Parkette owners to host sale for restaurant’s memorabilia

Pieces of Lexington history are up for sale. The family behind the iconic Parkette Drive-In want to share parts of the restaurant as they wait to find out...
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 10:21 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Pieces of Lexington history are up for sale. The family behind the iconic Parkette Drive-In want to share parts of the restaurant as they wait to find out what will happen to the building itself.

“Everybody alive today, in this area, knows what Parkette is,” said Bryan Tipton.

The aptly named Joe Smiley first opened the Parkette Drive-In restaurant in 1951.

“Fond memories of cruising the Parkette when they were young. Or just eating here. I mean it’s been around for so long. Seventy-one years,” Tipton said.

Smiley’s son-in-law, Tipton, and family still own the business. While others have been managing it since Smiley passed in 2001, Tipton says the beloved restaurant just wasn’t making a profit anymore.

“We didn’t want Parkette to die a slow death anymore,” Tipton said.

From loud family dinners to nervous first dates, these booths became homes to many over the past seven decades.

“There’s been an outcry of people who want a piece of the Parkette. We want everybody who wants a piece to come and get it,” Tipton said.

Tipton’s holding a memorabilia sale. Everything at the drive-in will go.

“There’s a lot of mancaves out there that want a Parkette something in it. You know, a table, a booth, a stool or whatever,” Tipton said.

The vintage Pepsi light fixtures, a classic Parkette t-shirt, even the outdoor menu boards. Everything’s for sale-- almost.

“But there’s one thing that’s not for sale. And that’s the big sign. Everybody’s been wondering what’s going to happen to it. Our intention is to save the sign, of course. We don’t know the future of the property yet, but negotiating that, when that day comes, the sign will be part of that,” Tipton said.

While the Parkette seems to have run out of time, the Tiptons hope the sign will tower over New Circle Road another 71 years.

Tipton said they’re looking into getting a roadside state historical marker for the Parkette, as well.

The memorabilia sale is July 23 starting at 10:00 a.m.

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