June 19, 2024
Chester's, one of our favorite Wisconsin Drive-Ins.

Burgers, Fries, Shakes ‘n more: 30+ Wisconsin Drive-Ins To Try Across the State

Drive-Ins mean some delicious treats on a tray or at a picnic table. The season has a while left, let’s help you prep for delicious and fun experiences for that next Wisconsin road trip!

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Dick's in KaukaunaIf you love Wisconsin road trips, you probably love Wisconsin drive-ins. The American classic place to pull in, order tasty fare – often from a car hop, sometimes on skates – and eat in your car off a tray hanging on your window or at a picnic table with tasty burgers, fries, onion rings, ice cream or custard, malts, shakes, and whatnot. Thousands upon thousands of drive-ins populated the country in their heyday, and Wisconsin had many. A&W Root Beer stands were popular and still love on in various towns across the country, while the Sonic chain has brought the concept back in many other locales.

But here in Wisconsin, we love the independent drive-ins that survive, many of which are family-owned businesses going back generations. The nice part with a drive-in is, you can follow proper social distancing guidelines and other safety measures as you enjoy your food and drinks. Here are 30 Wisconsin Drive-Ins across the state to try!

Chester's, one of our favorite Wisconsin Drive-Ins.
Chester’s cheeseburger, fried mushrooms, and a chocolate malt. It immediately became one of our favorites.

Chester’s Drive-In, Plymouth

1504 Eastern Avenue (County C, old Highway 23)
Plymouth, WI 53073
(920) 892-7722
Facebook page

Chester’s Drive-In, an addition to our original article, deserves to be among the top! A family business since the 1970s, Chester’s Drive-In has friendly car hops and a nice variety on their menu, which is tucked into the top of the metal roof that cars park (partially) under. They’re known for great cheeseburgers (the bakery buns hold all the toppings in nicely) and their root beer. On a visit, we went for the malt and it was fantastic. They offer fries, rings, and a variety of sides – including fried mushrooms, which just seemed to hit the spot that day. Chester’s is open April through October. You’ll find it right along County C/Eastern Avenue on the east side of Plymouth. This is the “old” Highway 23, with Highway 57 less than a mile to the east, the current Highway 23 expressway less than a mile to the north, and Highway 67 less than a mile to the west in downtown.

Chester's Drive-In, Plymouth

Gilles’ Frozen Custard & Drive-In, Fond du Lac

918 S. Main Street (Highway 175)
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
(920) 922-4900

Gilles has been open for 70 seasons, starting back when this stretch of Main Street was the original U.S. 41 into town! Still family-owned and operated after all these decades, they still offer car hop service and serve up a variety of good drive-in fare. A Gillieburger – their “secret recipe” Sloppy Joe-style sandwich – still runs only $2.50. Other burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches are complemented by sides including crinkle-cut fries, fried white cheddar cheese curds, and creamy mac & cheese (only “in season”, for some reason.) And of course, with “Frozen Custard” in the name, you can imbibe in a huge variety of custard or ice cream-laden shakes, malts, cones, slushies, and more with all kinds of malts and extra flavor topping options including grasshopper, butterscotch, pineapple, banana, and caramel.

Quite notable about Gilles’ in Fond du Lac is that they typically open for the spring in February. That’s some hearty work for the car hops, cooks, and customers! Warm them up by stopping in and tipping well.

You’ll find Gilles’ Frozen Custard easily along Main Street on the south side of Fond du Lac, just past the northern end of Highway 175 and just north of I-41 and the U.S. 151 bypass. From I-41 northbound, Exit U.S. 151 west and then Highway 175/Main Street north, it’s about 1.5 miles to the north. From I-41 southbound, Exit Hickory St., cut north to Pioneer Road, east to Main Street, and then north briefly on Main. Then, as they say, “Turn your lights on for service.”

Gilles Drive-In, Fond du Lac

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: The Drive-In, GrantsburgThe Drive-In Restaurant, Grantsburg

133 Highway 70 (at Hwys 48 & 87)
Grantsburg, WI 54840
(715) 463-2056

Complete with 45rpm records and memorabilia adorning the walls, the Drive-In in Grantsburg opened in 1956 and continues its heritage with signs like its root beer float along Highway 70. Their burgers and grilled sandwiches, crinkle-cut fries and onion rings, fried cheese curds, milkshakes, and root beer are among the tops in NW Wisconsin; it’s also a popular draw for Twin Cities travelers and car culture enthusiasts. Dine-in service is available all year, with the outdoor drive-in bays open seasonally. Discover Wisconsin featured The Drive-In on an episode exploring drive-ins in the state. And being right near the state line, it’s one of the more popular Wisconsin drive-ins for Minnesotans to come try. You’ll find The Drive-In in Grantsburg along Highway 70 in Burnett County, within sight of where Highways 48 and 87 end (it’s as if all roads in the area lead to it!) They do, by the way, have a sister drive-in in Taylor Falls, Minnesota, just over the river from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, via U.S. 8. Just in case you find yourself there, too!

