Neighborhood Highlight: Mel's Drive-In

Mel’s Drive-in at Van Ness Ave & Geary is the third in the franchise, opening in 1998. Mel’s Drive-In was made famous when its original location at 140 South Van Ness was featured in the George Lucas film “American Graffiti.” Built in 1947, it really was a drive-in, a style of restaurant had become very popular in southern California, where the warm weather made eating in your car comfortable year round. Mel's was one of the few drive-ins in northern California, and it was, and is, a huge success.

Today Mel’s serves as a late night diner for the neighborhood, and is an iconic place to grab a bite after catching a movie at the AMC 14 Van Ness Theatre, or a show at The Great American Music Hall, The Fillmore, or The Warfield Theatre.


  • Sunday-Wednesday: 6:00am-1:00am
  • Thursday: 6:00am-2:00am
  • Friday-Saturday: 6:00am-4:00am

Learn more about the history of Mel's on their website and on this write up by Mark Groesbeck.

Cathedral Hill and Van Ness Corridor Neighborhood Website presented by Durwin Cheung and The Durwin Group.

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