Boehringer's Drive-in reopened Wednesday to a long line of loyal customers who had waited nearly two months for a taste of the popular drive-in's homemade ice cream and other treats.
A fire on May 18 nearly destroyed the fourth-generation family-owned drive-in at 3160 N. Reading Rd., in Adamstown, Lancaster County, forcing it to close for repairs just as the busy summer season was getting underway.
"I'm excited to see all of our customers come back. [I'm] hoping for a big crowd," said fourth-generation owner Chris Schnader, whose hope was fulfilled as soon as he opened the doors around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Even before that, cars flooded the roadside eatery's parking lot off Route 272 as loyal customers stood by anxiously.
"I've been coming here since I was a little girl. Since I was born, my family brought me here. Then I actually worked here when I was 13-years-old," said Jessica Nino, who was among the first in line.
Nino said she and her family cried when they heard about the fire, which officials said was caused by a malfunctioning milkshake machine.
"It was very invasive. It was pretty much throughout the shop. We had to strip the walls, ceiling, [replace] the roof," said Schnader.
The repairs, Schnader said, took longer than expected and spanned many of the shop's busiest weeks. Fortunately, he's pleased with the final renovation, especially the front interior, which was recreated to look as it always has.
"When you walk in here, we're hoping that you'll feel like you're coming back to the same place," said Schnader.
"I'm glad it's open. I'm glad for everybody. I'm sure the town and everybody's glad that he's back," said customer Barry Larsen, who's been visiting the eatery for almost 50 years.
Boehringer's was started in the basement of the current owner's great-grandfather's home in 1936. It's been operating at its current location since the 1940s and has long been famous among generations of families for its homemade ice cream.
The business is seasonal and normally closes around Labor Day. This year, however, Schnader said intends to stay open later in the season to make up for lost time.