Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In Memoriam: Bonnie Doon Drive In

Yesterday, en route to Mishawaka, passing by the comfortably familiar sights of Club Landing and the Wooden Indian on Lincolnway, I noticed, to my deep disappointment, that a well-known landmark was not readily apparent: the italicized letters spelling out Bonnie Doon, usually glowing a soft neon blue and pink, were dark.  In a vague recollection, I remembered an article a couple weeks ago about it closing soon... but I foolishly thought we had at least until April, or least one spring day left to enjoy a chocolate malt/IUSB sundae/mini-scoop sampler.    But the windows are papered; the parking lot, empty.
And so I call, just like I have done countless times before.  I have often called to find out when they close for the evening in the hope I can make it in time to that perfect place to end a day's adventures.  It's happened before that my luck ran thin, and I headed to the Dairy Queen instead.  But it wasn't the same.  It wasn't just the ice cream -- it was the red vinyl and jukebox, or the indestructible poured concrete tables and Harleys outside.  It's that intangible feeling one gets visiting somewhere unique, where the experience can't be found anywhere else. 

I guess it didn't use to be this way.  I have passed former Bonnie Doon drive in's, still standing like skeletal remains in the desert surrounding downtown South Bend and Mishawaka... yet I naively assumed that the location I grew so fond of over the past two years was safe, a timeless local institution, somewhere that had such essence of the community that it would remain forever.  I should have paid closer attention to the seemingly unavoidable consequences of bypassing old Lincoln [high]Way with US-31 and the Toll Road. 

Honestly and undeservedly, this post is more of an apology than elegy.  It wasn't the price, or the customer satisfaction.  There simply wasn't enough traffic, one might say.


  1. OMG, please save us from this background graphic. It is really hard on the eyes and makes the article hard to read.

  2. The original on 4th is still kickin'.

  3. The Bonnie Doon Drive-IN on Lincolnway is still open but it is now seasonal we close in the winter months. So please tell everyone you can. Please support local businesses we need our customers to frequent all local businesses as much as possible. Thank You Adam Carroll owner of the Bonnie Doon Drive-IN
    Located on Lincolnway near Ironwood next to Albrights Bike Shop. Thank you we hope to see you in the spring.