After 70 years in business, St. Paul's Dari-Ette Drive-In closes

Saturday was the final day of business for the Dari-Ette Drive-In in St. Paul. (FOX 9)

After seven decades on St. Paul’s eastside, a popular Italian-American restaurant closed its doors for the last time on Saturday.

The Dari-Ette Drive-In first opened in 1951 and ever since, one family has been behind all of the success there.

With its Italiano Sandwich, popular sauce, and hand-rolled meatballs, the restaurant is right on the mark for Italian-American food in the Twin Cities, between April and October.

"We built a reputation on our recipes," owner Angela Fida said on Saturday. "If the sun was out there’d be no place [to park] here, you know, it’d be packed. We’ve turned into not just the neighborhood place but a destination from all-around."

And as the last drive-in in St. Paul, the experience is bittersweet too. But after Saturday, Angela Fida is packing up, calling this the right time.

"It’s just going to feel good to not get up in the morning and have to stir the sauce again," Fida said. "But I’m sure am going to miss it in two weeks."

The change is felt by the entire family, including Angela’s mom, who started working at the restaurant at 15 years old. She is now 85.

"It’ll be totally different, it’s a heartbreak," Lois Fida said. "Very, very sad."

With the sale of the property, a new restaurant will come in. 

"I’ve been really fortunate, really, really fortunate, I hope that whoever comes in here is successful," Fida said. "It’s exciting and sad, it’s exciting because I’m going to start a new chapter of my life and it’s sad because I’ve been here for so long."

Angela says she doesn’t know what’s next, but in the meantime, she’s excited to have some time off after so much time spent on her feet over the years.