Homer's Drive-In: the oldest drive-through in the metro

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Homers Drive-In, a Leavenworth icon since the Great Depression.
  • Homer's Drive-In, a Leavenworth icon since the Great Depression.

The Kansas City metro has plenty of historic drive-in restaurants: the beloved local Winstead's (opened in 1940), Mug's Up Root Beer Drive-In (1957), Harold's Drive-In (1958), The Humdinger (1962), and the drive-in that may be the oldest of them all, the cozy diner at 1320 S. Fourth Street in Leavenworth called Homer's. It started as a root-beer stand - with male carhops wearing long-sleeve shirts and ties - in 1931. The current location was opened in 1938.

Unlike modern drive-ins, Homer's doesn't have a drive-through window. Unlike Mugs Up, there are no carhops. And if Harold's and the Humdinger are old-fashioned drive-ins that require patrons to park their automobiles and actually go into the building, Homer's has a sort of car service.

If a car stops in front of the entrance, an employee will run out and take the customer's order (and then deliver it when it's ready) or, if the patron called ahead to make an order, an employee will rush it right out. No one wears long-sleeve shirts and ties anymore.

The pies are Golden Boy at Homers.
  • The pies are Golden Boy at Homer's.
You can still order a root-beer float at Homer's, although the shakes and malts are much more alluring (available in chocolate, vanilla, cherry, pineapple or strawberry) and perfectly complement the burgers, homemade chili, Frito pie, shrimp baskets, and pork fritter sandwiches. Homer's (which closes "around 8 p.m. or so," according to one of the servers) also offers deluxe plate dinners: fish, ham, beef brisket, turkey, country-fried steak, and catfish for $8.49. The meals include Texas toast, a choice of fries or mashed potatoes with white or brown gravy, and a choice of green beans, corn, slaw or potato salad.

Homer's has a full selection of Olathe-made Golden Boy pies - the standard of all great Kansas City diners. The apple pie can be ordered with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. Or both.

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