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The Story Behind Red’s Drive-In

Red’s Drive-In has been a Dollywood fan-favorite since it opened with Jukebox Junction in 1995. The menu boasts thick, frosty shakes and the best burgers in town. Apart from being a well-themed eatery (with great food!), this spot serves as a nod to some Dolly Parton history.

In 1946—the year Dolly was born—a man named Paul “Red” Clevenger opened a small restaurant in Sevierville. Red’s Café offered a variety of short-order items, but burgers were his specialty. When Dolly was a little girl, she recalls she had a toothache and had to “go to town” to see a dentist. Dolly’s father treated her to lunch at Red’s after her appointment. That childhood memory stayed with Dolly because it was the day she tasted her first hamburger. She says by the time she got to high school, she visited frequently. Burgers cost a quarter and soda and fried pies were a nickel!

Did You Know?

You can learn a lot of this history just by checking out the signage inside Red’s Drive-In.

To celebrate the fondness Dolly has for this local eatery, Red’s Drive-In became a staple in the Jukebox Junction landscape. While the original Red’s is no longer open for business, Dolly hopes the restaurant at Dollywood will preserve its memory for years to come.

The opportunity to place Red’s at Dollywood worked out beautifully when the team dreamed up the Jukebox Junction section of the park. The 1950s theming lends itself to classic cars and doo-wop. When guests visit Red’s Drive-In, they’ll see poodle skirts and hear Elvis singing in the background.

Did You Know?

Pines Theater is another intentional venue placement in Jukebox Junction. It’s the first place Dolly appeared as a paid performer. At Dollywood, this is a great location for live entertainment.

When looking for lunch, Red’s serves burgers, crinkle-cut fries, chili fries, wraps, kids’ meals, salads and seasonal milkshakes.

By | 2022-03-21T08:23:55+00:00 August 10th, 2020|Dining|0 Comments

About the Author:

Amber Davis is in the thick of navigating life as a working mom. She regularly balances meetings and tantrums —from her children, not coworkers. Growing up in Knoxville, Amber visited Dollywood and Sevier County often and now loves to share the same experiences with her own young family. Read More!
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