Drive-In Time

Words by Sheri Baer

Photos by Ivania Angel

Looking back on her childhood in Foster City, Alicia Petrakis fondly remembers her favorite place to be on a warm summer night. “I grew up going to the Burlingame drive-in,” she says. “My parents had a Ford Gran Torino station wagon and we’d put our sleeping bags in back.” The drive-in tradition held strong through Alicia’s years at San Mateo High School: “We’d go in big groups—that’s how we connected with our friends.”

Alicia is now the co-owner of San Mateo’s Three restaurant and the chef/owner of Par 3 at Poplar Creek Golf Course. That sweet nostalgia came flooding back as she processed the isolation and limitations in the time of COVID-19.

The Burlingame gathering spot closed years ago, and with Par 3 uniquely situated with plentiful parking and expansive green space, Alicia recognized an opportunity to reinvent the Peninsula drive-in experience.

With a dual aim of bringing people together in a “way they feel comfortable” and supporting the restaurant’s loyal staff, Par 3 is presenting “Drive-In & Dine Out Summer Movie Nights.” Serving an upscale retro-inspired menu (think juicy burgers, milkshakes and homemade caramel corn) along with artisan cocktails and craft beers, the pop-up drive-in gives guests the option of in-car dining, patio seating or pre-showtime picnicking on the grass. “Our community really needs this right now,” notes Alicia. “We had to be creative in order to do this safely and respectfully, and we’re checking all the right boxes.”

Visit to see upcoming shows, purchase movie tickets and pre-order dinner online. As for showtimes, there’s no guesswork there. In true drive-in tradition, the show comes on when the sun goes down.