Tony’s Drive In

Tony’s Drive In

Tony's Drive In Originated As The Freez-Ette

When speaking of Tony’s Drive-In, the  photo below taken in 1973  is what comes to mind. Reminiscing of the days when “circling Tony’s” and just hanging out was the thing to do. Young and old enjoyed pulling onto the lot and having a carhop come out to your car and take your order.

The restaurant business began early in Tony Lusk’s life when he started working for the Krystal Company in the early 1930’s. He was citywide manager for them in Memphis, Tennessee for several years.

Tony later returned to Dayton and obtained Mansfield’s Restaurant at the corner of 1st and Market Street.

During the early 1950’s while operating Mansfield’s Restaurant, Tony started a new business called the “Freez-Ette” which sold mostly ice cream and shakes.


This business was originally located behind Mansfield’s on 1St Ave before it was moved to a lot in south Dayton. The Freez-Ette was later renamed to be Tony’s Drive-In.

As the business began to grow in popularity in its new location it soon became evident that an expansion was needed. The new section that most of us remember from later years was added onto the existing structure in the mid 1950’s.

The original section of the building caught fire in 1959 and with the resulting damages the decision was made to tear down the old section leaving the newer building.

Tony was always on hand making sure things were going, as they should. He ran a “tight ship”. He never sold alcoholic beverages and insisted on a family atmosphere.

The original Freez-Etta after it was moved to south Dayton.

Tony loved people and was known to serve the local school teams free pre/post game meals for many years.

The business closed in 1986 after suffering a fire.

Whether your generation remembers the “Freez-Ette” from downtown Dayton or the Tony’s Drive-In in south Dayton, memories of good eating and happy times will always remain in our memories.

Tony's Drive In
This view shows Tony's Drive In during March of 1973.
Tony Lusk of Tony's Drive In
Tony pictured above with Charles Woody. Tony is showing off one of his many catches.

Copyright All Rights Reserved -Yesterday In Dayton




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.

1 Comment

  • Bo Kaylor

    July 30, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks for this post. Tony was a good man. I worked there for several years. That was Charles Woody in the picture with Tony.

error: Content is protected !!