Hager Heights Drive-In, Hager Heights

7866 170th Avenue (U.S. 63 & Highway 35)
Hager City, WI 54014
(715) 792-2118
Facebook page

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Hager Heights

Famous particularly for broasted chicken, Hager Heights draws in people from nearby Red Wing, MN, Ellsworth, Twin Cities area travelers, and people heading up and down the Great River Road. This drive-in is perched right where U.S. 63 and Highway 35 meet, about a mile east of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin’s beautiful Driftless Area. Hager Heights Drive-In is typically open from early April to the end of September and has a series of bays for cars, bikes, and trucks to park under while being served their signature items. Along with the broasted chicken (a large fiberglass chicken out front should make the entrance easy to spot), Hager Heights does up the quintessential burgers, fries, rings, shakes, and more for hungry travelers!

The owners for many years, Dawn and Russ, sold Hager Heights Drive-In and began a much-deserved retirement. However, it was purchased by former employees Nick and Mel, and they look to continue the tradition.

Dog ‘N Suds, Tomahawk

1228 N. 4th Street (old U.S. 51)
Tomahawk, WI 54487
(715) 453-4616

Dog N Suds Drive-In along the original U.S. 51 in Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Dog ‘N Suds is a national chain that once boasted hundreds of locations across the country. Today, it’s down to around 20, with this one in Tomahawk being the lone Wisconsin survivor. Located along the original U.S. 51 mainline highway on the north side of Tomahawk, this Dog ‘N Suds opened in the 1960s and served many a traveler on their way to and from the North Woods. The opening of the U.S. 51 expressway bypass of Tomahawk in 1983 almost killed off this place, but its food and legendary root beer helped keep it going – and now aiding the existing support of the local community are once again many travelers who go out of their way to follow the “old school” routes through town to enjoy places like these. This Dog ‘N Suds is the real drive-in deal: carhops, trays off the window, and a variety all-American treats and eats.

R&R Drive-In, Augusta

607 W. Lincoln Street (U.S. 12/Highway 27)
Augusta, WI 54722
(715) 286-2838
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Wisconsin Drive-In Burger Stands: Tep's in Augusta

Once Tep’s, then Gup’s, Augusta’s landmark drive-in spot reopened as the R&R Drive In on Memorial Day weekend 2023 (yes, we need new pictures.) It originally stood as an A&W stand. R&R’s still does it old-school though (keeping the Tep’s sign so far), with car hops bring your food and drinks. They’re known especially for their onion rings, fried curds, steak sandwiches and burgers, ice cream, and even good salads (not a typical shout-out for a drive-in!) Gup’s is open seasonally from mid-May to late September. You’ll find its unmistakable sign and roof line right along U.S. 12 & Highway 27 in the heart of Augusta.

Lake Dexter Drive-In, Pittsville

3608 Highway 80
Pittsville, WI 54466
(715) 697-3483

Recently re-opened after being closed a few years, the Lake Dexter Drive-In sits right along where Highways 54 & 80 combine for a few miles near Pittsville, as close to the geographic center of Wisconsin as you can get. Servers can come up and serve you in your car, or you can stretch out at one of the picnic tables they have available. Menu options feature many burgers including the “Dexter Double,” along with hot dogs, corn dogs, chili dogs (you know, all the healthy stuff) plus sandwiches like grilled cheese and reuben; fries, onion rings, broccoli and cauliflower bites; and drink options. Want some ice cream treats? Malts, shakes, sundaes, floats, and cones are all available. Lake Dexter is nearby – hence the name – and the drive-in is open April – September.

Milty Wilty Drive-In, Wautoma

W7411 Highway 73
Wautoma, WI 54982
(920) 787-2300

Milty Wilty, one of our favorite Wisconsin drive-ins

Opened on June 11, 1947, the Milty Wilty serves up classic fare indoors and out during the warm weather months (generally May-September) along Highways 21 & 73 approaching Wautoma, near the brief Highway 152. Still a family business and now in its 4th generation, the milkshake machines hum, cones fill with ice cream and custard, and burgers sizzle. The Milty Wilty also introduced the “pizza pie” to the area when it first opened, and the pizza burger is one of their most popular items. Dine in, or pull to a space and get served by a car hop; you can even enjoy some mini-golf on their adjacent course. They offer “Cruise Nights” on Thursdays if you want to admire some true classic cars and street rods, a popular feature at many of the classic Wisconsin drive-ins.

