BRANSON, Mo. —  The American 76 Drive-in Cakes-n-Creams 50’s Diner in Branson, Missouri, continues to satisfy the needs of its customers in spite of the restrictions placed on restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners John and Cristi Moore met in the 1970s and married after fulfilling the request of her parents —  to both be business owners before the wedding.

Cristi opened a hair salon and John opened a saloon photo business. Thirty-nine years ago, and after they married, they opened the Cakes-n-Creams business on the 76 strip and moved the photo business so they could expand the diner and double their space.

“We’ve always continued to put money back into the business,” John said. During the two-month COVID-19 shutdown, the two deep cleaned the diner and tried to think of ways to expand the business.

“It was right at spring break, when they ran all the tourists out of town. We had been very busy and then everything came to a halt,” John said. “I always had the idea of customers eating at a smaller version of a drive-in theater, with little cars for them to sit at and everything being indoors. We had recently expanded the diner and put in a larger parking lot behind the building. One morning Cristi woke up with the idea of turning that new, 2,000-square-foot parking lot into a drive-in movie theater. So we built a big screen and learned about the movie business real quick,” he laughed.

“We’ve had nothing but compliments. Customers can’t believe the movie is free. I tell them to order something to eat from the carhop and their food will be brought to the car. Enjoy the movie.”

He also built 50 picnic tables for customers who would rather eat outside.

“Recently, every spot was full and we had to bring additional tables outside. They love our place, and we feel very lucky,” John said.

Customers love the variety of movies, from sci-fi night to superheroes.

“Of course we have ladies night, where we play something mushy. We try to hit everyone’s taste buds. The kids really love the Looney Tunes and cartoon trailers we play before the movie,” John said.

Customers can message the Moores on their Facebook page for a list of movies that are playing each night.

“Little Lee provides indoor entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the diner. So we’ve got entertainment for everyone,” he said.

Each of their families moved to Branson, Missouri, in 1969 and they met in 1970.

“Cristi’s parents owned Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant over by White Water. Several people gave him grief about the location, but he told them his location would be the middle of town in 10 years, and he was right,” John said.

The Moores have made good friends in the community and also with several entertainers who come to perform in the area.

“Tony Orlando is one of our good friends,” John said. “He calls our place ‘The happiest place on earth!’”

“The Cakes-n-Creams Supreme is the dessert that made us famous over the years,” John said. “But we have added great burgers and a full line of sandwiches that people love, too. During the summer we have about 2,000 people come through the diner every day. It does ‘Rock and Roll!,’” he said.

Visit the website for a look at the wide variety of the menu from “Uncle Joe’s” BBQ beef brisket, subs, pizza, chicken, burgers and fries and of course fabulous desserts.

The American 76 Drive-in Cakes-n-Creams 50’s Diner is located at 2805 West Mo. 76 in Branson, Missouri. The phone number is (417) 334-4929. Hours are currently 11 a.m. to midnight.



Donna has written for the HDT since 1999. When off the clock, she enjoys writing for children, teaching piano lessons and being a pastor's wife. The Braymers have three married sons and daughter-in-laws and 9 grandchildren.

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