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Dolens Drive-In.JPG

Workers begin dismantling the Dolen’s Drive-In restaurant building to help make way for construction of a new building for the First Huntington National Bank (now a branch of JP Morgan Chase).

Editor’s note: This is the 401st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — For 30 years or so, hungry Huntingtonians could make their way to one of a trio of restaurants that were housed in a small frame building conveniently located on the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and 10th Street.

The popular Whirligig Restaurant operated on the busy corner from the late 1940s to the early 1950s. The Whirligig also briefly had a second location on 11th Street between 4th and 5th avenues, directly across the street from the C&O Building.

In 1956, after the Whirligig closed, Alex Schoenbaum, founder of the Shoney’s chain, located one of his Shoney’s restaurants in the building. Shoney’s once had several locations in Huntington, serving its trademark Big Boy burgers and its tasty strawberry pie.

The chain is still in business elsewhere but closed its last Huntington restaurant, the one at 1750 Washington Ave., in 2018.

The third and final restaurant to welcome customers to the little building on the corner was Dolen’s Drive-In, operated by Burt Dolen and his wife, Gloria Dawn Dolen.

When they closed their restaurant in 1979, the wreckers moved in, dismantling the building to help make way for construction of a new building for the First Huntington National Bank (now a branch of JP Morgan Chase).

After they closed their drive-in, the Dolens also operated a Mr. Rib restaurant and the S.S. Levee supper club at 931 6th Ave.

They ultimately left Huntington, moving to Sarasota, Fla. where Burt Dolen died in 1994 and Gloria Dawn Dolen in 2017.

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