The neon Burkie’s Drive In sign has been sold to a restaurant owner in Marion.
Jeff Brooks owns Brooks Upper Crust Pizza in Marion and bought the sign, as well as recipes for Burkie’s root beer, and other items 10 days ago.
“I’ve just always gravitated towards all the old stuff, keeping the nostalgic stuff safe and I just thought well, instead of Burkie’s we could make it Brooks,” Brooks said. “We’ll keep it all original minus a little bit of new neon.”
Burkie’s first opened in Muncie in 1954. The business closed in September 2016, and two men bought Burkie’s in 2017 and made $80,000 worth of renovations. In June 2018, Burkie’s announced on their Facebook page that the business has been sold to a “development group” and will be torn down and replaced with a parking structure.
Brooks said he has chills going down his arms when he thinks about having the sign, and was like “a kid in a candy store” when he saw it for the first time. The Burkie’s sign is the oldest operating sign in Delaware County.
“I just feel like they’re passing off the torch to me and I can carry on the tradition [of history],” Brooks said. “There’s very few animated arrow signs left in existence in the state of Indiana anymore, so with that being said, it was just a must for us to get it when we could and possibly bring it back to Marion and use it if we can.”
Brooks Upper Crust Pizza is located in a building built in 1877 on the Mississinewa River. With the addition of the Burkie’s sign, Brooks Upper Crust Pizza will feature possessions from three 60-year-old or older restaurants.
“There’s a lot of history in that building, I’ve got a lot of the antiques splashed up throughout. [The sign] is just going to be a perfect match for Brooks Upper Crust Pizza,” Brooks said.
The sign is on eBay, but Brooks hopes it doesn’t sell. He plans to bring it to Marion in about a month.
Video by Michelle Kaufman, NewsLink Indiana