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Bites Nearby: Richard's Drive-In

Vintage style meets quality fast food in this week’s pick.

Richard’s Drive-In may have a small menu, but what the drive-in does it does well, evident by its strong local following. Patrons know that Richard’s is the place to go for quick service and good food.

Richard’s Drive-In is mostly about grilled and fried foods, like burgers, cheesesteaks, French fries and onion rings. Gyros and pierogies are about as exotic as it gets, but if it sounds like the fare is a bit mediocre, consider that a smaller menu means a more fastidious approach.

“Everything that we use here is brand-name, [and] top-notch,” said owner Angelo Papageorgiou. “Our beef is grade-A, and all our produce stays local.”

And despite the “top-notch” approach, no single item tops $6, with meal combos averaging $6 to $10. 

Richard’s Drive-In is wholly reminiscent of a '50s-style diner, with its orange walls, the vintage Coca-Cola signs and the red-and-gray booths. The restaurant manages to look classic without being gaudy or tacky.

But the vintage look is part of the design; this location, on Sullivan Trail in Forks Township, is actually fairly new, having opened in 2007. The original Richard’s Drive-In, found across town on Freemansburg Avenue, was opened in the 1950s. Papageorgiou’s father, Jimmy, and two partners bought the business in 1966.

Today, Angelo Papageorgiou runs the Forks spot with two partners, one of whom is the son of original co-founder Theodore Kastrinakis, who died July 31 at age 78. The younger generation took over the business in 2007, just as the new location was opening. The décor of the second spot was fashioned to mimic the original.

“At the other restaurant, it’s all hot dogs, burgers, cheesesteaks… at this one, gyros are more popular,” said Papageorgiou regarding the local tastes. “They’re both unique.”

Richard’s does take-out or eat-in at one of eight indoor tables, or any of three outdoor tables, complete with sun umbrellas. It serves up Hershey’s hard ice cream, in a sundae, cone, milkshake or mixed with candy pieces to make a “blast.”

Richard’s Drive-In, at 1550 Sullivan Trail, is open seven days a week -- Monday through Saturday from 10:30am to 10pm, and Sundays from 11am to 10pm. During the winter months, the restaurant closes at 9pm daily.

If you’re looking for a bite nearby without putting a strain on your wallet, stop by Richard’s Drive-In and try a popular cheeseburger or gyro. You won’t be disappointed.

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