: Jonathon Chandler / Visit Central Oregon

Oregon’s Classic Drive-In Diners

These old-school eateries serve up burgers and fries with a side of nostalgia.
June 10, 2024

Road trips may be as American as apple pie, but it’s the burgers and fries you can find at classic drive-ins along the way that sweeten the experience. These drive-ins — think walk-up window, limited indoor seating, maybe even roller-skating servers — do sandwiches and shakes just as they’ve done for generations. Here are some of our favorite drive-ins that are worth taking a road trip just to visit.

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Exterior of a drive-in restaurant.
C&D Drive-In and Bakery (Photo by Joni Kabana)

Great Burger Spots in Portland and the Gorge

One of Portland’s most beloved drive-ins — Skyline Restaurant in the city’s West Hills — turns 90 years old in 2025, a testament to the awesome old-school eats it’s been serving since 1935. Pull up for car service or grab a picnic table outside. The grass-fed beef patties come cooked perfectly on a Franz Bakery sesame-seed bun with room for a gooey slab of Tillamook cheese. No-meat options include a grilled portobello mushroom cap topped with arugula on a crispy brioche bun. 

Once a service station in the 1920s on the Historic Columbia River Highway, the Sugarpine Drive-In in Troutdale now serves upscale eats with a drive-thru vibe. Think North African spiced merguez sausage rolls with nettle aioli or a grilled cheese made with buttered Texas toast in a waffle iron. Build-your-own soft-serve sundaes — the miso caramel sauce is divine — or enjoy a frosty glass of frosé on a warm day. To find the drive-in, head to the parking lot in Glenn Otto Community Park, and you’ll find the drive-in on the banks of the Sandy River, perfect for a walk afterward. It’s best to stop by mid-week or early on summer weekends to avoid crowds.

Oregon author Cheryl Strayed ended her Wild hike on the Pacific Crest Trail with an ice cream cone from the Eastwind Drive-In in Cascade Locks, a spot famous for soft-serve cones that stand a foot high. There’s a drive-thru but most folks just walk up to the window. When Twin Peaks Drive-In in Hood River first opened is up for debate, but whether you should add on the fries is not. Choose between shoestring, curly, cheesy or jalapeno paired with a burger stacked with never-frozen patties. 

Farther east on the river in Eastern Oregon, the C&D Drive-In and Bakery in Boardman gets busy with locals for good reason. The Bozo burger — a bacon cheeseburger — and a banana shake from the walk-up window are all it takes.

A tall glass of a frosty pink drink topped with whipped cream on a diner counter.
Enjoy a cool ice cream shake on a hot day at Fins Drive-In. (Photo by Todd Cooper)

Perfect Roadside Stops On the Coast and Near Eugene

Headed to the North Coast on Highway 30? Stop in the small town of Clatskanie about 35 miles east of Astoria for lunch at Bundy’s Drive-In, home of the original Bundy burger, slathered in a secret sauce. Seafood lovers have fish, shrimp and clam baskets to ponder. On the South Coast in Winchester Bay north of Coos Bay, the King Neptune Drive-In serves as a landmark with fish burgers, chicken burgers and juicy hamburgers. Shakes and ice cream make it complete. 

Fins Drive-In in Springfield, just east of Eugene in the Willamette Valley, feels as vintage as it gets with all the neon, midcentury-modern flair you’d expect from a burger joint plucked from a time warp. Park the Chevy, order a chili burger with crinkle-cut fries and fight the brain freeze from an Oreo shake.

Two scoops of strawberry ice cream on a sugar cone.
Homemade ice cream at Sno Cap Drive In in Sisters (Courtesy of Sparkloft Media)

Go Old-School in Central and Southern Oregon

Drive up to Dandy’s Drive In in Bend’s Midtown and watch as the roller-skating waitstaff glide between cars with style as cool as doo-wop. A side of onion rings with a double one-third-pound-patty cheeseburger? Yes, please. The ice-cold Arnold Palmer cuts the salt. 

At Sisters’ Sno Cap Drive In, the “old fashioned” burgers — thin, delicate, pan-fried patties — and homemade ice cream are the stars of the show. Go big with a triple bacon burger and save room for the huckleberry ice cream. If you’re in Redmond, a second location of the Sno Cap offers hot roast-beef sandwiches and 10-inch chili-cheese dogs. Treat yourself to a Power Pac Supreme — a half-pound burger with ham, bacon and cheese — with a malted root beer shake. Over in Prineville, the old-timey Tastee Treet serves up classic burgers as well as fish, shrimp and corn-dog baskets. 

On I-5 headed south from Eugene, a large neon-lettered arrow topped with a flying burger directs you to the classic K & R Drive Inn in Oakland, a must-stop. Order at the window and grab a seat in the covered outdoor area, and be whisked back to 1970, when the place first opened. If you still have room after your double bacon burger, finish up with a selection from 35 flavors of Umpqua ice cream. Phil’s Frosty, near Medford in Shady Cove, sits in a picture-perfect pink burger shack off Highway 62. Grab a picnic table outside to enjoy a breakfast burrito or lunch and dinner choices like patty melts, fish burgers and chicken nuggets. Naturally, you’ll want to wrap it up with a classic banana split. In Klamath Falls, sit outside at the C&D Burger Shoppe and prepare yourself for the Super Moxi double quarter-pound-patty burger and sides like deep-fried cauliflower.

About The
Author

Tim Neville
Tim Neville is a writer based in Bend where he writes about the outdoors, travel and the business of both. His work has been included in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing and Best Food Writing, and earned various awards from the Society of American Travel Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists. Tim has reported from all seven continents and spends his free time skiing, running and spending time with his family.

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