Burger at Mullins Short Stop Drive-In along Highway 73 & Business U.S. 151 in Columbus, Wisconsin

Mullin’s Short Stop, Columbus

641 N. Ludington Street (Highway 73/historic US 151)
Columbus, WI 53925
(920) 623-2080
Faceboook page

Mullin’s Short Stop opened as Brown’s Drive-In during the 1950s, when this stretch was not only Highway 73 but also part of U.S. 151, the main road from SW to NE Wisconsin. A bypass around Columbus completed in 1976 cut traffic a bit, but the Drive-In held on thanks to loyal customers from in and around the town. Brown’s became Mullin’s around that time and continues to delight burgers, fries, and shakes lovers to this day. Car hops offer service right to your car, but no trays… you get your food and drinks in their own bags and containers, perfect for whether you’re eating right there, or taking it home. Mullin’s is open from mid-May through Labor Day, and watch for the occasional classic car show!

Ardy & Ed’s Drive-In, Oshkosh

2413 S. Main Street (U.S. 45)
Oshkosh, WI 54902
(920) 231-5455

Ardy & Ed's Drive-In, Oshkosh

Roller skating car hops and food on a tray with a view of Lake Winnebago and 50s & 60s tunes playing outside. That, along with delicious classic American food, has been drawing people to here since 1948 – some of whom arrive by boat. Located right along U.S. 45 on the south side of Oshkosh, Ardy & Ed’s began as an A&W stand and went independent in 1972 with its new name. Being one of the oldest Wisconsin drive-ins, Ardy & Ed’s celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018. They have a jingle too; you can hear that and see more here:

Annie's Burgertown, Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Annie’s Burgertown, Elkhorn

645 N. Lincoln Street (just off Highway 67)
Elkhorn, WI 53121
(262) 723-3250

NOTE: Annie’s Burgertown is reopening after a damaging fire – you’ll be able to enjoy them again starting Monday, February 5th!

Annie’s serves year-round and has some limited inside seating. They also deliver to the area and even offer catering, but summer is when they’re the classic drive-in, with car hop service and picnic tables around the grounds if you prefer to sit outside. Their burgers are fantastic and their “homemade root beer” is locally legendary – they’ve been known for both for over 50 years. Annie’s offers pizza on its menu too, and serves it up from their Pizza Wagon at the Walworth County Fair and Elkhorn Flea Market. But pulling up to a spot at Annie’s for car hop service is when it’s our favorite. You’ll find Annie’s right off Highway 67 at Lincoln Street. It’s on the north side of Elkhorn, south of the U.S. 12 freeway and north of both I-43 and Highway 11. Definitely worth the stop!

Cheeseburger and fries at Annie's Burgertown, Elkhorn, Wisconsin

John’s Drive-In, Waukesha

1317 Arcadian Avenue (Historic Highway 59)
Waukesha, WI 53186
(262) 542-2842

John's Drive-In menu, Waukesha

Billed as the “Best Root Beer in Waukesha since 1937,” John’s started in a different location and – with a stop or two in between – this original building opened in its current location in 1962. It was an A&W root beer stand until 1974, when then-owner John Nelson chose not to install a grill per A&W’s request, and he took it independent. Today, John’s focuses on highly-prized homemade root beer, hot dogs, sides like fries and onion rings, and sandwiches ranging from pulled BBQ pork to brats – but no hamburgers. John’s doesn’t have car hops or trays upon which to serve food, but they are loved for generations for their traditional menu. Hot dogs range from straight-up Plain Dogs to Nacho/Bacon Dogs, Sloppy Dogs, Slaw Dogs, and more. Malts, ice cream concoctions, and a seasonal menu that brings in fish fries, chili, and more become available through the winter. For you see, John’s is open year-’round. You’ll find John’s Drive-In northeast of downtown Waukesha along Arcadian Avenue (Highway 59 for a long time), just west of the Les Paul Parkway, today’s Highway 59/164. They’re not only open all year, but seven days a week – all starting at 11am.

