Don’s Drive-In

Drive-In | Hamburgers | Hot Dog | Sandwich Shop | Soda Fountain
excellent
Worth a detour
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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
Must-Try
Pieces of cherry clog the straw
Don’s Drive-In, Hamburger
Hamburger
Must-Try
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 - 10pm
Saturday11am - 10pm
Roadtrips
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…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
Yes
Website

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