MATTHEWS DRIVE-IN
Elm St., Manchester, Georgia
Before there was a TANT'S CAFE
Before there was the BULLOCH HOUSE
Before there was THA DELI
Before there was a MAC'S BAR-B-QUE
THERE WAS
Dedicated in loving tribute to
Mr. and Mrs. Matthews,
Margaret and Boots Chapman,
Cladye and Bobbie Smith
and to all the local patrons of the day.
Matthews Drive-In a/k/a "The Store" was one of Manchester's favorite diners in the 50's and 60's. Located in the small residential neighborhood on Elm St. near the railroad crossing behind the old Calloway Mill, it was truly an original of the day.

It was family owned and operated by
Mr. and Mrs. Matthews (Granny), Margaret and Boots Chapman and hopped by Bobbie Smith (grandaughter) and many other Manchester teenagers (I remember Danny (late 1960's)who could talk like Donald Duck) over the years.

It was  known for its great steak sandwiches and fabulous barbecues on a toasted bun, served with real milkshakes,
Coke Cola, Red Rock Cola, Royal Crown Cola, Sun Crest, Orange Crush or sweet tea. Don't forget the fries!!!

Behind the store was the Matthews' and the Chapman's home. Often seen was Mr. Matthews in his white meat-cutters jacket down at the barbecue pit down behind the store slaving over his Q.

The drive-in evolved from a small local grocery store in the early 1940's to a drive-in restaurant in the 1950s & 60s.  Catering to local teenagers, railroad men and other Manchester and Warm Spring patrons of the area. Many of whom own their own successful restaurants today.

Matthews had an outdoor dance pavilion (called the "patio") complete with an outdoor juke-box kept in an elevated white wooden box at one end. Often Elvis, the Beatles, the Everly Brothers and most memorable, "Rocky Top" by the Osborne Brothers were the records of choice.

A patron's visit generally found Margaret and Boots taking orders behind the counter while Boots made burgers and kept the things running in the back (when not working on the RR). You would usually find Mr. Matthews sitting on his on his stool slicing that unforgettable smoked pork, mixing it in his secret barbecue sauce, always served with fresh dill pickles on a toasted bun. Granny (Mrs. Matthews) usually sat at the front door, in her black leather rocking chair, drinking her Dr. Pepper over crushed ice and visiting with the local teenagers, getting after them and giving them advice. Just inside off to the right was  the diner where two pinball machines and a juke box were kept flashing, ringing and singing on Friday and Saturday nights. In the summer Granny would have a Dr. Pepper in one hand and a fly-swatter in the other!
There was nothing like the ice cream in the freezer just inside the front. My favorite was those little "Push-Ups" in the red tube with the stick in the bottom.

On Friday and Saturday nights the kids in the area drove up and parked all around the restaurant and the patio while hops and teenagers ran from car to car.

In the mid to late 50's and on into the 1960s and early 1970s, Matthews Drive-was the place to be and be seen for many of the locals in the area.

Often when I visit Manchester or Warm Springs, I'll mention Matthews Drive-In to someone old enough to remember the old store. Always, I get a smile, a quick stare into the memory pond followed by a great story about how it used to be.
Margaret Matthews Chapman late 1940s
Mr. George Hurley Matthews
Boots Chapman (WWII GI in 1940s-recently returned from Europe) and his niece Bobbie Smith on side of store. Their house in the back.
Ft. Benning Boys 1950s
Ft. Benning Boys and Girls 1950s
Hamp Morgan & Charles Garrot
with friends 1950s
Shirley Shivers and local boy 1950s
Front Porch of Store on Elm St. 1940s
Please sign our guest book and write in your recollections from yesteryear.
Thank you for stopping in!
Got old photos? Send them in and we'll post them to this site.
Send to dwillow@bellsouth.net
Margaret Giddens and Jess Kellog talking it up in the 1950s
Mrs. Matthews (Granny) 1940s
The back of the store in the 1940s prior to the addition of the diner and back porch. Fresh poured slab for the outdoor dance floor ("patio")
Boots & Margaret at Christmas time 1950s
These two sure loved each other.
The store in the late 1940s prior to the add on of the diner and patio.