May 25, 2024

George’s Drive-In has been a staple in the Riverside community for decades now. This year, the old-school hamburger joint celebrated its 50th anniversary. This celebration brought former employees and many of the Riverside community together at 9910 Magnolia Ave. 

George and Zaharoula Alexiou started George’s Drive-In in 1974, and today, their son Taso runs the hamburger stand. George’s Drive-In holds many memories for so many people, especially Taso. With the big 50 anniversary, Taso spoke about the background of his father’s business, hitting the 50-year stet, the future of George’s Drive-In, and his own memories growing up with the drive-in. 

In the ‘50s, George Alexiou came to the United States from Greece, and his first job was as a busboy at the Mission Inn. Alexiou has a long history serving the public, as his son explained when asked about the background of the Drive-In. 

Taso is only four years older than George’s Drive-In, making the hamburger joint a big part of his life, both growing up and now. Which has given him many memories throughout the years. 

“There are a lot of little things. The thing that stands out to me is remembering playing with my brother when we were little kids there. Every police chief in Riverside at that time would eat at the restaurant, too. I remember playing soccer in the parking lot with a lot of them. It was kind of like our second home. The stuff that makes me smile is stuff like that,” said Alexiou. 

George’s Drive-In is extremely family-oriented and big on the community aspect of Riverside. He also talked highly of his mother, explaining how she has given 53 years of service to Riverside. To have something that keeps going for that long, it has to be special, and he explained that’s his mom, Taso said. When celebrating the 50th anniversary, it wasn’t about the money or bringing in more customers, Taso said it was about celebrating his mother and the hard work she put into keeping Geogre’s Drive-In alive throughout the many years. 

Many people from the Riverside community came to celebrate with the Alexious and give their support to the restaurant. Some of the people who came down included the manor, the assembly women, Senator Richard Roth’s office, the city council and the county supervisor’s office. Many of these important people of the city of Riverside shared with Taso how they ate there when they were younger. Workers who worked for George’s Drive-In during the 70s  stopped by during the anniversary to visit Zaharoula. 

The turnout and support that was shown at the anniversary surprised Taso.

“It was a beautiful day. It was better than I could have ever imagined. I was really touched,” said Alexiou. 

California Baptist University is only about a 5-minute drive from George’s Drive-In. When asking students around campus for their thoughts on the spot, many loved the food there and shared the same feeling of amazement that the location had been running for so long. 

Jillian Jarboe, first-year graduate student studying counseling major loves George’s Drive-In hot dogs and said she finds it very special that the restuarant has been open for so long. 

“I think it is a really sweet and rich thing. My parents used to go to George’s when they were at CBU. I think it’s really special that they’re still around,” said Jarboe. 

Saeaí Ruiz, freshman, behavioral science major, spoke about how George’s Drive-In, after all these years, is a part of the city of Riverside’s community. 

“It is so nostalgic and I am amazed it was able to hit that age. This shows it is a staple of the community in Riverside,” said Ruiz. 

The future of the restaurant is bright. In the next five to 10 years, there is hope to have a second location and fix up the current location building, Taso said. The current building dates back to the 50s and keeping it up is not an easy thing to do. Taso is hoping to remodel but keep the same retro look.

George’s Drive-In is a true gem in the city of Riverside. Through the years of business and the care and love owner Taso gives to the restaurant and the customers, there is something unique about this old-school food joint.

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