Get quality fast food and an old-school drive-in experience at these locations in and around Calgary. So, hop in the car and hit up these haunts for a burger (or in one case, excellent brisket), fries and milkshake.
Angel’s Drive In
It’s hard to miss this fast food joint in Bowness seeing as it’s painted bright blue. Order from the drive-through window or park and come inside to experience the 1950s diner vibe. Angel’s Drive In has an extensive menu, selling everything from the usual burgers and fries to breakfast items, hot beef dinner and donairs. There’s construction here currently, but know that it’s still open during the renovations.
Order this: The Bowness Burger. You’re in Bowness, after all.
8603 47 Ave. NW, angelsdrivein.ca
Big Sky BBQ Pit, Okotoks
This might be the newest drive-in around Calgary. Located just north of Okotoks, Big Sky BBQ Pit opened in 2016 and sells authentic Texas barbeque. Drive through here ready to get a lot of meat because that’s the Big Sky BBQ Pit specialty. Smokers from Louisiana are used here and different woods are used in that smoker, depending on the meat.
Order this: Go all out and order the Pit Pack platter. You’ll get one pound of pulled pork, one pound of brisket, two sausages, a tub of beans, a tub of cole slaw and cornbread. Yup, this platter is big — like, really big — so chances are you’ll have leftovers.
306016 15 St. E, Okotoks, bigskybbq.ca
C.B. Drive Inn
Stop here for a satisfying fast food meal when driving home after a walk through Nose Hill Park. You’ll get a healthy dose of nostalgia visiting here — this drive-in opened in the 1970s and not much has changed since then.
Order this: There aren’t many drive-ins where shrimp is on the menu, so order the Shrimp Dinner Box next time you’re here. For $9.25 you’ll get five pieces of battered shrimp with cocktail sauce. Its crinkle fries are also a must-order menu item.
789 Northmount Dr. NW, cb-driveinn.com
The Hitchin Post Drive-In
This unassuming drive-in in High River has been selling burgers, shakes, fries and onion rings since the 1970s. Expect friendly service and generous portions here. This drive-in is only open seasonally — and it’s incredibly popular — so expect a bit of a wait.
Order this: Instead of ordering a side of fries or onion rings with your burger, order the mushrooms. They’re breaded and deep-fried and a whole lot of delicious.
14 12 Ave. SE, High River
So, you have to get out of your car to order a meal here now — it’s no longer operating as a drive-in — but you’ll get a similar experience if you order from the restaurant’s side window. Or, leave your car parked in the lot and come inside to see the vintage photographs on its walls and the old-timey mechanical elephant, named Elsie years ago by a young customer. This fast food joint has been in the same location in Inglewood since it opened in the late 1940s and is a satisfying fast food stop after an afternoon at the Calgary Zoo or the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.
Order this: The Inglewood Drive-In only recently added Dole Whip to its menu. It’s summery, it’s refreshing and it will remind you of good times at the Calgary Stampede.
802 12 St. SE, inglewooddrivein.com
Gus Pieters opened this iconic fast food joint on 16 Avenue NE in 1962, nine years after he moved to Canada from the Netherlands. The former pastry chef ensured that his drive-in sold the city’s thickest milkshakes and he also created the secret sauce that all the hamburger patties are dunked in. (Both the shakes and the saucy burgers are still made using Pieters’ original recipe.) If you’re driving here for an old-fashioned, late-night treat on a warm summer evening, expect a line-up. And know that this fast food is worth waiting in line for.
Order this: A super-thick milk shake. (We recommend Oreo, but there are 30 flavours on the menu.) Or, mix up to three flavours together. You can do that here.
219 16 Ave. NE, petersdrivein.com
Important: How to Drive-In Hop
Don’t just visit one drive-in. Visit several!
The Cross-Calgary Drive-In Hop:
Start here: Start your drive-in hop in Bowness. Order a milkshake from Angel’s Drive In and then drive north toward Highway 1 to get to your next stop. Drink your milkshake now, or wait a little while for it to melt. That makes it easier to get up the straw, anyways.
The next stop: Get your side from C.B. Drive Inn. If you’re having trouble deciding, choose the crinkle fries. And it’s okay to have a few as you drive to your next stop — fries do taste best fresh.
The final stop: Drive down 14th Street and through downtown, and end your drive-in hop at Inglewood Drive-In. Order a burger here and then head to Pearce Estate Park, where you can enjoy everything at one of the picnic sites.
The North-to-South Drive Thru Hop:
Start here: Start in Calgary at Peters’ Drive In. Get your burger here and eat it right away, either at one of the picnic tables here or in your car in the Peters’ parking lot. These burgers are saucy — you don’t want to be multitasking.
The next stop: Drive south toward Okotoks and stop for smoked bacon and beans, homemade cornbread and jalapeno bacon mac ‘n’ cheese at the Big Sky BBQ Pit.
The final stop: End your drive-in hop in High River at the Hitchin Post Drive In. Get dessert here — we recommend the real strawberry banana milkshake. Spend some time in High River before making the drive back to Calgary.
By Elisabeth Kellisdottir