Last of Coit's Drive-Ins in Oklahoma City closes

Loved ones of the late restaurateur Don Coit closed the last of his drive-ins on Saturday after a yearlong struggle to reinvent the operation's appeal to younger customers.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: December 4, 2012

The operation grew; the root beer stand ended its affiliation with Webber's and turned into a drive-in and restaurant, and two more drive-ins were opened at NW 39 and Pennsylvania Avenue and at NW 50 and Portland. Don Coit bought more real estate, including the Coit Center shopping plaza across from his NW 50 restaurant.

By the 1980s, the Coit's logo with the Christmas tree atop the “i” became a fixture in town for anyone driving by the restaurants or the large Christmas tree operation opened every winter at the corner of Northwest Expressway and what is now the Lake Hefner Parkway. Classic car enthusiasts, meanwhile, gathered for summertime rallies at the restaurant at NW 39 and Pennsylvania.

The passing of Don Coit in 2005 was always seen as a blow to the drive-ins, Ravencraft said.

“They were doing OK at first,” he said. “But things changed. And in the restaurant business, you always have to keep changing. Johnnie's (another longtime local hamburger chain) has changed — they adapted.”

Now that the last of the drive-ins have closed, Ravencraft is seeing increased interest by potential buyers.

“We've had some offers — we're considering one now for the restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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