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: John's Drive-In in Waukesha

Leon's Frozen Custard, Milwaukee

Leon’s Frozen Custard, Milwaukee

3131 S. 27th Street (Highway 241, Historic U.S. 41)
Milwaukee, WI 53215
(414) 383-1784

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Leon's Frozen Custard along Historic 27th Street in Milwaukee

Considered by many to be the quintessential American drive-in, and perhaps part of the inspiration for Mel’s Drive-In in American Graffiti and Arnold’s in Happy Days, Leon’s has been in operation since 1942. An early 1950s remodel adding the fluorescent lights and neon signs gave Leon’s its current look. To this day, Leon’s serves some of the highest-rated frozen custard in the country along great malts, shakes, floats, and sundaes. They don’t have car hops and they don’t serve burgers (although Mazo’s across the street dates back to 1934 and has awesome ones), but Leon’s does serve tasty hot dogs, chili dogs, and a Spanish hamburger, which like a spicy sloppy joe. On a warm summer night, expect quite a crowd in line and in the parking lot along this 27th Street location. It’s currently Wisconsin Highway 241, but was once U.S. 41 and the main road in from Chicago – one of the reasons Leon’s drew so much traffic and became so widely known.

The Nite Owl, Milwaukee

830 E. Layton Avenue (between Highways 38 and 794)
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 483-2524
Website/Facebook Page

The Nite Owl sits right across from Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport and serves up those drive-in burgers you dream about. In fact, it was voted “Best Burger” out of 16 finalists by Milwaukee Magazine in 2020. Family owned and in continuous operation since 1948 when the airport terminal was right across the street, Nite Owl is also an ice cream parlor. But the burgers are the star. Paired with crinkle-cut fries, you can’t get much more all-American than this. They don’t have car hops or trays, but once you order at the window, take in the neon sign and the classic ambiance, you’ll be too happy anyway as you anticipate getting your treat. At last check, they were cash only.
A great way to spend some time is to get a few burgers and bring them just down the street to the east on Layton, where a side parking lot gives you the chance to view planes up close and they take off and land at MKE; you can even tune in to the control tower’s channel on your radio!

Wayne’s Drive-In, Cedarburg

1331 Covered Bridge Road (Highways 60 & 181)
Cedarburg, WI
(262) 375-9999

Wayne's Drive-In, Cedarburg

Wayne’s wasn’t around in the 1950s & 60s, but it sure seems like it. The building is 12-sided – technically a dodecagon – and dates back to the early 70s. The building previously served as a snowmobile shop, a storage facility, and a furniture refinishing shop before it became one of our favorite Wisconsin drive-ins, becoming Wayne’s Drive-In in 1998. The classic burgers and shakes, ice cream, skating car hops, and overall vibe draw people from all over SE Wisconsin. Corvette Cruise Nights run select Wednesdays, Classic Cruise Nights run select Thursdays. Wayne’s is open every day from 11am to 9pm during the season, which generally runs from early April through early November.

The Kiltie, Oconomowoc

N48W36154 Wisconsin Avenue (Historic U.S. 16)
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
(262) 567-2648
Facebook page

The Kiltie, one of Wisconsin's best drive-ins

A classic since 1948 with post-war architecture, the smiling Scotsman logo, and car hops in plaid Scottish skirts, The Kiltie keeps bringing customers – and employees – back decade after decade. Their classic burgers, onion rings, sundaes, malts and other essentials are second to none, in part because everything seems to taste better when served on an aluminum tray. You want custard? Your choices are simple: chocolate, vanilla, or a twist of the two; no flavors of the day here. The car hops like to have fun, too: some refresh people with water guns on hot days, and when business is slow frisbees may fly around the parking lot.
The Kiltie original sign

Located along old U.S. 16 on the east end of Oconomowoc, The Kiltie also nestles up against the current Highway 16 freeway, easily accessible via the County P exit a little bit east of Highway 67. The neon signs that mark this classic are visible from either road and beckon you to the numerous pull-in spots for your car so the hops can get your order. The Kiltie is open from April through October.

Burger and onion rings on the tray at The Kiltie Drive-In along Highway 16 in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
A Kiltie Burger, clearly with pickles, in Oconomowoc along Highway 16.

The Spot, Kenosha

2117 75th Street
Kenosha, WI 53143
(262) 654-9294

Opening on July 4, 1945, The Spot is a true classic. It’s one of the oldest surviving drive-ins in the country, and certainly one of the oldest of the Wisconsin drive-ins. They still make their own homemade root beer and have been hitting home runs with burgers, fries, onion rings, and shakes since World War II (in fact, one of their big challenges was getting supplies, since the war was still going on.) Their menu is much larger now, including mini-tacos, perch, chicken wings, and cheesecake, but the traditions hold true with car hops and the iconic neon sign on the corner.

