Skip’s Drive-in

If you’re from Chicagoland and of a certain age, you know about Skip’s.  Located on the south side of North Avenue, just east of First Avenue in Melrose Park, this was our most famous teen-magnet drive-in from the 1950s into the 1970s.  Technically, it was the Fiesta Restaurant.  Everyone called it Skip’s.

I have no idea if there was a real Skip.  I didn’t hang out there.  I spent most of my teens hanging out in bowling alleys, and didn’t have a car to cruise the suburbs.

Skip's Drive-In (aka Fiesta)

Two of my friends were Skip’s regulars—J Greaser from my high school, and Henry K from bowling.  They seemed to be there every weekend.  I did tag along with Henry K once.  He’d borrowed his dad’s Chrysler New Yorker, convinced the young ladies would be impressed by the chrome and tailfins and horse-power.  Like most of Henry K’s schemes, it didn’t work.

Years later, in 1976, I took the picture of what was left of Skip’s.  It was being torn down to make way for a Polk Brothers store.  Now, of course, Polk Brothers is also nothing more than a memory.

You’ll meet people who claim that Skip’s was the inspiration for Arnold’s Drive-in on the TV show Happy Days.  Maybe it was.  Could be it wasn’t.  But does it really matter?



8 Responses to “Skip’s Drive-in”

  1. 1 Ralph July 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    It was like a auto show every weekend there! Some of the coolest and hottest cars hung out there! Some drag racing on North Ave. as well!

  2. 2 Phil October 24, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I hung out at Skips from 1969 to around 1973 had a 1965 impala ss and a 1969 ford torino fastback 428 cj. went into the service and moved from the area after that, was sad to see it close but have great memories from there. Phil

  3. 3 mary July 10, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    I was a car hop there in 68 or 69. Yes it was fun….l but the pay really was 10 cents a car……and teenagers don’t tip. What a memory.

  4. 4 Judy Larson March 8, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    i was a carhop in the early 60s what a great place

  5. 6 Harry Cooper November 29, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I was there that fateful night the Illinois State Police staged their massive raid and arrested six school buses full of people. I was so lucky that I slid past even Polk Brothers and stopped at the restaurant at North Avenue and River Road, SW corner, but I saw the school buses then a mass of tow trucks come to take all the cars.

    Also a comment on what some are calling an urban legend – the girl who painted “Beat me and you can eat me” on her car. This was not a legend. Her name was Barbara and she worked in the office at Zepelak Chevrolet, later Celozzi-Ettelson. Zepelak sponsored my drag car and I knew her. She had a really fast black Chevelle. She is not an urban legend – she is real.

    • 7 philip w wiegman November 30, 2017 at 10:32 am

      I remember Barbara and here Chevelle, I had my 1969 ford Fairlane fastback 428 Super CJ at the time. We did race once for grins but at the end of the race on 64 a bunch off red lights showed up and we went our separate ways Never raced her again, to my girlfriends delight. And there was a red Chevelle with Dago Red on the side, ran him a few times. Phil

  6. 8 Sonny January 7, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    AHH ! THE GOOD OLD DAYS ! But no more .

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