Dude's Drive Inn in Redding
● By Kendra Kaiserman
Old Fashioned Goodness
By Kendra Kaiserman
Photos by Ron Gregory
Nostalgia – a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Dude’s Drive Inn in Redding is home to nostalgia and good food.
It all started in 1964, but didn’t officially open until August 24, 1965. Lewis “Dude” McCaslin and Viola “Vi” McCaslin purchased the land at 1644 Hartnell Ave. and signed a contract with the Dari-Delite franchise. After a few years, they changed the name to Dude’s. “My grandfather’s nickname was ‘Dude,’ because he was a really cool dude,” third generation owner Roxanne McCaslin says.
Back in the day, you could get six hamburgers for a buck and Dude’s employees wore all-white uniforms. Dude’s was on the main highway through Redding at the time, and was there before McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants came to Redding. Dude and Vi sold their business to their son, Ron McCaslin, in 1977. Ron owned Dude’s until he passed away on February 25, 2015, at which time daughter Roxanne took over the business. “He sat there all day long and chit-chatted with customers,” Roxanne says of her dad. “He was a funny guy. He was a comedian. He called everyone, ‘kiddo.’ He was a gentle soul.”
On any given day, one could walk into Dude’s and smell food being prepared, hear orders being taken by friendly employees and see pictures on the walls of long-time employees and customers. It also has a drive-through. “It’s not like any typical restaurant. It’s a family business with everyone interconnected in the group,” says Roxanne.
“All the employees here are really friendly. Good service and good food,” says crewmember Regina Amico, who has been working at Dude’s for almost three years.
Dude’s has between 11 and 13 employees. “Everyone learns how to cook,” Roxanne says. “Everyone has to learn how to do everything.” Employees agree that what sets Dude’s apart from other hamburger joints are the fresh meats and ingredients, family atmosphere and variety of choices. “We use fresh meat, make our burgers to order and everything is super fresh,” says crewmember April Woodcook.
The sign outside reads, “3 of the same, 4th one free,” which includes cheeseburgers, corn dogs, fries and burritos. Roxanne says specialties include shakes and crushed ice. “That’s a big deal,” she says. Menu items also include the hamoneer, which is a hamburger with ham that they slice themselves, pastrami sandwiches, chili dogs, polish dogs, tacos, gems (tater tots), burgers, fries and more.
“Dude’s is always trying to improve the business,” Roxanne says. Recent updates include a new air conditioning unit and paint job on the tables outside. “We want to keep it going, we want to make it better,” says Roxanne. You can even call a hotline that goes directly to Roxanne to make suggestions.
To sum up Dude’s, Roxanne would say, “Dude’s is family-oriented during the day and crazy at night.”
Dude’s Drive Inn • 1644 Hartnell Ave, Redding
www.dudesdriveinn.com • (530) 222-3775
(888) 681-8185 (Hotline suggestion number)
Open 7 days a week, 10 am-9 pm