to the 'rich' root beer, the menu also featured 12 inch hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and super shakes.

So where was Lenny's Drive-In located? The answer: right next door to the Airport Tavern (now Mutt & Jeff's) at 3730 Oberlin Avenue. That's the Airport Tavern's siding visible in the photo.

Unfortunately, Lenny's Drive-In didn't last very long, which is why I never heard of it.

By the 1962 City Directory, it was gone and replaced at that address by the Corral Drive-In run by Bob H. Knight. The Corral Drive-In advertised steakburgers, shrimp and Southern fried chicken.

But despite its mouth-watering menu, the Corral Drive-In headed for the last roundup and was not in the 1964 City Directory. The address was simply listed as "No Return."

Very briefly, a final attempt was made to try and make a success out of a drive-in at that location. In the 1965 Directory, Mike Adams Drive-In Restaurant made its only appearance. But it too was gone in the 1966 Directory.

Finally, in the 1967 Directory, the well-known DeLuca Bakery made its appearance at that location with a 3780 Oberlin Avenue address. It's a possibility that the rear portion of the drive-in was incorporated into the larger bakery building that replaced it (see recent photo below).

In this view from the rear of the properties, that's Mutt & Jeff's
on the left and the former DeLuca Bakery building (now Rite-Nau Beverage) on the right
Today Rite-Nau Beverage Drive-Thru occupies the former DeLuca Bakery building, and carries on the drive-in tradition by providing frosty beverages to people behind the wheels of their cars.

Note the same window of Mutt & Jeff's that is visible in the Lenny's Drive-In photo
To see some still existing Richardson Root Beer stands, drop by the great Roadside Architecture website (here).


Wireless.Phil said...

The ad looks like the place at 21st and Rt 58. Its gone now and a new building is there.

Sharon Diane said...

I am SO HAPPY to see this reference to Lenny's Drive-In. In 1955 we moved into a new house on Oberlin Avenue, right across 38th Street from where Lenny's was. As a very young girl, I remember walking there with my friends for a burger and a shake. No one seems to remember Lenny's so I appreciate having my fond memories validated.