Edwards Drive-In

The end of a legacy. Except not.

By Todd Travis

Edwards Drive-In diner has closed its doors for good after going 64 years strong. But that’s not the end of the story. The Edwards family will continue what Herb Edwards started back in 1957. It will just look a little different.

This is not the first change the diner has undergone. “When Herb first started the business, it was actually a Dog n Suds drive-in and United Gas Station combination,” recounted Jeff Edwards, one of the owners. Since then, the location has transformed many times, even surviving two different fires. The one thing that has stayed the same for all these years has been the mindset of the Edwards family. They sometimes served more as a parent or a friend to their staff than as employers.

Susie Young, Bob Gillett, Nila Young, Becky Craig, Rick Pea and Nancy Roth were employees of Dog ‘n Suds, which became Edwards Drive-In. (Submitted photo)

“I never heard anyone refer to this as a job, only as an opportunity,” Jeff remarked. “The diner acted as a tool to build relationships and help people.” Jeff even met his wife in the diner. He saw his dad interviewing her and was mesmerized. He said to himself, “I’m going to marry this girl.” And he did. The real legacy that this business has carried revolves more around relationships than food. But the food was always good too!

So, what is next for Edwards Drive-In? The answer has already been driving around for close to 12 years now. The Dashboard Diner is the food truck that has been operated by the family at select locations in the area. Their famous tenderloins and root beer will continue to be served on the truck going forward. They plan to expand their use of the food truck now that it is their exclusive place of business. If you want to find out where they’ll be you can check out their Facebook page or their website edwardsdrivein.com. If you’re wondering whether the drive-in will ever return to a brick-and-mortar location Jeff’s response to that question might make it clear. “The world would have to change for me to consider ever doing that,” he said.

A group of former employees who worked at Edwards Drive-In between 2009-2013 met up during the restaurant’s 60th anniversary. “The people from the photo were graduates from Beech Grove, Franklin Central and Roncalli and we all became friends through our time working together at Edwards,” said Johnna Michelle, pictured amongst her friends. (Photo courtesy of Johnna Michelle)

The loss of this location has been heartbreaking for the Southside community. This was more than just a good diner. It was a place that created positive change for its staff and patrons. Thankfully, through the Dashboard Diner, the Edwards family will continue to serve Indianapolis and create opportunities for many more people in the future. You can read a message from the Edwards family regarding the closure on their website.