There was a time when hungry burger lovers would roll into the parking lot of their favorite spot, roll down their car window to be greeted by a server ready to take their order…often on roller skates. Those days have returned at San Francisco’s legendary Mel’s Drive-in restaurants. The current owners were looking for a way to serve more customers yet still adhere to current social distancing and safety guidelines. After looking at some pictures of Mel’s history from the 1950’s, they were inspired by the rows of cars lined up in the parking lot with servers, known as car-hops, taking orders and bringing food to each one.
With two San Francisco locations, Geary Ave. and Lombard Street, having larger parking lots, it was easy for Mel’s to start serving food directly to cars once again. You pull in, order your meal with a car-hop, and in a few minutes you’ll be enjoying your burger, fries and shakes right there in your own car. So far the response has been positive from both those who remember when this was a regular thing and those who are just discovering it. In fact, carhop service is doing so well, it may last beyond the days of the pandemic.