Folks, here's a story 'bout Hi-D-Ho Drive-In;
For three-and-sixty it's been jivin'.
The atmosphere is a little bit stale,
But Hi-D's got a heart as big as a whale.
|Hi-D-Ho Drive-In (1952) - Alamogordo, New Mexico|
Not all drive-in restaurants live up to the romantic ideal set forth by American Graffiti, or Moon Over Miami, or one of many such examples of Hollywood hokum. The carhops at Hi-D-Ho may no longer don roller skates. There may no longer be (nor have ever been) a welcome jingle sung by sisters in western wear. But in a time when even small towns like Alamogordo, NM are being overrun with every fast food chain imaginable, there is one huge thing to be said for the original Hi-D-Ho Drive-In...
Thankfully, Hi-D-Ho Drive-In suffers not from Route 66-ization Syndrome (likenesses of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Elvis plastered over every available surface). Rather, it suffers from a bit of an identity crisis, vacillating between wanting to maintain retro credibility and trying to be competitively "now-tro." At 63 years old, Hi-D-Ho has a similar look to those people one encounters whose ages are difficult to determine because they have chosen to battle mortality by undergoing a questionable series of dubious cosmetic procedures. Hi-D-Ho doesn't look young exactly; neither does it quite look like a specimen of natural aging. In a way, I suppose this makes the whole place as ageless as its ketchup & mustard color scheme!
|For diners too uncoordinated to eat within the confines of their Ford Fiestas, a covered patio |
offers yellow-laminated, bent-wood seating set against a cinder block wall of Heinz-57 red.
Road-food aficionados will be glad to know that drive-in protocol is strictly observed; a quick flash of the headlights beckons a smiling carhop ready to take your order. If I could leave one critique for Alamogordo's oldest drive-in, I would love to encourage the servers to greet each new carful of customers with a, "Hi-D-Ho!" It only makes sense.
"Hi-D-Ho!!!" See, it's fun!
I'm not so sure that my brand of cornball
enthusiasm was winning me any friends that day.
Hi-D-Ho's menu consists of fairly-standard drive-in fare with some regional favorites (tamales with fried eggs) thrown in for good measure. When one finds oneself at the "Home of the Tiger Burger," however, one must insist that at least one brave soul in the car is willing to catch that Tiger Burger by the tail.
Should we find ourselves in the friendly embrace of southern New Mexico again, we would gladly return to Alamogordo's hometown hero. Hi-D-Ho may not satisfy all of our nostalgic longings, but its guileless charm and decades of stick-to-itiveness were more than enough to sate both our stomachs and our wacky tacky souls.
|And 9-out-of-10 frowzy-haired, wild-eyed kids agree that you can keep|
your hot-n-ready "Pizza! Pizza!" We'll choose to "kick the gong around"
with Hi-D-Ho everytime!