Tony’s Drive-In Era Ends July 1986

Tony’s Drive-In Era Ends July 1986

Favorite Market Convenience Store To Build On Site

They called themselves the culprits that destroyed a teenage hangout. Back on July 10, 1986, three Arlan Roberts Construction workers of Dayton reminisced about their teenage days spent at the defunct Tony’s Drive-In Restaurant. Tim Revis, Ray Roberts and Bobby Perry, all who were in their early 30’s at the time, began razing the former drive-in. All three joked that they probably destroyed a lot of teenagers’ memories with their demolition.

Revis said when he was a teenager, Tony’s was the place to gather. The cops never bothered us unless we got a little too rowdy. Roberts added that Tony’s was the place to try and pick up girls.

Perry recalled times that you couldn’t even get on the lot to order food, for all the traffic. According to Ann Bates, “It was the only place to go”. It was the meeting place in the evening and on the weekends. Some of the popular foods to order were the little hamburgers (similar to Krystal’s) and the Brown Derby, which was an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate.

Tony Lusk, the drive-in owner was always seen with a cigar in his mouth and a white apron on. He also wore one of those little white paper hats cocked to one side.

Ann Bates recollected that one fun evening there were a group of teenagers listening to the music that was piped to the outside speakers and George Arnold was sitting there by a support post when the “Purple People Eater” song began to blast across the speakers. He hung onto the support post and went round and round singing it.

It was the summer of 1986, and Tony’s Drive-In had been closed for about a year. The demolition of Tony’s Drive-In removed the building where the hang out had once been, but a flood of memories was left behind in the minds of anyone who was lucky enough to had spent many of an evening nights just chilling out with friends.



Published byDean

Born and raised in Dayton Tennessee, I have served in various public service positions in the past. I have a great interest in the History of our town. This site is a way for me to share some of the great history of the area.

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