In 1947, Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs opened the first drive-in restaurant in San Francisco, Mels drive-in. At the time, the drive-in restaurant concept was just beginning in America, and the agreeable weather of California was ideal for year round carhop service.
The original location of Mels drive-in was 140 South Van Ness Avenue. It consisted of ample grounds, attractively landscaped with the capacity for 110 cars, and a two-story rectangular building. Anyone who has seen the 1973 film "American Graffiti" remembers the familiar neon sign at the gang's favorite hangout spot buzzing in the background, blazing "Mels drive-in." Though the film was set in Modesto, California, the scenes at "Burger City" were actually filmed this first Mels drive-in location.