Don’s Drive-In

Drive-In | Hamburgers | Hot Dog | Sandwich Shop | Soda Fountain
Worth a detour

A bright pink building with a neon sign in the shape of a tailfinned car, Don’s is a big slice of Americana – a burger-and-malt drive-in that dates back to 1958. It is decorated in old vinyl records, fancy hubcaps, and images of mid-century pop-culture heroes; and its menu is a roster of fast-food fundamentals. Car-hop service for in-car dining is available, as are outdoor seats with a view of the Grand Traverse Bay.

There are sandwiches (BLT, ham & cheese), chili, and a soup of the day, but the big decision to make at Don’s is whether to get a hamburger or a brace of Coney Island hot dogs. The Coney is topped with chili sauce, available regular or foot-long. The burgers come as sliders (1/8 pound), quarter-pounders, and as Big Ds, which are a couple of patties adding up to 1/2 pound. They are cooked to order — rare if you wish — and stuffed into a bun with a choice of toppings that range from mustard and ketchup to cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and olives. Seriously large appetites might want to consider a 3/4-pound Monster Burger.

Don’s is renowned for shakes and malts, blended to order and thick enough to require powerful suction with a straw. The menu includes vanilla and chocolate plus strawberry, cherry and raspberry that can be made with either syrup or, for about a dollar extra, with fresh fruit. In season, a cherry malt is thick with intensely flavorful pieces of sweet cherry.

Don’s motto: If you haven’t been to Don’s Drive-In, you haven’t been to Traverse City, Michigan.


What to Eat
Don’s Drive-In, Milk Shake
Milk Shake
Pieces of cherry clog the straw
Don’s Drive-In, Hamburger
The Big D is a half-pound of juicy beef in a bun.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday11am - 9pm
Monday11am - 9pm
Tuesday11am - 9pm
Wednesday11am - 9pm
Thursday11am - 9pm
Friday11am - 9pm
Saturday11am - 9pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 165 MILES | 3 hr 28 min

The northern part of Michigan is known to Michiganders and Midwestern vacationers as "Up North." It's a natural wonderland, surrounded by Great Lakes coastline, covered with forests and farms, and dotted with convivial taverns, town cafes, and remote restaurants with ambitious chefs as well as downhome diners and old-time drive-ins. It's cherry and apple orchard…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Friske Orchards

    Ellsworth, Michigan

    Friske’s Orchard’s cafe offers apple brats with kraut and apple relish, a (Michigan) cherry brat, and, of course four-star apple pie.

  • Cherry Hut

    Beulah, Michigan

    The Cherry Hut is a Michigan restaurant serving some of the best cherry pie anywhere– sweet and a little tart, with flaky crust that adds a savory note.

  • Cousin Jenny’s

    Traverse City, Michigan

    Cousin Jenny’s is a modern Traverse City, Michigan cafeteria that serves old-fashioned (and newfangled) pasties for both breakfast and lunch.

  • Moomer’s

    Traverse City, Michigan

    Surrounded by Michigan farmland were cows graze across the grass, Moomer’s is an ideal place to eat some of the best ice cream in the Midwest.