By June 14, 2013 Read More →

ChefView-Taste of American Graffiti

Chef View By Dana Johnson

A Taste of American Graffiti by Dana Johnson

With American Graffiti running rampant throughout Modesto as the excitement builds as George Lucas will be the Grand Marshall in this year’s parade, I thought it fitting to visit our local drive-ins and see what smells so dang good and what’s shakin’!

Established in 1957 A & W Root Beer Drive-In located at 1404 G St. was one of the inspirations for the1973 movie American Graffiti. Cruisers would meet here for burgers, fries, floats, and milkshakes before heading to McHenry for a night of cruising. Johnny and Tammy Matthews have been the proud owners for the past 13 years. The restaurant still operates in the same premise of years past, right down to the food server on roller skates! Yes, Jessica Briseno, at the mega energized age of 23 has been working in roller skates for the past 6 years and has been promoted to shift manager. Jessica’s favorite menu item is the Papa Burger! I’d call it the Gi-normous Papa Burger as its size isn’t for just any Papa to handle. For me, I totally went for the hand-crafted root beer float to wash down my tasty fries and instantly had a Dana~licious moment!

A special note of gratitude to Dub and Bonnie Kyle for meeting me at the A & W in their 1946 Mercury, the car George Lucas will be riding in as Grand Marshal in the parade. The Kyle’s Mercury is a lush apricot color with swirl designs that make this classic a real beauty. Don Woods, president of Modesto’s Chevy Car Club also was there with several friends showcasing their mint condition classic cars! My daughters, Amanda and Scarlett, and friend Giselle were impressed and thrilled to be a part of this cool photo shoot! Thank you everyone!

Next stop Sno-white Drive In. Located at 1841 Yosemite Blvd. Modesto. It was just like out of a classic movie when I pulled up on a Saturday night. I parked under the original Sno-white Drive In neon sign from the 60’s; there it was, a shiny red 1965 Chevy Super Sport Impala low-rider! This little roadside drive in was pretty busy, but I had to meet the owner of this classic car! Right there on the patio was Sonny, Gloria, and son Trent Quisol out for burgers. Trent loved the chili burger! Yes, I interrupted their family meal as I was excited to learn more about their car and the Modesto Chapter Impalas Car Club, also on Facebook. Sonny happens to be 1 of the 4 founders of the Impalas Car Club and is actively involved in helping the community. The car club members and their families do some amazing things throughout the year for charity. They don’t just drive their cars, they actually do backpack drives, turkey drives, and toy drives, too! Way to go!

Adel Asumari has been the Sno-white owner and hands on 7 days a week running this traditional drive in for over 10 years. He loves it! This small place sure does boast a big menu. From breakfast burritos, burgers, Philly cheese steaks, corn dogs, to the sweeter side of shakes, floats, frosties, sundaes, and ice cream specialties! Love that they also make the classics like malts and banana boats! After visiting with some of the patrons it was clear the Knockout Burger was the most popular! Still full from my last stop, I know you will find me back to sample on all that looked and smelled Dana~licious!

I didn’t ask them the signature Modesto View question Beatles or Stones, but I’m sure as they all love was it classic, they would have said both!

What an extra fun time to live, dine, and partake in a wide array of festivities in Modesto! From the downtown parade to Mo Bands at the Mancini Bowl, you are guaranteed to enjoy some of the best of Modesto. Then there’s the diverse and distinct dining establishments peppered throughout the city to temp your taste buds!

Also checkout these other drive-ins in Modesto when you’re out getting your American Graffiti on!:

Sonic Drive In – McHenry, Orangeburg

Scenic drive In – Scenic Drive

MOAB – Tully Web’s – 7th St & Yosemite

Gary’s Drive In – Paradise Road



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