Business partners Vernon Wendland, Wayne Dornack and Russel Hoven wanted to get into the restaurant business as quickly and easily as possible. That was the idea when they ordered not one, but two prefab diners from Valentine Manufacturing in the fall of 1950.
The typically curious “sidewalk engineers” marveled at the construction site at 1223 Second St. SW across from Saint Marys Hospital in downtown Rochester. No need for truckloads of blocks, lumber and bricks, or dozens of construction workers.
Two trucks with a metal box on each one pulled up. A crane lifted the boxes, which came with a finished kitchen, counters, tables and seats, and placed them on their foundation. In short order, they were ready to fire up the grill.
A sign on the front of the Second Street Southwest location referred to it as Driv-ett No. 1 as Driv-ett No. 2 was being placed behind the Avalon Hotel.
“Lens on History” is a weekly photo feature by Lee Hilgendorf, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County.
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