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Grand Forks' Kegs restaurant placed on historic register

The Kegs

It has been a local landmark for decades.

The Kegs drive-in restaurant in Grand Forks is practically a living, breathing batch of memories and a source of nostalgia for those who have visited the venerable establishment throughout the years.

But now the famous local eatery has officially become a national landmark. The Kegs has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, joining a select number of places nationwide to earn the distinction.

"It's a real honor for us," co-owner Laura Hanson said. "We are just thrilled. This is a wonderful thing for us and for Grand Forks."

It was built in 1935 and opened as The Barrel, a regional chain of seven walkup stands. The other stands closed over the years and by 1946 two of barrel root beer stands had been moved to the drive-in's current location and it became known as The Kegs.

The historic dueling barrel-shaped wood structures have been refinished over the years, but the feel of the place has endured.

"A lot of people come in and reminisce about the old days," said Vickie Perrault, the day manager who has worked at the Kegs for a quarter century. "Some people say they met their spouse here."

The Kegs is typically open from April to late September. The seasonal drive-in's last day this year will be Sept. 24.

Perrault said some customers say they wish The Kegs was open year round.

"It's the old-fashioned, typical drive-in," Hanson said. "It's the drive-in people remember from the 40s and 50s. It does have a lot of nostalgia."

Hanson said she hopes to repave the parking lot next spring and she said she would also like to get the old speakers fixed.

But she said she hopes to see the historic drive-in continue inspiring future generations for years to come.

"We have no intention of getting rid of it," she said. "Every year, we just keep improving it and improving it. This is a great thing to have here. For people who have lived in Grand Forks, this is a great spot."