If you miss the nostalgia of a true drive-in, Snapka’s Drive Inn delivers.
Do you remember the days of “cruising the lot” while running the drag? Many restaurants try to mimic the originals and capture the feeling of the early drive-ins, but once you visit Snapka’s, you realize there is no substitute for an original that has endured the test of time. Texas Country Reporter listed Snapka’s Drive-Inn as a “Corpus Original,” and Texas Bucket has aired from Snapka’s multiple times. Snapka’s.
Established in 1948, back when hamburgers cost a quarter and chili dogs were only twenty cents, brothers Method and Rudy Snapka started their business with a single Snapka’s drive-in that grew to five locations. Only two remain open today; the second Snapka’s Drive-In opened in September 1953 and the Weber Road location opened in 1956. When the Leopard location sustained tremendous damage after Hurricane Celia struck the area in August 1970, Method added inside dining and air-conditioning, as well as a drive-through window for customers picking up to-go orders during reconstruction.
Today, generations have fond memories of Snapka’s when their parents took them and now want to share the same experiences with their kids and grandchildren. Customers keep coming back for the great food, but Snapka’s Leopard Street or “Highway 9” as many fondly refer holds a special connection to the past. “Nostalgic Nite” and “Bike Nite” bring art and entertainment to Snapka’s. Muscle cars, street rods and motorcycles fill the lot during these monthly events held on the second and last Fridays of the month.
Kathy Snapka, daughter of the late Method Snapka and his wife, Maxine, explains, “If you want the old-time, old-fashioned drive-in feel, then absolutely come by Snapka’s and see what it was like in the ’50s and ’60s when the drive-in was king!”
Snapka’s Drive-Inn continues as a family-owned business founded on family values important to Method Snapka. Several generations of former carhops, cooks, and cashiers continue to work at the establishment to this day. The great service and friendly staff at Snapka’s reflect an approach instilled from the beginning and still carried on today.
Kathy Snapka is a successful trial lawyer in the namesake law firm in downtown Corpus Christi, where she has practiced law since 1980. However, Kathy escapes to her passion of working at the restaurant—as a way of connecting with her family, especially her father.
From serving to preparing, Kathy does it all. She especially enjoys the quiet times after closing, when she mixes up the secret seasonings of spices for tacos and Mexican dishes that bring back childhood memories, remembering when she helped her father do it.
Snapka’s Drive-Inns serve quality food that is made to order. Nothing on the menu is made ahead. From their signature Dixie burgers and real onion rings, to fried chicken, tacos, burritos and Mexican food, the cooking begins when the order is placed, not before. All the selections are priced reasonably, especially considering the quality. Don’t miss the hand-dipped milk shakes and old-fashioned ice cream soda floats.
In the kitchen, speed is of the essence, since many customers work at nearby refineries with limited time for lunch, they need double Dixie burgers and onion rings out in a hurry. Kathy says, “Get them down and get them out!”
At the front door, a special table is permanently reserved for Method’s wife, Maxine, who still comes to the restaurant daily at age 97. Kathy shared Maxine’s philosophy, “if you retire, you die.”
Maxine oversees operations with a keen eye on everything. “It’s in my blood and I love it!” she says. She and Kathy carry on Method Snapka’s legacy and invite all their customers to come and enjoy the taste that is “Good As You Remember!”
Corpus Christi, TX 78408
Mon.–Thu. 8 am–6pm; Friday 8 am–10 pm
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
Daily, 10 am – 10 pm
Mike is executive director of the Texas Tropical Trail Region with an avid interest in ships, planes, trains, and automobiles.