A Landmark Since 1954

Dude’s Drive-In, Christianburg

Jeff Greenough

Come Friday nights, folks are ready to take in a flick at the Starlite Drive-In Theatre along Roanoke Street in Christiansburg. But, even earlier, they come here to chow down on a $2.70 Dude Burger or savor the real ice cream flavoring the milkshakes, which at roughly $3 are a bargain. Dude’s Drive-In has been a landmark since 1954.

This eatery, with its denim-clad carhops, takes its current name from Palmer Griffith. He’s called “Dude” by everyone—and, at 75, he’s still involved in the operation, though now it’s largely owned by his son, Blake Griffith, who promises servings of “quality food and friendly service and people who generally care about their customers.” A couple of cooks on the staff have been here for more than 40 years, even before the drive-in became Dude’s in 1978. Customers, like Lisa Keen, are also just as loyal, bypassing the golden arches and similar fast-foot eateries for a Chuck Wagon, Chili or Double Dude (packed with lettuce and tomato). “The burgers are more like your old-style burgers,” says Keen, a Riner resident who discovered the restaurant as a teenager 25 years ago. “And drive-in restaurants are few and far between. You can pull in and order your food and sit here and eat.”

1505 Roanoke Street, 540-382-7901

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