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Long Island restaurants hosting drive-in movie nights

Hot dogs, fries and chicken strips are on

Hot dogs, fries and chicken strips are on the menu during drive-in movie night at Coach Meeting House restaurant in Oyster Bay. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

The balmier evenings of June have converged with the ongoing dining restrictions and some food-industry ingenuity to usher in a growing crop of drive-in movie nights at Long Island restaurants. Cars park in front of a screen, tune their FM dial to the soundtrack, and watch movies that begin rolling at dusk — while noshing on food and drink delivered carhop style.

These dinner-and-a-movie events have sprung up across the country and are one of the more novel solutions that restaurants have rolled out to weather the closures of their dining rooms. Here are sixplaces on Long Island to find them; in addition to these ongoing series, one-off events have taken place at spots such as the Holbrook Diner in Holbrook, which showed E.T. on June 1.

Keep in mind that the cost of each ticket generally does not include a gratuity, so remember to tip your servers — and these nights sell out quick, so check websites and Facebook pages for new dates as they are released.

VESPA ITALIAN CHOPHOUSE

Where: 842 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport.

When: Tuesday to Thursday; cars can arrive after 7 p.m. but no later than 8 p.m.; movies start at 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $100 per car, applied toward food and drink

Vespa runs a wood-fired pizza oven in their parking lot and it churns out thin-crust pies during the event. Popcorn and other snacks are also on the bill of fare, as are beer, wine, cocktails and drinks such as churro RumChata milkshakes. Tickets go quickly, so check their website for dates as they are added.

More info:  631-651-9889. vespaitalianchophouse.com

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COACH MEETING HOUSE

Where: 160 Mill River Rd., Oyster Bay

When: Thursday to Sunday, 8 p.m.

Cost: $50 to $100 per car for a gift certificate toward food and drink. Tickets are sold via Eventbrite.

The minds behind Long Island's first drive-through spiked slushies also started the first local drive-in movie night and car hop. "Sandlot," "Princess Bride" and "Goonies," have all played so far. The slushie bar remains open, and a heavy quotient of finger foods are served. You guessed it: Tickets sell out quickly, but new dates are posted on the restaurant's Facebook page. 

More info: 516-588-9288, but it might be more effective to check their Facebook page.

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MEMA'S LITTLE ITALIAN KITCHEN

Where: 1147 Jericho Tpke., Commack

When: Movie nights begin at 8:30 p.m. three or four nights per week.

Cost: $50 per car, with a $25 food credit included per ticket

This a collaboration with the company LI Movie Nights, which supplies pop-up, drive-in infrastructure to a few restaurants around the region. So far, "Top Gun," "The Mighty Ducks" and "Grease" have all been showed, and like the other events on this list, the 80 spots sell out quickly. Food-wise, expect traditional drive-in fare: hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, popcorn and of course, pizza. Beer, wine and sangria are served during the first hour of the event, and churros are on hand for dessert. (If you don't order food during the movie, you can use your food credit another time).

More info: 631-543-9500, memaspizzeria.com or book via the restaurant's Facebook page.

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PIETRO CUCINA ITALIANO

Where: 404 N. Country Rd., St. James

When: Thursdays and Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Thursday is more family-oriented, while Sunday is geared toward adults.

Cost: $100 per car for a gift certificate toward food and drink. Tickets sold via Eventbrite, or call the restaurant.

This night launched in mid-May in Pietro's sizable parking lot with the animated food film "Ratatouille," and sold out quickly. The menu wanders far from typical drive-in fare, with imported Italian meats and cheeses, gnocchi with truffle-cream sauce and deep-fried pizza, plus popcorn and cocktails (there are also Shirley Temples for the kids).

More info: 631-862-6129, pietro631.com

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THYME

Where: 8 Tower Place, Roslyn

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays; cars can arrive starting at 7 p.m. and must be in place by 8 p.m. Movies begin at 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $125 per car for a three-course dinner for two guests.

The movies here skew toward classics such as "Singin' In the Rain" and "The Shawshank Redemption," and menus are released 48 hours before showtime. A recent night gave diners two starter choices and a choice of four mains and desserts — think beetroot hummus with crudites as an appetizer, and Southern-fried chicken with corn pudding or a crabcake sandwich as an entree. Desserts ran to peanut-butter crunch cake and banana-wafer pudding in a jar. (And there's also popcorn, of course).

More info: 516-625-2566. thymenewyork.com/movie-night

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PINE GROVE INN

Where: 1 First St., East Patchogue

When: This event launches on Thursday, June 11, at 8:30 p.m. with "Jaws," and while that event is sold out, another event is scheduled for June 19

Cost: $35 for adults, $25 for kids 

Burgers and sauerbraten are some of the plates that staff at the Pine Grove Inn will walk out to cars during their inaugural drive-in movie night on June 11. Beer, wine and cocktails will also be available.

More info: 631-569-5719, thepinegroveinn.com

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