Founder of iconic Traverse City drive-in restaurant dies

Posted at 5:59 PM, Oct 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-17 17:59:09-04

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The founder of an iconic drive-in restaurant in Traverse City has died at age 86.

Don Shaff owned Don’s Drive-In from 1960-80, but the name never changed under subsequent owners. It’s known for drive-in stalls and a large sign with a pink car along U.S. 31.

Shaff doubled the size of the restaurant after he purchased it in 1960. He also added curb service “365 days a year, no matter what the temperature was outside,” according to his obituary.

He died on Oct. 10.

Bob Wilson bought the restaurant in 1980 and owned it for 37 years before selling it to the current owner, Mike Maddasion, in 2017, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

Erna Shaff said one of her husband’s favorite expressions was, “Come again and bring a friend.”

“It was like getting rid of a child,” she said of the decision to sell the restaurant. “He loved it.”