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2017 GUEST OF HONOR


A local restaurant well-known for its 1950s and 60s music and atmosphere has been named this yearís AOP Harvestime Parade Guest of Honor.

With a jukebox loaded with do-wop tunes, car hops, its own old-fashioned root beer, plus hand-dipped ice cream, Jayís Drive In, 107 W. Washington St., Oregon, is one of a very few drive-in restaurants around.

Owners Terry and Vicky Wilken said they were pleased to be chosen as the 2017 Guest of Honor.

"It's an honor. It's nice to know people appreciate the place," Terry said. "We try to bring something to the community."

Jay's has been in the same family for more than 30 years.

The Wilkens bought the restaurant from her uncle, the late Joe Pendergrass, in 2006. They operated it for the year before that.

"Joe let us manage it for a year to let us learn the business," Terry said.

Since the restaurant was a Dog 'N' Suds when he bought it in the mid-1980s, Pendergrass had already made the 1950s and 60s his theme, and the Wilkens have continued the tradition.

"It was successful and we didn't want to mess with that," Terry said with a grin.

A jukebox with songs popular a half-century ago is a prominent feature in the restaurant's inside dining area.

"Our music is from the 50s and 60s when drive-ins were popular," he said.

The biggest change the Wilkens have made is adding hand-dipped ice cream in a large variety of flavors a few years ago.

"Thatís gone over very well," Vicky said, crediting Terry with the idea.

Jay's Drive In is a favorite not only with local customers but also those from outside the Oregon area.

"We get people from Chicago who come just to eat," Terry said.