Delicious Drive-In Diners

4/3/2019 - Oliver Debe

Drive In Restaurants in Kenosha WI
Drive In Restaurants in Kenosha WI

Kenosha, Wisconsin is the ideal place to live, work, play, and visit.  Conveniently located in the middle of the Chicago and Milwaukee corridor just off Interstate 94, Kenosha has become the welcoming city into Wisconsin and has something to do any day of the week.  Our city offers a very-accessible Lake Michigan shoreline, talented sports teams, music and theater arts programs, rocking summer festivals, hip bars, tasty restaurants, and cozy coffee shops. There are event vintage streetcars, a trolley, funky art galleries, Jockey underwear outlets (and the World Headquarters for the company!), world-class museums, and so much more! Kenosha has it all and there is something for everyone.  

For visitors, Kenosha can provide either a short day trip or long weekend getaway. There is even enough to make a week of it this summer. The city allows visitors to relax, rejuvenate, and explore  -  or you can plan an action-packed trip if that is more your pace! No matter what you decide to do during your visit, you’ll have to eat. Two iconic dining spots in Kenosha are our drive-in diners.  These are honest-to-goodness, drive-up joints with carhop service.  I highly recommend and encourage you to check them out or visit them again if you have already experienced their charm! 

Big Star Drive-In

Established in the spring of 1954 and originally called Washington Road Drive-In, Big Star Drive-In has become an iconic restaurant on the north side of Kenosha. It is located just across the street from the historic the Washington Park Velodrome – making it a popular spot in the summer on race nights.  After three generations of managing the drive-in, Big Star consistently has a line of cars in its parking lot full of Kenoshans and visitors alike - all eager to enjoy a classic hamburger, fries, and a chocolate shake.  My favorite sandwich is the chicken sandwich with jalapeno poppers and a vanilla shake! But, I promise there is something for everyone to enjoy – including corn dogs, fish, and more.

Riding your bike or going for a walk by the lake?  Detour a few blocks west and check out Big Star’s picnic tables.  On a time crunch?  Call ahead and order your food so it is ready for pick-up.  The drive-in is cash only, so be sure to plan ahead if you are a credit/debit card user. (This retro drive-in doesn’t accept Apple Pay – get cash at the ATM on your way over!) Big Star is open seasonally, from early March through Labor Day.  

The Spot Drive-In

Another drive-in icon in our community is The Spot Drive-In. Affectionately known as “The Spot” – this diner has been around since July 4, 1945.  Providing high quality hamburgers, hot fries, and homemade root beer in an frosted mug – this is a south side favorite.  This “spot” is open year-round, and offers car-hop service even in the winter months.  Also a cash only venue, there is an ATM located on the property for your convenience. 

When I am craving the Spot Drive-In, my go to order is a root beer, fries, and a double cheeseburger with everything on it!  Whether for lunch or a late night snack (they are open after bar close), the Spot Drive-In has everything that you will need for a quick, easy, and delicious meal.  The Spot is also know for the orignial "Root Beer Whirl" - a Root Beer Shake that blends the drive-in's homemade root beer with vanilla ice cream for a fabulous treat. 

Live like a local and try both! There is a strong affinity to these two drive-ins by locals – many prefer the drive-in that they grew up with, making it a northside vs. southside rivalry.  You’ll have to decide for yourself which is your favorite drive-in. Raise your frosted mugs of root beer or your delicious shake to great dining and drive-in weather in the Kenosha Area!

Community Blog Team 2018

Oliver Debe

Community Blogger

Kenosha Native, recently returned. Working in the Hospitality Industry via the Education Sector. Alumnus of DePaul University. Enjoys traveling, Supper Clubs, and attending music festivals.