Knox County — Cardin's Drive-In, the East Tennessee restaurant that's served burgers and shakes to generations of diners, is for sale.
The Asheville Highway business that dates to 1959 is being offered for $2.5 million, according to realtor Tony Thomas. The property includes the drive-in as well as a nearby house the Cardin family has lived in for decades.
Cardin's has only been on the market a week, Thomas said. He said he's already gotten one inquiry that could be promising.
The family hopes to see the restaurant continue, said Melinda Roberts, granddaughter of founders Willie H. and Pauline Cardin and today the restaurant's chief manager and cook.
It's a job that's become a bit overwhelming, she said, while also trying to look after family obligations.
Roberts said she's at the restaurant 60 to 80 hours a week. Her husband, Eric Roberts, also pitches in while working as a realtor.
But, Roberts stressed, the restaurant is continuing to operate while it's for sale. Her mom, Wilma Jean, who has been around the business since she was age 11, is the owner.
"We've had people asking if we're closed," Roberts said Tuesday. "We're still open."
Starting in June, the restaurant began closing on Sundays to give everyone a break, Roberts said. It continues to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner the other six days of the week.
Many a date has taken place at Cardin's, on the north side of Asheville Highway just west of the Andrew Johnson Highway split. It's also been a favorite of students from nearby Carter High School, not to mention families out for an afternoon drive.
"For many years they've sponsored the Little Leagues and the local schools," said Thomas, of Weichert, Realtors/Tiger Real Estate. "They've been a staple of the community."