Rumors that Itâ€™s Drive-In Grill is shutting down are false.
â€œI have heard that we have been sold to Pizza Hut and Cracker Barrel,â€ said owner, Steve Gibson. â€œWe havenâ€™t sold it.â€
In fact, Gibson said that they are not thinking about shutting down anytime soon.
With many of the new restaurants in the area and the announcement of Sonic coming, Gibson said his business is not threatened.
â€œWe have customers who have been eating at Itâ€™s for 50 years,â€ he said. â€œFor most people around here itâ€™s part of their childhood.â€
Earl Elmore, 83, of Lincolnton is known by many as the man who started several of the well known and loved restaurants in the area.
He started Itâ€™s Drive-In Grill in 1956 and introduced the poor boy and poor girl sandwich.
They each cost 50 cents with fries, the sandwich served up hot on a toasted bun.
At the time he also ran Creamland Grill, which opened before Itâ€™s in 1947 and had homemade ice cream, sandwiches and barbecue.
There was also Pine Lodge, a catering business which Elmore began in 1957 and once sat behind Itâ€™s.
He claims he was quite the successful businessman.
Elmore learned to cook through the army in WWII where he was in service for five years. He wanted to be a flight officer, but his eyes failed him. So he became a cook.
Once he returned home from the war, his restaurant career â€œsimplyâ€ took off.
Elmore said Itâ€™s became a place loved by many.
â€œYou couldnâ€™t get parked,â€ he said.
Up to 50 cars a night could be parked in the drive-in dining area.
And it didnâ€™t have to be a Saturday night either.
â€œEvery night was busy,â€ he added.
Many of Elmoreâ€™s best friends were made at the drive-in grill, and he believes many people in Lincolnton feel that way as well.
â€œI am sure it would bring back a lot of memories to some people,â€ he said.
Now 47 years later and under new ownership, Elmore said he thinks business is still popular at Itâ€™s.
â€œI think lately it has picked up. Itâ€™s looking good,â€ he said. â€œAll it takes is to put out good food and you have people.â€
Elmore sold Itâ€™s Drive-In Grill to his nephew, Sandy Hudson in 1971.
Then in 1983, Gibson took over the business, which still stands at 1436 East Main Street.
The restaurant is perhaps the oldest eatery in town and is still serving up poor boy and poor girl sandwiches.
â€œIt truly was the first spot to come to Lincolnton,â€ Elmore said.
by Amy Wadsworth