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Updated 12:17pm - Sep 29, 2014

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The plight of Pandy's

The old drive-in, Pandy's, was a popular hamburger joint in its day. The building, falling into great disrepair, was purchased by a resident who frequented it when it was a successful business. (Jennifer Henion/ The Daily Triplicate).
The old drive-in, Pandy's, was a popular hamburger joint in its day. The building, falling into great disrepair, was purchased by a resident who frequented it when it was a successful business. (Jennifer Henion/ The Daily Triplicate).

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Pandy's Hamburgers, a 1950s-style car-hop drive-in, was all but taken by rot and brush until Tom Kraft got ahold of it.

Kraft bought the cultural icon — one that many locals still have an emotional attachment to — a few weeks ago. The wild, winding brush is gone, and the wide parking spaces are now exposed.

He said he doesn't know what he will do with it, but he couldn't resist the urge to recapture his favorite hangout from time's wrecking ball.

"Like a lot of people, I grew up in Crescent City and spent some time spinning around and cruising through Pandy's. I had some sentimental feelings about it.

"I saw the for-sale sign on it, and I bought it on a whim," Kraft said.

The building is too small to put another burger joint in, Kraft said, but he intends to at least keep the building intact to preserve its old appeal.

Before it fell into disrepair, the cruising stop was a well-loved teen hangout.

Howard Pettijohn opened it in 1956. It was one of three hot spots in the drive-in circuit.

"We called it ‘dragging the gut'," said Judy Knitter, an employee in the Del Norte County Assessor's office.

"We would start out at Pandy's because it was the furthest north. It had the car-hops, you know, they would come clip the trays onto your window. Everyone would just park and see who was around.

"Then we'd go to Punky's, which used to be over by the drycleaners on Seventh Street And wind up at the Satellite which used to be just past the S-curve," Knitter said.

Modern planning regulations will likely keep Kraft's and Knitter's memories in the past.

Kraft said he hopes to rent out the space to a small retailer.

"It would be really cool to make a little ‘50s diner, but it's not in the cards. So I just want to clean it up. And when we get done, it won't be an eyesore anymore," he added.

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