On this day in 1933 in the town of Camden, New Jersey, eager motorists parked their automobiles on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, excited for the opening of the first ever drive-in movie theater. Advertised as entertainment for the whole family, he charged $0.25 per car and $0.25 cents per person, with no group paying more than one dollar, which is about $18.00 in today’s money.
Drive-in’s quickly became a very popular destination for families all over the country. The largest drive-in, located in Copiague, New York, was big enough to hold 2,500 cars. It also had a kid’s playground and a full-service restaurant.
Showing mainly B-movies and monster movies, drive-in’s really hit their stride after World War II. Around 1960, there were nearly 5,000 drive-in theaters across the country. They became an icon of American culture, a weekend destination for families, teens, and groups of friends.
As the price of real estate increased and more convenient forms of entertainment became popular (movie rentals, mainly), drive-ins saw a huge decline in popularity. Today, you’re lucky to find a working drive-in theater, as there are only about 500 left in the US.
One of the great things about drive-ins was the double feature. Most theaters would show two movies for the price of one and encourage patrons to visit the restaurants and snack bars in between pictures to fuel up.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of drive-in, I think hot dogs. Maybe it’s because of this fun little dancing dog I see every time I go to the theater:
But a hot dog just screams outdoor entertainment.
As most of you know, each region of the US, and even some international countries, pride themselves on their style of dog. This is no game, people. Hot dog toppings are real business and should be taken seriously (just try ordering a hot dog with ketchup in Chicago…just try).
So to celebrate the anniversary of the drive-in theater, here is a collection of awesome hot dog styles to bring to your next trip to the drive-in! If you are lucky enough to find one near you, you should absolutely check it out. I have been to a couple myself and I love them. Most charge by the car now, so pile your friends and family in the station wagon and take a nostalgic trip back to the good ol’ days!
- New York Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with mustard, sauerkraut, and onion sauce
- Carolina Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chili, chopped onions, and cole slaw
- Coney Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chili, chopped onions, and finely shredded Cheddar cheese
- Chicago Style: Hot dog in a poppy seed bun, topped with pickle spear, celery salt, tomatoes, whole pickled peppers, chopped onions, green relish, and mustard
- Kansas City Style: Hot dog in sesame seed bun, topped with sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese
- Brazil Style: Hot dog in split roll, topped with pico de gallo, corn, grated Parmesan, shredded carrots, diced ham, cilantro, and shoestring fries
- Chile Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, mashed avocado, and mayonnaise
- Guatemala Style: Bacon-wrapped hot dog in an avocado-coated corn tortilla, topped with shredded lettuce, cabbage, mayonnaise, and chopped onions
- Denmark Style: Long hot dog in a bun, topped with pickle chips, remoulade, ketchup, mustard, fried onions, and chopped onions
- Denver Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chopped red onion, green chile sauce, sour cream, and chopped jalapenos
- Memphis Style: Bacon-wrapped hot dog in a bun, topped with barbecue sauce, chopped scallions, and shredded Cheddar cheese
- Cleveland Style: Kielbasa in a bun, topped with French fries, hot sauce, and cole slaw
Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips.