Earlier this week I was gazing over Facebook and came across a post by one of my friends about their trip to out of the way Ravenna, KY to eat at a place called the Wigwam Drive-In Restaurant. Mind you, Ravenna is a town of just a bit over 600 fine folks. The town sits along the Kentucky River in Estill County, KY and KY Highway 52 runs through the town (it was called the “Wam” back in the 50s and was a popular cruising road — think American Graffiti). The town borders the larger sister city of Irvine, which has a population of a little over 3000.
So, I wondered two things after reading that post. First was why a friend of mine would drive an hour south into the Kentucky woods from his home in Georgetown just to get a hamburger. Second, was the more intriguing — why is there a place called the Wigwam in the hills of East Central Kentucky? So, on a nice Monday morning I decided to take a drive down KY Highway 89, one of the many Scenic Drives in the state, and make my way to Ravenna to find out (you can read about my Staycation Mini-Roadtrip HERE — posted on May 12).
After the scenic drive, I got to Ravenna around 10:15 AM and made my way to the Wigwam. There I met current owner Tonya Floyd, the granddaughter of the original founders Earl and Mabel Floyd. She shared with me some of the history while I enjoyed a plate of their homemade biscuits and gravy.
The story goes that Earl and Mabel opened the Wigwam on June 17, 1957 and created a signature burger called the “Country Boy,” which is a double cheeseburger with a 3 piece bun, fresh ground chuck or Bison, a big slice of tomato and onion, some pickles and a creamy coleslaw. As my friend Randy wrote on Facebook, “the best double cheeseburger I’ve had in recent memory… I’d go back again in a heartbeat (if I had enough fuel to get there).”
The Drive-In, located at 419 3rd St., opens daily at 7 AM and goes into the evening. You can order breakfast all day and can order their burgers and sliders all day. They recently added a Bison slider, a pulled Chicken slider, a Grippo burger and a Philly Cheese steak slider. Earlier in May the place was featured on the website Only In Your State and listed as one of the 11 Mouthwatering Restaurants in Kentucky (see link here).
Honestly, I loved the ambiance of the diner. Old photos, a painting of wigwams, the old diner counter stools and home cooked food.
And the name Wigwam? Apparently it came from the “wigwam” shaped cone at the top of the building.
Definitely worth a trip..just prepare to drive a while down a lovely winding little Kentucky back road.