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Drive-thrus, drive-ins and walk-up windows in the South

Hey all--

I'll be taking a road trip from Mobile to DC via Charlotte during the heat of summer and won't be able to leave my dog in my car to go eat. I wanted to know if anyone had recommendations for local, cheap drive-thrus, drive-ins or walk up windows. I will taking the following highways:

65 from Mobile to Montgomery
85 from Montgomery to Charlotte (then on to Greensboro)
29 and 360 to Richmond (or I may stay on 85 if there's good chow)
95 to DC

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  1. 2 drive-ins that come to mind are The Varsity in Atlanta and The Beacon in Spartanburg, SC. In Greensboro, Stamey's BBQ has a drive-in thru window, although the 'q is not outstanding. Cook Out is a small chain in NC has above average fast food and is drive thru only.

    Also, since this board doesn't cover AL and VA, you may want to also post on the Central South and Mid Atlantic boards.

    1. The two that come to my mind in Charlotte are the Penguin and South 21. I'm not sure if they are worth the stop, but they fit the bill as far as cheap drive thru or drive in.

      1 Reply
      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

        The Penguin isn't a drive-in or drive thru. South 21 is pretty far off the interstate, and probably not worth the effort, imo.

      2. Price's Chicken Coop
        www.priceschickencoop.com -Takeout only, quick service. Latta Park, 601 East Park Avenue
        (http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/P...) is a great place to eat and stretch your legs after eating. Picnic tables and a large shelter if the weather is rainy. It is a very short drive from Price's so the chicken will still be warm when you arrive.

        Price's Chicken Coop
        1614 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203

        1. BBQ King in Charlotte, NC looks like an outstanding stop. It's about 2 miles South of I 85 but it's not hard to find at all. Exit I 85 @ Exit 34 at Freedom Dr. take 1st right on Ashley and go 2 miles to Hwy. 74. Take your right on 74 and BBQK is on your left right after you turn.


          There's a Cook Out at Exit 111 on I 85 at Archdale, NC just south of Greensboro. Exit @ 11 on S. Main St. take 1st right on Renola Dr. then 1st right on Interstate Drive. Cook Out is on your right.

          There's another Cook Out @ Exit 36 I 85 Goldsboro take Randleman Rd. to the right and then Cook Out is @ 2601 Randleman Rd.

          There's another Cook Out East of Goldsboro at Exit 141 on I 85 at Huffman Mill Rd. turn left and go North to Cook Out on your right.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Littleman

            I think you mean greensboro rather than goldsboro cook out is the best walkup/drive thru option get a carolina dog or a regular cheeseburger and park the car or a bojangles there is a hot dog place of I-85 in efland but I never thought the dogs were worth the wait

          2. There's a Zesto's in Atlanta, GA (Forest Park) take a right on Old Dixie Hwy. east of the airport a few miles and just past I 75. Take a right on Old Dixie go couple miles to Forest Pkwy. Zesto's is on the right.


            2620 College St, Newberry, SC 29108

            1. There's a Bo Nell's Drive Inn at 9177 Lavonia Rd., Carnesville, GA 706 - 384 - 3431. It's about half way between Atlanta and Greenville, SC.

              Take a right off I 85 at Exit 164 on Hwy. 320 go south on 320 take a left at Commerce Rd. which becomes Lavonia Rd. or Hwy. 59. Go NE a few miles to Bo Nells on left past Post Office. You can take Lavonia Rd. NE back to I 85. Good breakfast.


              There's a Blackwoods Drive In just West of Gastonia, NC that's nice. Get off I 85 @ Exit 8 to the right of I 85 to York Rd. go left on York Rd. North a few miles.

              Blackwoods Drive In @ 201 York Rd., Kings Mountain, NC. 704 - 730 - 8899.

              Old Hickory House BBQ in Charlotte, NC is not a drive in but you could call ahead and pick it up. It's been on Food Net Work Dives, Drive Ins and Diners.

              Old Hickory House BBQ @ 6538 North Tryon St., Charlotte, NC. 704 - 596 - 8014.

              You exit I 85 @ Exit # 41 to the right onto W. Sugar Creek Rd. about 2 miles to N. Tryon St. then left on Tryon about 2 miles to Hickory House on Right. Go on out Tryon Hwy 29/49 to I 85.

              1. When you go through Durham, NC on I 85 you will pass Bullock's BBQ @ 3330 Quebec Drive, Durham, NC. 919 - 383 - 3211.

                It's not too far off I 85. Probably 15/20 minutes at the most depending on traffic. You could call ahead and pick it up. It's well known. You take Exit 172 onto Hwy. 147 S. then Exit 16 A for Hwy. 15/501/70E North to Exit 108D for Hillsborough Rd. Turn right at Hillsborough then 1st left on N. Lasalle St. Take 1st right on Quebec and there you are.


                4 Replies
                1. re: Littleman

                  Good bbq places are consistently good. Bullocks is consistently bad. Not to mention the OP has expressed a preference to not take I-85 from G'boro to DC and Bullocks isn't a drive-in or drive thru.

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    If the OP does happen through Durham the most excellent Taqueria La Vaquita and it is a walk up.

                    Taqueria La Vaquita
                    2700 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707

                    1. re: carolinadawg

                      29 and 360 to Richmond (or I may stay on 85 if there's good chow)

                      1. re: Littleman

                        Yeah, and Bullocks is no reason to stay on 85.

                  2. Just north of the VA state line leaving NC in the little town of South Hill west of I 85 there's Debbie's Drive In @ 327 W. Atlantic St., South Hill, VA. You exit I 85 @ Exit # 12A for E. Atlantic St. NW. Take the Hwy. 47 road to the right immediately after passing back under I 85. About 2 miles you will find Debbies.

                    Debbies.........434 - 447 - 8136.

                    Drive In
                    505 S Pierce St, Alma, GA 31510

                    1. My husband and I travel from Richmond to Atlanta a few times a year via the same route. The Beacon in Spartansburg, SC is a must. A great Chili-Cheeseburger!! I know it is a chain, but if you get desperate, there is a Sonic on 360 (Hull Street) as you enter Midlothian/Richmond. The Varsity in Atlanta is always packed, just so you know!!

                      1. Dixie Bones @ 13440 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge, VA‎. 703 - 492 - 7885‎.


                        Just south I 95..............

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Littleman

                          I don't believe this is a drive-in or drive thru...

                          1. re: carolinadawg

                            It is not. There is a Sonic in Fredericksburg, if you're in need of one, and of course, pass by Carl's, Queen Anne Street, in Fredericksburg, for old time custard - vanilla, chocolate, strawberry (no phone or bathroom)