By the end of this month, the Cakes-n-Creams 50’s Diner in Branson will be home to a fully functioning replica of a classic drive-in movie theatre.
Cakes N’ Creams 50’s Diner owner John Moore said the inspiration behind the drive-in was a result of the restaurant restrictions put in place due to the pandemic.
“When this virus thing came along this year, I knew we were really in trouble as far as getting the excitement for people to get into a crowded diner, because we push about 2,000 people per day though our operation normally in the summer time,” Moore said. “So we have a really heavy flow of people coming through, and it’s crowded, but it’s a fun place once they all get in there.”
“I told my wife, I said ‘We need to create a comfortable atmosphere for this virus problem we have here. Why don’t we do an outdoor drive-in? Build a big screen and have old movies playing or classic films playing while they have their sandwiches and desserts.’”
Moore explained that ,just a year and a half ago, they remodeled the restaurant and added 2,000 square feet of space.
“We added an arcade and more seating and things like that. We closed in a patio we had outdoors, and then we created another patio outside,” said Moore. “Then I had to build this parking lot behind my building that I had been working on for several years of building that area that I purchased and it created about 50 extra parking spots for me back there and that was really highly needed for our area.”
While there are still a handful of drive-in movie theaters in operation across the country, Moore shared why he only considers his drive-in to be a replica.
“The reason I call it a replica is, it’s small. We can’t fit 300 cars in there, but it’s also free to the public. I’m not charging anything. It’s mainly to bring back the memories and the old-time feeling of the good ol’ days of the drive-in and the things like that, that young people have never gotten to experience,” said Moore. “They can just come back there and pull in there and find a spot.
“Then we can hopefully sell them food and things like that so they can eat. As long as they’re buying food, I’ll be a happy camper.”
By using carhops and using the space in the basement of the diner, Moore said they’ll be able to take food orders from people who pull in to enjoy the drive-in.
“I think people are really excited about it. We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest in it, and everybody’s just saying what a wonderful thing. So I’m really excited to see how it’s going to turn out,” said Moore. “We’re hoping to get open right after this weekend.
“We’re practicing this weekend. We’re going to try getting the girls taking orders by next week, and then we’ll be able to keep it going seven days a week and we’ll have movies playing every night.”
Moore said the game plan for the summer season is to have two movie times every night. The first film will start at 9 p.m. and then the second film will start at 10:45 p.m.
“We’ll either have an encore presentation or we’ll have two presentations per night, like a double feature. We want to give people as much chance as possible to come in and try it out as we can,” Moore said. “We only have 50 available parking spots that aim right at the big screen. But they can park anywhere, and we do have picnic tables they can walk over from the hotels and different things around us. They’ll just sit at the picnic tables and sit outside and watch the movies.”
Moore explained that the drive-in will have outdoor speakers for those who choose to sit at the picnic tables. People who choose to sit in their vehicles will be able to tune in to 107.5 FM on their radios to hear the movie. Moore added that they plan to screen an assortment of different movies and even have themed nights, weeks and months in the future.
“Mainly classics and good fun films for kids and families. We will not probably be showing any R-rated or anything like that. So it will all be PG-13 movies,” said Moore. “We’ll have sci-fi night. We’ll have sports night. We’ll have western night. We’ll have different things for different occasions.
“Then we might go with a monthly thing and have the month of February be couples month for Feb. 14 and Valentine’s months and then we’ll be into Halloween for October and scare the heck out of everybody with some spooky movies. We’re looking forward to really trying some different things.”
Upcoming movie presentations and schedules can be found by calling the Cakes-n-Cremes 50’s Diner at 417-334-4929 or by visiting their page on Facebook.
“We’re excited and I can’t wait to see how everybody likes what we’ve done,” said Moore. “I think it will be fun for the whole family and all ages. I just can’t wait for all of them to come see us.”