The Calvert Drive-In has been a staple of Marshall County for more than 50 years, and a person would be hard pressed to find someone in this area who has not been to the Drive-In at least once.
Personally, the Calvert Drive-In has played a large role in my life since every movie I had ever seen up until I was seven-years-old was viewed there. I can still vividly remember watching Buck Rogers on the outdoor screen in 1979, and was super excited to introduce my daughter to the drive-in 32 years later for her very first movie experience of Cars 2.
But as great as the outdoor movie experience is, long time patrons will tell you it is the food that keeps them coming back, especially the Calvert Drive-In’s hamburgers and cheeseburgers. In fact, the Calvert Drive-In burgers are so popular that the drive-in fires up the grill early just for those who want to pick up an order and not stay for the movie.
According to The Calvert Drive-In’s Facebook page, “The Calvert Drive-In has been owned and operated by the Harrington family for the past 58 years. Our owner, Evelyn Harrington, recently celebrated her 100th birthday but still makes sure her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are running the show just like she and her husband, Paul, did when they built it.”
It really is ran just as it was when I was a kid. However, one aspect of the Calvert Drive-In has grown by leaps and bounds and that is the theatre’s concessions. In addition to the traditional burgers, hotdogs, popcorn and candy they also feature pizza, including the very gourmet sounding goat cheese, tomato and basil pie.
As good as a savory, hot pizza sounded, for my latest trip (another outing with my three-year-old daughter) the burger was all I had in mind. Because the concession line is usually long (unless you go during a weeknight, which is what I did for this trip) multiple orders are taken at one time and they are all prepared on a flat-top grill just a few feet away from the counter. Every step of the process is literally in plain sight, except for the magic of what goes into the house seasoning. It could be a simple as salt and pepper–and it is a bit heavy on the peppery side for my taste–but having two slices of American cheese gloriously melting down and encasing the patty made up for a little extra spice.
The order was topped off with pickles, a large drink to wash it down, and a 50 cent box of popcorn and my daughter and I shared a meal watching Brave and Madagascar 3 on a blanket under the stars. It was an experience my parents shared with me and it thrills me to no end that I get to share it with the next generation.
Aside from having special mother-daughter time, the second best aspect of the evening was this whole experience did not break the budget. With children under 12 still admitted free (just as it was when I was a kid) the movie admission price and meal together came in just under $10.
A trip to the Calvert Drive-In is a value you won’t find anywhere else, a meal you won’t forget, and an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime.