"Drive-In Memories - Meet Me at Tops" by Paul McGehee
Image Size: 10 3/4" x 18 1/2" ; Edition: 2,000 S/N
Signed and Numbered: $ 150.00
Is the original still available

“Drive-In Memories - Meet Me at Tops” by Paul McGehee. Back in the 1950's and 60's, Tops Drive-Inn was the local hangout for Arlington, Virginia's high-school kids. Tops featured burgers, shakes, fries, chicken, shrimp...and their legendary King-Size burger, the Sir Loiner. Located at the corner of Lee Highway and George Mason Drive, the popular eatery was always swarming with teenagers, night and day. Tops had light-up menus at each parking space where you would place your order into a microphone speaker, and then a car-hop would bring your order out to your car on a silver tray, to be mounted at the driver's window. You could then enjoy your hot meal and frosty drink in just a matter of minutes! The popularity of such drive-ins came to a peak in this time period, as suburbs sprawled and life became more centered around automobiles. For those in a hurry, you never had to leave your car, as with traditional diners and restaurants. And the food at Tops was great, they used only fresh local foodstuffs and choice cuts of meat. The Tops Drive-Inn chain (there were 18 of them around the region)  was founded in 1953 by Captain Jim Matthews, a local who had served his country well during World War II as a combat fighter pilot. Upon his return from the war, he found himself working at the luncheonette at The Hecht Company's Washington, DC location. He learned the restaurant business there while serving food to Hecht's hungry patrons for eight years, then set out to see if he could make a go of it with his own place, on Glebe Road at Arlington Boulevard. His first Tops Drive-Inn was so successful, Matthews was soon opening branches not only in Arlington, but in DC and Maryland. In the 1960's, Jim Matthews made a deal with his old friend and mentor Harlan Sanders for Tops be the first in the region to feature Col. Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken. Always a local chain, Tops eventually felt financial pressure from competition with the national fast-food chains (such as McDonald's) so in 1967 he merged Tops with another local Maryland chain (founded by some former Baltimore Colts football players), Gino's, to remain financially solvent. One by one the Tops locations became Gino's. By 1972, Jim Matthews, by then on the Board of Gino's, decided that it was time to finally sell his drive-ins, and they were acquired by the Marriott Corporation, who closed some and turned others into Roy Rogers locations, (as was the case with the one depicted here). Many around the DMV have fond memories of the place to this very day, all these years later. Nights meeting friends for burgers at Tops, in the glow of the orange lights, while teenagers arrived after the high school football game, by car or on foot. Happy times!

“Drive-In Memories - Meet Me at Tops” is faithfully reproduced as an archival-quality print from McGehee's original color pencil and acrylic artwork, in a limited edition of only 2,000 pieces each hand-signed by the artist.