The Spot was once also the intersection of Highways 50 & what used to be Highway 174, which came in from the south for Chicago travelers, making it once a primary intersection in Kenosha for travelers looking to head downtown. Today, it’s a little quieter traffic-wise but The Spot still serves as a big draw for any fans of classic drive-ins and fantastic burgers.

Andy’s Drive-In, Kenosha

2929 Roosevelt Avenue (Highway 50)
Kenosha, WI 53143
(262) 658-2067

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Andy's in Kenosha
Andy’s in Kenosha. The “A” on the top is reminiscent of “Arnold’s”, the fictional drive-in from the TV show “Happy Days.”

Andy’s is a classic drive-in that dates back far into Kenosha’s history, which has always been big on car culture, competing with The Spot nearby. Their Cruise Nights are still immensely popular. Along with serving traditional burgers, fries, shakes, and other drive-in fare, Andy’s dishes up well-loved breakfasts too, and opens early: 6am Monday-Friday and 7am on weekends. It’s right along Roosevelt Road/Highway 50 in Kenosha.

Big Star Drive-In, Kenosha

1500 Washington Road
Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 658-1572

Kenosha definitely rules Wisconsin in terms of drive-ins! Big Star Drive-In opened back in 1954 along Washington Road (at the time, also Highway 142) just northwest of downtown Kenosha. Open generally from March 1st – August 31st each year, Big Star is known for its burgers, shakes, and especially broasted chicken – something you don’t often see at drive-ins. The prices are very reasonable ($2.99 for a double cheeseburger!) and they offer carhop service. They’re open from 11am – 11pm daily. Across the street, get a load of the Kenosha Velodrome, the oldest operating velodrome in the United States! Heck, bring your bike and burn off those calories on the track… makes for a nice, complete day!

Big Star Drive-In, which opened along Washington Avenue (formerly Highway 142) in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Gus’ Drive-In, East Troy

3131 Main Street, County ES/Historic Highway 15
East Troy, WI 53120
(262) 642-2929

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Burger and rings at Gus' in East Troy

Located along Historic Highway 15 – the main road from Beloit to Milwaukee before I-43 came along – Gus’ Drive-In in East Troy dates back to 2002 but offers the full 1950s vibe. Home of the “Heavy Chevy” Burger, Gus’s is close to Alpine Valley, the East Troy Railroad, and is only minutes from I-43 or Highways 20 and 120. Gus’ features frozen custard – with flavors of the day on their Facebook page – rather than ice cream with a different flavor-of-the-day everyday. They also specialize in Greek gyros and Italian meatballs on top of the classic, where they’re often in the running for “best burger.” Gus’ also features regular Cruisin’ Nights on Saturdays. This is definitely a place to bring your street rod and immerse yourself in that time! In season, Gus’ is open every day from 11am-8pm.

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Gus' in East Troy

Rudy's Drive-In along Highway 16 in La Crosse

Rudy’s Drive-In, La Crosse

1004 La Crosse Street (Highway 16)
La Crosse, WI 54601
(608) 782-2200

Rudy’s Drive-In, Sparta

514 S. Water Street (Highways 16 & 21)
Sparta, WI 54656
(608) 269-2011

Rudy’s Drive-In opened in La Crosse in 1966, but origins of Rudy go back to an A&W Root Beer stand in Chippewa Falls in 1933. The La Crosse location, and the newer Sparta one, are still owned by the Rudy family. We’re consolidating these two locations into one entry!

Rudy’s features a bright roof to shelter at least part of your vehicle and car hops bringing you the tray of tasty treats. They’re one of the few drive-ins offering gluten-free buns and even some healthy choices like a Turkey Burger and their Historic Trempealeau Hotel Walnut Burger, which we’ve had at the Trempealeau Hotel. It’s a seasoned walnut & cheese patty with lettuce, tomato, pickle and honey mustard on a whole wheat kaiser bun. Not your traditional drive-in food, but it’s certainly a good option for many! On select Cruisin’ Nights, showing up in a classic car or on a classic bike gets you a free root beer float.

Charlie’s Drive-In, Hortonville

806 W. Main Street (Highway 15)
Hortonville, WI 54944
(920) 779-6753
Facebook page

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Charlie's in Hortonville

A family business since 1965, Charlie’s Drive-In keeps it “homespun,” as they like to say. Tuesday nights are for classic cars (a “Collector” license plate gets you a free mug of root beer), and they have a tributes to Elvis every year on the anniversary week of his passing. Plenty of tunes and a classic menu with a busy fryer keeps things fun and happy at Charlie’s. They are generally open from mid-March through the end of September. You’ll find Charlie’s along Highway 15 (formerly U.S. 45) in Hortonville, about 15 minutes northwest of Appleton.

