Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chow Time: Hi-D-Ho Drive-In

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...

It's open!!!

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.

All of the food at Hi-D-Ho is fresh/never frozen.  Signage indicates to diners that they must
practice patience as everything is cooked to order.  After hours of driving, we were especially
hungry but the order came well before the snarling fits of "hanger" set in.  Our check included
fries, a BLT, and the Tiger Burger (a double-cheeseburger by any other name...).

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!

From the white sands of Alamogordo, in the luxury of "a diamond car with platinum wheels," the Messrs. Tiny and Calloway send their regards with a "Hi-D, Hi-D-Ho!"

"Hi-De-Ho" - Cab Calloway

Hi-D-Ho Drive-In
414 White Sands Blvd
Alamogordo, NM


Mr. Tiny


  1. I feel like this is the place where Kevin Bacon and Co. got down and danced super hard (just outside city limits) in Footloose. Also, if they didn't greet me with a friendly hi-d-ho, I would throw fries in their face!

    1. A basket of hot fries, right in the face - you're brutal...hahaha!!! I should've created my own Footloose dance party; actually, I kind of did karaoke with the '80s jams playing on their loudspeaker. I made so many friends that day...