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You know life is extra sweet when you find yourself eating spaghetti in your car at one of the few remaining old-school drive-ins in the area. Complete with a vintage neon sign, the Dari-Ette is a beloved piece of St. Paul’s East Side’s history, once featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Sure, you can get a classic burger, onion rings, or shake here, but what makes the Dari-Ette extra special is that the restaurant is third-generation, Italian-owned and operated, which is where the Italian specialties like spaghetti and meatballs or hot dago sandwiches come in. In October, before the Dari-Ette closes for the season, it’s also fun to witness the crowds pulling up to purchase the gallons of spaghetti sauce that will help get them through the long winter.
Many things on the East Side of St. Paul look like they haven't changed in 50 years--the old-guy bars, carpet shops, and "safety shoes" stores are the essence of old-school. And in the emerging Dayton's Bluff neighborhood is one prized piece of nostalgia--a genuine 1950s drive-in diner, the kind where you order through a speaker and eat in your car. At the Dari-ette, you know you are pulling up to the real deal when you see the giant vintage soft-serve ice cream cone on the... More »
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