Aug 4, 2023

Burger Bargain

Black Forest Burger
Schnecksville Diner - Schnecksville, PA
We stopped at a small diner for something to eat on the way home from Weil Antique Center on Monday.  I'm not in the area too often, but I'm definitely going to make it a point to stop here for dinner when I am because the food was delicious and the price was very reasonable.  I had the Black Forest Burger, which is a 6 oz hamburger patty topped with ham, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, onions, and Swiss cheese.  It came with a side of french fries and coleslaw, all for less than ten bucks.

We passed a sign on the side of the road for Shankweiler's Drive-In Theatre a mile or two before we got to the diner.  Shankweiler's is the oldest operating drive-in theater in the world.  It's owned and operated by Matt McClanahan and Lauren McChesney.

We've never been to Shankweiler's before and I've never met Matt or Lauren, but I know what Matt looks like because he's heavily featured in a documentary about the Mahoning Drive-In Theater called At The Drive-In.  It was filmed back in 2016 when MattJeff, and Virgil were working together to keep the Mahoning afloat through the movie industry's transition away from 35mm film to an all-digital operation.  It's a fascinating documentary that you can watch for free on Tubi.  If you are at all interested in movies or drive-in theaters, I highly recommend it.

At some point between the filming of the documentary and the time that my wife and I discovered the Mahoning Drive-In TheaterMatt left the operation and branched out on his own.  Nine months ago, he and Lauren purchased Shankweiler's and they're in their first season of operating the historic theater.

When Angie and I were about halfway through our meal, we were both shocked and amused to see that Matt and Lauren came into the restaurant and were seated in the booth directly behind us.  I was almost positive it was them when they walked past our booth, but I knew for sure when we overheard them planning a Pee Wee Herman tribute night at Shankweiler's.

We didn't say anything to them.  I may be a weird dude, but I'm not weird enough to march up to two total strangers at a diner to tell them that we saw one of them in a documentary and that we're frequent customers of a business that he worked with a few years ago, but it did give us a pretty good laugh as we drove away from the diner after we finished out meal.  Even on the nights that we don't go to the drive-in, the drive-in finds a way to come to us.