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Scotty’s Drive-in

By | Last Modified: May 16, 2017
Scotty's Drive-in Sign
Scotty’s Drive-in Sign

Opened in 1965, Scotty’s Drive-in is reportedly the third-oldest continuously operating restaurant in Bismarck.

Scotty’s was once well known for its unique recollection-based ordering, where the order-taker would verbally recite the entire order by memory into the kitchen rather than formally transcribing it.

Keeping to its retro roots, it’s common to see classic cars in Scotty’s parking lot, especially during an annual event for which Scotty’s sponsors.


Scotty’s serves a standard “fast food” menu, cooked fresh. The Rebel Burger, named after local KFYR Radio personality “Ol’ Reb” Jack Fisher, is arguably its most well-known offering. Other notable items include such popular local favorites as Fleischkuechle and Knoelpha soup, as well as the Tartar Burger and the Shrimp Sandwich.

It seems that each of the Scotty’s locations named some of their menu offerings after local personalities or notable individuals. While the Bismarck and Aberdeen locations each had a burger named after KFYR personality Jack Fisher, locations elsewhere had similar menu items named after well-known individuals from their respective region.

Local History

The Bismarck Scotty’s opened in 1965 as a franchise of a regional chain. It was the city’s second drive-in (after Big Boy). To this day, Scotty’s remains Bismarck’s third-oldest continuously operating restaurant.

The chain dissolved in 1968, at which time, the Bismarck location apparently operated as “Sandy’s” for a short time before reverting back to its original name.

Indoor seating was added in 1985.

2007 Ownership Change, Renovation

The restaurant changed hands in 2007 after a 35-year ownership by the Roehrichs. The new owners, David and Nancy Turner, completed several renovations, including restoring the original sign, albeit with a slightly altered appearance.

A drive-through was added in 2008, around the same time Scotty’s temporarily experimented with adding breakfast items to its menu.

2012 saw a major interior remodel, the first in decades, which saw a more-open dining area and freshened new retro look.

2016 Ownership Change

In January 2016, Scotty’s was purchased by local restaurant manager Kurt Dilger. Its new owner extended the restaurant’s hours, including temporarily opening on Sundays. Dilger also implemented other improvements, including a new website and kids meal caddy.

Other Locations

Scotty’s was once a regional chain with locations in at least six states. The first Scotty’s opened in 1962 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Today, only four locations remain operating, all independently: Bismarck, ND, Aberdeen, SD, Scottsbluff, NE, and Idaho Falls, ID.

The original location, in Aberdeen, temporarily ceased when its name and format were changed to Daddy’s Bar & Grill in 2009, before reverting again in 2015.

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