Inside The Kitchen at Don’s Drive In in Traverse City

General Manager Dan Reed says Don’s Drive In has been flipping and frying in Traverse City since the 1950s.

“Well it started in 1958, nobody seems to remember the exact date though,” he said. “People love good homemade American food.

One of those people is Jim Miller, since 1983.

“They call me cinnamon Jim,” Jim said.Capture

That’s because he gets the same thing every time.

“I usually order what’s called a slider, then I get my chocolate malt with cinnamon in it,” he said.

Jim is a regular here.

“Once every three days, four days, something like that,” he said.

But seven days a week, you can order your favorite meal with a side of something sweet, a shake.

“Hand dipped ice cream, real ice cream,” Dan said. “Then we come over to our fruit real strawberries.”

He says they’ve earned some national recognition.

“USA Today voted Don’s Drive In the best shake in all of Michigan,” he said.

But it’s all more than a meal. It’s an experience.

“This is a landmark,” Dan said.

Time stands still in this dining room.

“Old cars, old rock and roll signs, stuff like that that brings back memories, good memories,” said Jim.

“The elderly appreciate it because it’s what they grow up with, and kids, they’ve never seen anything like it,” Dan said.

But you don’t even have to step foot in the door to get that 50’s feel, thanks to their carhop service.

“We go outside, we wait on ’em, come back in, punch in the order, get it all done and get it out to them,” he said.

“It’s something different, it kind of goes back to the days I remember they had diners with drive ups, that was a big thing in my day,” said Jim. “It’s hard to find places like that these days, especially where the food is so good.”

You can call Don’s Drive In at 231-938-1860, and find them at 2030 US-31 in Traverse City.

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Categories: Inside the Kitchen