“Unique entities offering quality, affordability and consistency become more valuable and cherished with each passing day!”
Bob Martin, Review Magazine
Take a step back in time and experience Saginaw’s award-winning coney dogs and draft root beer, served up carhop style by the best people you’ll ever meet!
Since 1940, we have delighted customers with original recipes, great service and an old-time atmosphere. Still family-owned and operated, we proudly source with local vendors. Our amazing staff delivers delicious food and the old-fashioned restaurant services you love right to your driver’s side window. Outside and inside seating as well as take-out are also available.
We look forward to serving you! Bring your appetite and your loved ones for lunch or dinner. While we are best known for Saginaw’s original coney dog, draft root beer, rooter floats and coolers…we have a full menu of mouth-watering, reasonably-priced food!
“It was our first date 65 years ago.”
“I came here with my grandpa and now I bring my own kids”
“I moved out of state 25 years ago but whenever I come back home. I have to get Spatz bread, Vernors and Old Town Drive In”
These are the kinds of stories we hear EVERY DAY at Old Town Drive In.
“We’re on our way to see our cousin play football in St. Charles. Had to stop on the way for hot dogs and root beer!”
Jenny Sutton and kids
“We get a coney dog with onions and a root beer or root beer float at least once a month! Best hot dogs in town!”
Noel and Ruthann Beyer
“My first daughter was born November 26, 1986 at Covenant. When she and my wife were discharged, I picked them up from the hospital in a limo and came to Old Town Drive In for lunch on the way home.”
“We borrowed $1,500 dollars to buy a 57 Chevy we saw along the road when we were first married. Since then, we’ve fixed it up quite a bit and it is central to some of our favorite family memories…including when we drove this car to Old Town Drive In with the kids when they were little. They called it the “Chevy Chevy.”
Terry and Annette Mast
Old Town Drive In was once an A&W restaurant.
FACT! Old Town Drive In was first opened in 1941 as an A&W franchised establishment and remained that way until the early seventies when A&W began moving away from car-hop service and toward more standardized large brick and mortar buildings. Upon dropping the franchise, owners at the time changed the name to Old Town Drive In but never put up signage or advertised. So, the restaurant was referred to by many as “The Old A&W” for years.
Old Town Drive In puts bologna in its coney sauce.
FICTION! We use the original recipe and it DOES NOT include bologna. Original owner and sauce creator, Bill Farwell, used to come into Old Town Drive In when his wife had hair appointments nearby. We straight up asked him if bologna was EVER used in the coney sauce. Bill said no. The only exception might have been during World War II when meat was occasionally not available.
Today, Old Town Drive In’s famous coney sauce is so coveted, others restaurants buy it to serve to their customers. It is also available to our customers on dogs and in pint, quart, and gallon containers for takeout.
Old Town Drive In stays open in the winter.
FACT! Though the original restaurant was only open during the late spring, summer and early fall, it has been a year-round establishment for more than 30 years now! Years ago, to promote new year-round hours to customers, owner Geoff Emede offered $.49 hot dogs between Christmas and New Years. He quickly ran out of hot dogs and buns!
Old Town Drive In serves more than 500 customers a day on a busy day.
FACT! During the warm weather, Old Town Drive In serves over 10,000 customers each month!
Old Town Drive In sources its ingredients from local suppliers.
Old Town Drive In was originally an A&W restaurant first opened by the Farwell family right on our current site on Gratiot and Granger in Old Town Saginaw.
Farwells demolished the old building and built the current one on the same property. We still use the original root beer system! Did you know that we sell our draft root beers to other bars and restaurants throughout the area?
The Farwell’s daughter, Irene, took over the business. For the next decade there would be at least two other owners, including the Trogan and Greketis families. During this time, the A&W franchise was dropped. The name was changed to Old Town Drive In, but because there was no signage or advertising, nearly everyone still called it “The Old A&W”.
Eddie starts working at Old Town Drive In. He would soon become the guy that has been making the coney sauce and root beer for over 33 years. He’s also a familiar face to many throughout Saginaw.
Current owner Geoff Emede and his family took over Old Town Drive In and made it a year-round business. To this day, people still ask it we’re open in the winter time. We are!
Erin, one of Old Town’s most familiar faces, started working here. Now her son Brett works at Old Town Drive In too. Most staff are long-term employees…with three parent/child pairs.
We are so proud to still be an anchor in Old Town Saginaw! Over the last 32 years, we have continuously upgraded the kitchen, prep area, dining counter, exterior and parking lot. And yet we work hard to keep everything “the way it was” for those who are nostalgic. In fact, 90% of our menu is the same today as it was 40 years ago. According to one of our regulars, our Basketburg was $2.25 when she started coming 35 years ago and is still just $4.35 today!
Something that does change is our fan base. Thanks to online restaurant reviews and resources, we have a surprising amount of out-of-state traffic in addition to our tried-and-true local supporters. All day long we have people walking in the wrong door, which tells us they’ve never been here before! In addition, for locals who have moved away, Old Town Drive In is a “must have” when they return home for a visit.