Photographs: courtesy of Four Brothers Drive In
The first drive-in theater in America opened in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey, and was a makeshift affair with just a Kodak film projector and a white bed sheet. Some 80 years later, with the cultural cachet of drive-ins having ascended and then plummeted, the newest drive-in offering in the area is decidedly a more sophisticated and cultured venture. The Four Brothers Drive In Theatre in Amenia opened in the summer of 2013, as an extension of the modest Four Brothers Pizza empire, and has grown in popularity and ambition over the last two years.
Started on a whim by John and Paul Stefanopoulos (sons of John senior, one of the titular Four Brothers), the drive-in provides a comprehensive entertainment and dining experience with double firstrun features every night of the week and a carhop service that will bring ice cream or a pizza right to your car. The entire feel of the endeavor is tinged with American nostalgia thanks to reclaimed vintage signs, a playground and live music and face painting on weekends.
The two brothers had the benefit of inexperience, as neither of them had ever been to a drive-in theater before conceiving of their own. This gave them fresh eyes and provided them with a boundless creativity that made for a unique and ever-evolving movie and dining happening. As for the future of the theater, John waxes a bit philosophical and says that while the idea of a drive-in is a bit oldfashioned, their philosophy and approach is something that is always developing to remain relevant and engaged in contemporary society. He admits, “It’s always a work in progress for us, and we love that.”
Four Brothers Drive In
4957 Route 22, Amenia
Open seven days a week until November