Hall’s Original Drive-In was not part of my original itinerary. Before I left Miami on my 3-week book signing road trip, there were about 20 planned stops to eat at. There were no layovers in Indiana at all. My wife Marcela and I had never been to Indiana before or even driven through it on a previous drive.
I changed our stay in Louisville, Kentucky, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, after realizing it was Kentucky Derby weekend. That is the kind of weekend that can severely impact your vacation with lots of traffic.
I reached out to @VisitIndiana on Instagram, who connected me with Jessa from @VisitFortWayne. It was Jessa who told me about Don Hall’s Family Restaurants. She also put me in contact with Tim Hall, who I spoke with about possibly doing a book signing there (we both decided against it, too little time to set it up).
Tim and I met at Hall’s Original Drive-In, where we had lunch with his dad Bud and cousin Max.
I was lucky enough to sit down and hear stories of the founding of Hall’s back in 1946. Bud is a national burger treasure, and Hall’s and their story should be put in writing for posterity’s sake. Tim and Max would interject comments and add tales throughout his narrative. It was nice to see that generational family dynamic. It’s the type of thing that makes Hall’s restaurants extra special.
Even though Hall’s Original didn’t end up hosting an All About The Burger book signing there, we had a great time plus I did leave them a copy of the book to enjoy.
The onion rings are hand-breaded and perfect with that zesty sauce. The chicken tenders with their flaky seasoned breading were excellent, and the Tots Poutine is an ingenious tasty idea. The Big Buster has skyrocketed to one of my all-time favorite burgers. Damn, it was good.
One last food shout-out goes to their marvelous Frosty Malt. Just plain incredible. I hope you can find your way to Hall’s Original and have the excellent food experience that Marcela and I enjoyed.
P.S.: There is an actual drive-in service with carhops, so if you’re old school, you can go that route instead of eating inside.
Thank you to our new friends Bud, Tim, and Max Hall, for the Hall family hospitality.
Hall’s Original (since 1946)
1502 Bluffton Road
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46809
Don Hall’s Hollywood Drive-In
4416 Lima Road
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808