Dick’s Drive-In, Kaukauna

1718 Crooks Avenue (Highway 55)
Kaukauna, WI 54130
(920) 766-3511
Facebook page

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Dick's in Kaukauna along Highway 55

Home of the “Maxi Burger,” Dick’s Drive-In opened in 1955 along Highway 55 and is open from March 1st – November 30th, which is pretty long season given the weather rarely cooperates for several of those months. However, they generally don’t have car hops – you go inside the little area in front to place your order. You’re welcome to enjoy it in your car in the lot, at a picnic table in the back, or of course to bring it home or eat it on the run. Broiled burgers (the neon is there to remind you of their broiling process), a variety of sandwiches, sides, shakes, slushies, floats, and flurries are all part of their popular menu. To help with flashing back, the interior of Dick’s has stayed essentially the same since the 1950s, keeping it one of the most original of our Wisconsin drive-ins!

Custer’s Drive-In, Chetek

410 2nd Street
Chetek, WI 54728
(715) 924-3325
Facebook Page

Lovely little Chetek had the Northlakes Drive-In since the 1950s and by 2023 it was renamed Custer’s Drive-In… yet it still retains the old school drive-in vibe. It’s right on the main drag through town, which is County SS but was historic U.S. 53 for many decades – the main road between Eau Claire and Superior. Northlakes offers car hop service, a playground for the kids, and a vast array of burgers, dogs, fries, rings, malts, shakes, and all the other classics including their homemade root beer. They offer burger variations with toppings ranging from a spicy Boom Boom Sauce to a chicken tender – yes, on a burger! Ice cream treats abound, too. They’re into early October.

Panther Drive-In, Durand

1018 E. Prospect Street
Durand, WI 54736
(715) 672-5659
Facebook Page

Located right where U.S. 10 meets both Highways 25 and 85 on the north end of Durand’s downtown, The Panther Drive-In is painted purple and yellow (yeah, we know, Vikings colors) and is a can’t-miss while in town. It looks like a small root beer stand – and it is fairly small – but they have a big menu and have long served up everything from Shrimp Wraps (with roasted red pepper sauce) to tropical Sno-Cones and of course, the usual burger, fries, and shake fare.

Cruise-In, Marion

549 E. Prospect Avenue (along U.S. 45)
Marion, WI 54950
(715) 973-1300

Cruise In Drive-In along U.S. 45 in Marion, Wisconsin

Located right along the busy U.S. 45 corridor between Clintonville and Wittenberg, you’ll find the Cruise-In Drive-In (and Dessert Shop) in Marion. They’re known for their desserts, especially their ice cream flavors, as well as char-broiled burgers and root beer. The malts are excellent and the crinkle-cut fries are crispy. We can vouch for their banana split, too! They’re on the west side of U.S. 45 on the south side of Marion, just east of Highway 110.

A banana split to go at the Cruise-In Drive-In (and Dessert Shop) along U.S. 45 in Marion, Wisconsin
A banana split at Cruise-In Drive-In, along U.S. 45 in Marion near the Waupaca-Shawano County border.

Northview Drive-In, Webster

26595 Lakeland Drive N (Highway 35)
Webster, WI 54893
(715) 349-7642

A popular stand along Highway 35 in Webster, between Siren and Danbury (or in State Trunk Tour-speak, between Highways 70 and 77), the Northview Drive-In offers burgers, shakes, floats, dinner baskets, ice cream treats, and even buckets of chicken – they refer to them as “tubs” here – to enjoy in a carport spot or at a picnic table. They’re known for their homemade root beer too. We haven’t been there ourselves yet, so if you have any photos or more feedback to contribute, let us know!

Rumble Seats Drive-In, Spring Green

E4851 U.S. Highway 14
Spring Green, WI 53588
(608) 588-2924

Rumble Seats Rock 'N Roll Drive-In sign, along U.S. 14 & Highway 60 in Spring Green
Rumble Seats Rock ‘N Roll Drive-In sign, along U.S. 14 & Highway 60 in Spring Green

A great complement to a drive through the Driftless or a trip to see Taliesin, House on the Rock, Tower Hill State Park, or American Players Theater, Rumble Seats offers the classic 50s-60s feel along with great burgers, chicken, wraps, malts and shakes, and more to satisfy multiple peoples’ palates. Their specialty is their Root Beer Float. You might also want to try the Marilyn Monroe Burger, which features sauteed onions, bacon, Mozzarella & Cheddar cheeses, plus BBQ and their specialty, spicy Rumble sauce with gooey cheese curds! 

