Richards Drive-In Carfeteria, Cambridge 1940s
Richards Drive-In Carfeterias featured twin brother and sister doll-like characters, munching on hamburgers. Identically dressed, they were located on the roof of the diners and beckoned hungry Moms and Dads and their kids to stop while on road trips.
There were multiple locations in Illinois - in Chicago, Lincolnwood, Wilmette and EverGreen Park. There was also at least one in Detroit, Michigan, at Van Dyke and Outer Drive, another in the West Hempstead area of Long Island, New York, and one in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Richards logo was Don’t Drive By – Drive in! and it cleverly added the word Carfeteria (a mash-up of car and cafeteria).
Their top seller was the famous California Twinburger – cost was 50c in this 1950s menu – as well as various fountain specialties like root beer floats and milk shakes.
The exaggerated eyes of the twin characters remind us of the work of artist Margaret Keane, whose portraits of big-eyed children first became a sensation in the 60s and inspired the 2014 Tim Burton film Big Eyes.
Margaret’s husband Walter, a realtor, initially passed off the work as his own but Margaret set the record in the 70s after their divorce when she challenged her ex to a public paint-off in San Francisco and he didn’t turn up.
Wait staff at Richards wore smart green uniforms and hats, bringing trays of food to hungry car occupants during curb service.
We believe the Richards chain of drive-in carfeterias began to be phased out in the 70s.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.