Pull into Sonic drive-in restaurant on Kennedy Blvd. in North Bergen on a Tuesday night nowadays, and you’ll think you’ve been transported to a different era. Not just because of the curb service from employees on roller skates that emulates a drive-in tradition of olden days, or because of the oldies music blaring from the speakers – but because classic cars start arriving at 6 o’clock every Tuesday to go on display.
This summer, four guys who are members of a club called “American Classics” felt a lack of sociability in the community. Families from the neighborhood just didn’t congregate like back in the day. So to remedy the situation, Bill Solan, Ken Tredy, Rich Salamon, and Tommy Grahman approached Ken Riscinti, manager of Sonic, with an idea.
They proposed doing a classic car show every Tuesday night, an invitation for families to come together and enjoy burgers and fries outdoors while listening to the music of yesteryear. Ken Riscinti didn’t need much convincing. Since Sonic is still fairly new to the neighborhood, what better way to make its mark in town by welcoming the community to gather for a night of fun?
“It’s a fun night for the family!”— Ken Tredy
“These guys are wonderful!” he said. “Car enthusiasts attract good people. The show’s growing each week. It’s getting bigger and bigger!”
The weekly show has really taken off, and pumped up Sonic’s “good old days” atmosphere.
Debbie Salamon, North Bergen local and wife of Rich Salamon, couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
“I’m very happy!” she said. “This is a very family oriented event.”
Show off your ride
Families gather just to marvel at the beautiful cars on display. Having a classic car does have its perks here at Sonic. For every classic car that shows up, the driver is entitled to a free delicious cherry limeade. At the end of the evening, a Sonic roller-skater makes the rounds and chooses the best car of the night and awards the driver a trophy.
The only criteria for a car to be considered a classic is that it be a least 25 years old. All different types of cars show up, from a purple Firebird to a bright red Chevy Nova. More than a few of the guys driving them joked that they were classics themselves.
Everybody is welcome. Several people drove up to Sonic just to enjoy the show as well as the food and the company. The cars are a great ice breaker for complete strangers to start a conversation with one another and end up being friends by the end of the night.
The fun starts every Tuesday at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Sonic, 2819 Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen, behind Toys R Us.