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Susie Q's Drive-In along Highway 110 and the Historic Yellowstone Trail, Weyauwega, Wisconsin
The Susie Q Drive-In is right along the historic Yellowstone Trail route, which is also Highway 110 in Weyauwega, just north of the U.S. 10 freeway exit. We’ll get another picture on a day when it’s not so rainy!

Susie Q’s Drive-In, Weyauwaga

417 Main Street (Highway 110/Historic Yellowstone Trail)
Weyauwega, WI 54983
(920) 867-3050

Burgers, rings, fried cheese curds, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and homemade root beer draw locals and travelers alike to the little Susie Q’s Drive-In, just off the U.S. 10 freeway on Highway 110 in Weyauwega. It was called the Wega Drive-In until 2021, when a change in ownership caused the change in name – but the menu items and charms remain intact. All service is walk-up and they have a carport area where you can park and eat or snag a picnic table to nosh on your spread. The historic Yellowstone Trail route also runs right past, so throwback buffs can enjoy old-school trails and eats along this stretch. Weyauwega Star Dairy is blocks away on Mill Street in the downtown district, too!

Dari-Maid Drive-In, Land O’ Lakes

4299 County B
Land O’ Lakes, WI 54540
(715) 547-3040
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Dari-Maid Drive-In dates back over a quarter century in the tiny burg of Land O’ Lakes, hugging Wisconsin’s border with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along County B less than a mile west of U.S. Highway 45 and Wisconsin Highway 32. They don’t have carhop service, but the walk-up window gives you the chance to order a range of dairy treats to burgers, hot dogs, onion rings, fries, and all you would expect from a classic Americana stand like this. Parking is available on two sides of the building and picnic tables are available on the other side; the walk-up window is practically right up on the sidewalk. On a nice summer day, expect some decent lines to form along the street, although service is pretty fast.

Put a (onion) ring on it at Dari-Maid Drive-In, along County B just west of U.S. 45 and Highway 32 in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin

The Albatross Drive-In, Washington Island

777 Main Road
Washington Island, WI 54246
(920) 847-2203

Wisconsin Drive-Ins: Albatross on Washington Island

This is the only one of our Wisconsin drive-ins that requires a boat ride first. Once you reach the end of Highway 42 at the tip of the Door County Peninsula, the Washington Island Ferry will take you to County W on Washington Island, where a short ride lets you adjust to “island time” and prep your tummy for a tasty Alby Burger, fries, rings, cheese curds, or ice cream. They make it a point at The Albatross to note that they’re “not fast…but we’re good!” And they definitely are. It’s been around since the 1970s, although the current building only dates back to 2002, a rebuild after a fire. The Albatross generally doesn’t serve you “car hop” style, but you’re welcome to eat in your car in the lot, on the bike you rented on the island, or at the tables outside – some of which are under cover. It’s definitely a nice, relaxed setting where the food is fantastic and nobody is in a hurry… hopefully.

Albatross Drive-In sign for Illinois visitors.
The Albatross sets some ground rules as you prepare to order.

Timberlea Drive-In

3245 County Road EE
Abrams, WI 54101
(920) 826-5993
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Timberlea Drive-In by the junction of U.S. 41 & U.S. 141 in Abrams, Wisconsin

Known more for frozen custard than burgers – in fact, they don’t even serve burgers – Timberlea Drive-In has been delighting Oconto County residents and travelers on U.S. 41/141 for generations. They don’t have carhop service, but the walk-up window gives you the chance to order custard and specialty sundaes along with a variety of hot food. While they don’t have burgers, they do have hot dogs, chili dogs, hot beef sandwiches, chicken, fries, shakes… basically everything but burgers! Timberlea was once along U.S. 41 & 141 at their junction in Abrams, but with the upgrade to a freeway interchange, it’s now on the side road, which is County EE. You can access it from southbound U.S. 141 via County E just north of U.S. 41, or from northbound U.S. 41/141 via County D/Sampson Road and following EE north.

What’s your favorite of the Wisconsin drive-ins? What have we missed??

And there you go: some of our favorite drive-ins in Wisconsin as we road trip around the state. Did we miss one of your favorites? We know that’s quite possible, and that’s cool… because the more great drive-ins we can all know about, the better! Let us know about other great places (they need to serve food, not just ice cream or custard) in the Comments below, and we’ll be happy to pay your favorite place a State Trunk Tour visit!

