Woodlands Drive In gets a facelift

Woodlands Drive In is an institution which many Madrasis swear by, and some swear at. Situated in the heart of the city, the restaurant was started in 1962, when the hotelier K. Krishna Rau convinced the Horticultural Society to lease its premises to him for a restaurant. It was Chennai’s first drive in restaurant and claims to be the first to have introduced Channa Batura to Chennai.

More than the food (which is just about ok now a days) it was preferred by many for the green cover it provided in the heart of the city. The waiters never bother you, and you can spend an entire day in the premises without being disturbed. In fact, many a travelling sales men use it as their mobile office. It is preferred for people who want to make deals over inexpensive coffee (Rs. 10.00 against the Rs. 40.00 plus you pay in swanky coffee shops). You get to see yester year celebrities – playback singer P.B. Srinivas is a regular- and the large space makes it ideal for blog meets too.

But the biggest complaint against Woodlands Drive In is the grimy halls, chipped crockeries, a general ‘has been’ atmosphere. So I was pleasantly surprised when I went there last week, to find that renovation is under progress. Hope that it reverts the Drive In to its former glory.

Trivia – Did you know that the annual book fair conducted by BAPASI was held in Woodlands Drive In in 1982?

6 Comments so far

  1. Parupu (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

    “Trivia – Did you know that the annual book fair conducted by BAPASI was held in Woodlands Drive In in 1982?”

    nesamavey theriyadhu – nalla vela sagarthaku munnadi therinjukiten

  2. Chenthil (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

    Paruppu – that was a witty one. Made me laugh. Thanks.

  3. Parthasarathy (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 9:13 pm

    Parupu, after laughing at your joke, I can now go to sleep in peace :)

  4. Murali (unregistered) on January 9th, 2008 @ 11:19 pm

    It’s about time. Woodlands drive in badly needs it. What I don’t understand is, you have such a nice spot, and yet the management didn’t want to promote it? Another place is the restaurant near the Gandhi Statue. They could literally mint money if it is renovated.

  5. rambhai (unregistered) on January 11th, 2008 @ 11:37 am

    hey i have never been to chennai before. but when i make it i will surely visit this place…sounds interesting. is the food good enough??

  6. DontheCat (unregistered) on January 11th, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

    Yeah, its one great place. Its so much a part of the Chennaiaites. I guess I’ve been going there for the past 32 years almost on a daily basis. There is no way I’d skip the turn into Woodies if I was anywhere on Cathedral Road. At most, to have a quick smoke or just say Hi to some friends who hang out there the whole day.

    Chenthil, there are no travelling salesman, most of the successful ones stay inert inside Woodies :-) . Heck, I guess most top-level marketing decisions are taken at Woodies and not at Mainland China :-)

    But the place started rotting infrastructurally since the last 7 yrs or so. Probably most of you know that the original lease amount was Rs.99 or 199/- per month and still continues to be peanuts, compared to the revenue that the management is generating. But the tables have remained the same, server uniforms in shambles and the wooded areas littered with junk and plastic. The Toilet has always been a nightmare.

    Looks like someone finally woke up and realised that the Woodies buildings were looking sore amidts lovely trees and SHADE. Good for us :-)

    There was a plan among some of us from the Chennai colleges early 80s Alumni to start a blog exclusively on Woodies. Never took off !!!!

    Whatever, I’ll never stop visiting Woodies…:-)

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