Drive-In Back in Old Hands

“Those early years were great fun. The staff, the mix of locals and summer visitors built strong friendships, not to mention lots of memories that last until today."
Dave and Maureen Rutkowski, with their children, Alexandra and John, former owners of John’s Drive-In in Montauk, are the owners once again. Amayha Yannacone

Maureen and Dave Rutkowski are once again taking the reins at John’s Drive-In in Montauk. Mr. Rutkowski opened the popular ice cream and hamburger joint in 1985 and operated it with the help of his family up until 17 years ago, when he sold it to Tom Pontecorvo, a longtime employee. 

On Friday, the couple, who met there when Ms. Rutkowski took a summer job and ended up falling for her boss, officially closed the deal with an announcement saying they are now the proud new/old owners of John’s Drive-In. 

“Those early years were great fun. The staff, the mix of locals and summer visitors built strong friendships, not to mention lots of memories that last until today. I’m hoping that our children can have the same type of experience,” Ms. Rutkowski said.

The couple sold the business when their first child turned 3; they wanted more family time, especially in summer when the place was always busy, even back then. Now, their two children, Alexandra and John, who are both in their teens, are excited about helping run it and having a new hangout. 

The plan is to open under their ownership by the weekend of Friday, March 18, in time for the St. Patrick’s Day parade that Sunday. Since they bought the business they’ve been busy prepping for the season, but there will be no major menu changes. As the times are a bit different since their first go-round, however, there might be some new ice cream flavors.