Taking orders as usual

Amber Duncan, a car hop at Lynn’s Drive Inn in Bluewell, takes an unidentified customers order recently. The many precautions in place against the pandemic are forcing restaurant dining outdoors, but Lynn’s Drive-Inn has no issues there as the dining has been outdoors for almost 70 years.

BLUEWELL — Precautions against a pandemic are making restaurant dining an outdoor activity, but that’s fine at Lynn’s Drive-Inn because the dining there has been all outdoors for almost 70 years.

Southern West Virginia’s weather has gone from rainy to sunny and back again, but wet weather hasn’t kept long-time customers and newcomers from pulling up to the drive-in for food ranging from footlong hotdogs to cheeseburgers.

Conditions were cold and wet when Russell and Michelle Hamilton of Welch pulled up and stopped for lunch. Russell, 55, said he has been coming to Lynn’s Drive-Inn since he was 10 years old.

“I love the cheeseburgers and stuff. She gets the chicken sandwich. She gets it all the time,” he said after giving the waitress their order. They were glad that they could still eat at the drive-in.

“Yea, yea, there ain’t anywhere to go eat,” Russell Hamilton said. “I wish they’d hurry up and open the restaurants back up, but I’ll still have to get my double cheeseburger.”

The current owners of Lynn’s Drive-Inn, Bernice and Buck Lucado, have had the restaurant for about 41 years. It was founded on July 1, 1950, by the late Ruck and Dot Hale. They named the drive-in after their young son, Lynn, Bernice Lucado recalled.

By coincidence, the name goes well with the Lucado family, too.

“My husband’s middle name is Lynn and our daughter’s middle name is (Kara) Lynn,” she said. “But we wouldn’t have change the name, anyway.”

Another constant at Lynn’s Drive-Inn is the menu. The chill, which is “the main draw,” has been made for years with the same recipe.

“It’s always the homemade chili and it’s the same recipe Dot had when they first opened the place,” Bernice said.

Lynn’s Drive-In has been a local destination for years. The Hatfield-McCoy ATV Trail introduced newcomers to the restaurant, and residents who have moved away still stop by to say hello and get something to eat.

“We try to have really good food,” Bernice said. “We get a lot of people who have come over the years and have moved away, but they still stop by for a visit.”

The drive-in’s very nature already fits the latest guidelines for restaurants. Gov. Jim Justice said recently in the change from “stay-at-home” to “safer-at-home” that restaurants can offer outdoor dining as well as takeouts and curbside service. Lynn’s Drive-Inn was already meeting those guidelines.

The fact that the drive-in lets customers practice social distancing easily has kept business going with all the restrictions still in place.

“This is probably the busiest we’ve ever been,” she said.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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