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31 thoughts on “Burgers, Fries, Shakes ‘n more: 30+ Wisconsin Drive-Ins To Try Across the State

  1. A&W on 16 and 51, south of downtown Portage. Good food and ice cream. Awesome root beer and root beer floats. Great car hop service. A must stop for us, on our way to and from the Dells.

  2. Right by Trig’s a block off U.S. 45 & Highways 32 and 70 – we’ll definitely add this, Joe! Thank you! Now to get back there for pictures and to eat their stuff… – Eric, State Trunk Tour

  3. Portage Wi, the A&W still has carhops and the service is always good. This is our go to place in the summer (seasonal hours). I love car side service as many times in the summer we have spent the day working outdoors and are not wanting to go inside a restaurant to eat. This way we can go as we are, get our food, eat in peace and be on our way. Thanks for the restaurant’s provided we will be checking some out this coming year.

  4. check out these 2 also.Shepard Drive-In Berlin so and The Well drive-in Winneconne.

  5. The Nite Owl Drive-In on Layton Ave in Cudahy! The BEST burgers in town. Family owned for three generations.

  6. We enjoy Charlie’s Drive-In several times a month when it opens!
    If you want a super delicious meal, ask for the mushroom and swiss ‘Carl Style’ and you get the mild horseradish sauce and fried onions…
    But everything is great!

  7. Dog N Suds in Tomahawk. Everything made fresh. It’s the last Dog N Suds in

  8. *The Original Gillies is on 76 th and Bluemound in Wauwatosa, Wi Very , Very good
    *Kits Frozen Custard is excellent on
    70 th and Capitol,Milwaukee, Wi
    * Murphs on Burleigh just West of 124 and Burleigh, Brookfield,Wi is excellent also.

  9. There is Gilles Frozen Custard at 7515 Bluemound Rd in milwaukee. The have great food and Custard!! It is a definite must if you like Drive ins.

    I also agree that The Spot in Kenosha is fabulous. I lived kiddie corner from it for years. By far one of the best drive ins ever!

  10. Northlakes Drive Inn
    410 2nd St, Chetek, Wi
    Great food. Awesome little fries

  11. Sheesh, we’ve toured Highway 121 before, how have we not caught this one? Looks good, we’ll check it out. Thanks!

  12. Hi Deb, we love Kopp’s! It’s a great burger stand but not really a drive-in per se, though? We look for things like car hop service or a covered eating area for in your car, stuff like that. But we definitely love their burgers and custard. And there SHOULD be a shuttle between the airport and one of the Kopp’s locations! Probably the one near Southridge. 🙂

  13. Hi Dwain, we’ve been wanting to check that out. It’s looked like more of a diner vs a drive-in but we’ll get there soon and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it! Thank you!

  14. Why isn’t Kopp’s on this list? It’s my go-to spot whenever I’m in MKE. IN FACT, I know I’m not alone. I once flew into town and headed straight there from the airport. Low and behold, there were 5 other passengers from my flight who were at Kopp’s! None of knew each other, but recognized we all came straight there from the same flight. It gave us all a laugh, and someone said, “if we knew, we could have all carpooled!”

  15. Just finished an American Classic cheeseburger from Bomb Burger in Burlington (corner of Hwy P and Market St.). This place was a drive-in years ago, then became a bakery/sandwich place. It was re-opened last year by a chef and his family. There are no inside seats, and a small forecourt, but street side parking is available.
    Frankly, I didn’t intend to try it until I noticed how many local people were lined up at lunch. Lucky me, I live only five minutes away. The burgers are good.

  16. Hi Kimber, well… that’s one that slipped past us! Is it on the old Highway 57, before the newer four-lane? We’ll definitely check it out soon!

  17. Hi Patrick, we just added Big Star – which of course it should have been on, it’s been there since 1954! Somebody confused it with The Star, a diner out near the freeway before so it didn’t make the original list. Tried going there today but they were closed for Memorial Day so we’ll be back. Got feedback from others and a picture of their sign though, so it’s up now! Thank you.

  18. Mullins in Columbus has changed. Burgers are small and prices are high. The staff is friendly but the manager not so much. May want to revisit and update your list.

  19. The Frosty Tip in Dyckesville (north of Green Bay, on your way to Door County). Classic fish fry on Fridays. And sometimes a super long line to order-but worth it. Playing classic oldies and picnic tables scattered about. Definitely check them out.

  20. A&W Janesville Wisconsin, good service excellent food, please check it out.

  21. Northside Drive in in Webster, WI. 26595 Lakeland Ave N.. Excellent burgers, fries, curds and shakes. Root beer is homemade by the owner and is amazing.

  22. Hola! I’ve been following your web site for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!

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