In the late 30's when US Highway 71 was completed, Polk County was wet. Liquor could be sold by the drink, and there was a bar and dance hall that sat in the North West corner of forty acres located just South of what is now the junction of State Highways 71 & 84.
By the early 40's the county had gone dry and the property had sold. Enter the Robinson Family, LA, the present owner's Grandpa, saw the place and it's potential, bought it and began making improvements. The old dancehall/bar was cut in half . One half was moved a short distance away, later becoming a motel office. The other half remained where it was, becoming a restaurant in 1952. In 1960 the restaurant burned down. Overseas in the navy at the time, I was saddened by the news in a letter from home. Seven years later in 1967, the Lighthouse Drive Inn Restaurant was opened on that spot. A photo of the drive Inn taken in 1967 may be seen at: www.geocities.com/wickeslighthouse/ . The business quickly became a success, but after a number of years, family health became an issue and the drive inn was closed. Twelve years pass and family member Bob Robinson decided to reopen the restaurant in 1999. Bob relates that with no advertising other than putting up a open sign out front, the customers began to line up. Each one of those customers, it seems, had
Memories of the drive inn as a teenager and were bringing their children and in some cases their grand children.
Long remembered as a good place to get a cold drink, and an old fashioned burger and fries, the passing motorists enjoyed the picnic tables and the shade of large old oak trees. The slogan on the sign is â€œHamburgers, fries and shakes, the way you rememberâ€. To keep the flavor and atmosphere the same, family member LA Robinson related exact recipes and special ingredients to Bob and acted as consultant in many areas. Many South County adults received their first work a day world job experience during a summer at the lighthouse drive inn.
Owner Bob Robinson relates that it has been a most satisfying work of restoring the family business and listening to the customers stories and experiences relating to the drive inn.
This world is in constant change and flux. But the flavor of a lighthouse burger is always the same. They are exactly as you remember.