My mother always used to say that seeing a robin was the first sign of spring.
While I think that a lot of people have heard that over the years and it does make sense, I’ve always had a slightly better system for determining when spring was finally here: Hank’s opens.
After a long winter with no Hank’s and evenings that were too cold to go to Jerry’s Curb Service, when the weather warms in March the people of Beaver County flock to their favorite drive-in restaurants in droves.
What Makes a Great Drive-In?
When it comes to drive-in dining, certain aspects are essential to the experience.
The food has to be delicious, but also casual enough that you can eat it in the car. Convenience and price are huge factors here as well. It’s also not a true drive-in experience without an ice cream option for dessert.
Great drive-in places also need to have a large parking lot that encourages everyone to bring out their classic cars.
Hank’s vs Jerry’s: The Food
If you prefer Mexican food to burgers and fries, Hank’s is probably going to win this toss-up in your mind. Their taco meal remains one of the best deals in the entire county, and the burritos aren’t a bad option either. I generally go for the hard tacos with El Scorch sauce.
On the flip side of that coin, people who prefer burgers and fries will likely fall into the Jerry’s camp. The Dorsey Burger and Jerry’s Sauce famous here, but I still opt for the Steak & Fries with Italian Dressing.
Winner: Too Close To Call
Hank’s vs Jerry’s: Ice Cream
Hank’s also has the added benefit of serving their homemade frozen custard under the same roof. This stuff is fantastic and was number one on Marc’s list of the Top 5 Ice Cream Places in Beaver County.
While this might disqualify Jerry’s for seeking outside help in some people’s eyes, being located right next to Bruster’s sure doesn’t hurt. After you finish with your meal you can walk or drive right over to Bruster’s for another classic Beaver County ice cream experience.
Hank’s vs Jerry’s: The Service
At Hank’s you have to get out of your car and stand in line to order at their window. But they do have multiple picnic table areas where you can enjoy your food.
Jerry’s Curb Service has their waitresses take you order and bring your food right to you while you sit in the car. According to my mother, the waitresses actually used to wear roller skates here.
Hank’s vs. Jerry’s: The Parking Lot
Both restaurants have large parking lots with plenty of spaces. You are probably less likely to have an issue finding a parking spot at Hank’s, but you are more likely to see some really cool cars cruising through at Jerry’s.
Given the opportunity, most of us would probably avoid choosing between Hank’s and Jerry’s because we love both of them…and thanks to the new Veterans Bridge, they are now in virtually the same place.
But if you had to choose one as the best drive-in restaurant in Beaver County, it probably all boils down to a combination of a personal preference for the food and your childhood memories at one of these Beaver County staples.