Caudill’s make big changes since buying Tom’s Drive-in

Tom’s Drive-in on South Washington Avenue in Pulaski.

Pulaski’s Ronnie and Lori Caudill are the new owners of Tom’s Drive-In in Pulaski. The first-time restaurant owners are excited and look forward to bringing back a family atmosphere to the restaurant where good memories can be made.

Ronnie and Lori Caudill (Linda Williams photos)

The Caudill’s have already made many improvements to the building and property since assuming ownership April 22 of this year.

Lori works as a Registered Nurse at LewisGale Hospital Pulaski where she has worked for 20 years. Ronnie was formerly employed by the hospital as well, but when they downsized, he was transferred to LewisGale- Montgomery Hospital. Later, however, he resigned to manage the couple’s rental properties and now the restaurant.

“I bought myself a job,” said Ronnie with a laugh.

To the best of the Caudill’s knowledge, Tom’s Drive-In was built and opened in 1952. The original owner was Tom Steffey of Pulaski.  He lived on Crescent Line Drive – the street above Tom’s.

“We bought Tom’s from Christy Chrisley Davis. We were discussing buying another property from her, and we ended up buying that property and the restaurant both,” said Ronnie.

“We had no previous restaurant experience at all,” laughed Lori.

Since April the Caudill’s say they have done their share of cooking on their new 5-foot grill.

“I’m not that bad at it,” said Lori. Lori’s son, Phillip Mallory is also helping out on the grill while attending nursing school.

“Nora Rigney is our cook, Ashlee Burton will remain the curbside attendant and Mike Akers will continue being the delivery man,” said Ronnie happily. “We employ 16 people with many being part time. We are pleased we can give our employees a decent hourly wage,” said Ronnie.

Changes the Caudill’s have made are quite significant.

“We have remodeled the dining room, added new flooring and painted. We purchased a new grill, new freezers and have changed to fountain drinks. There won’t be any more canned drinks. These are just a few of the more visible changes we have made,” said Lori.

Tom’s remodeled dining room.

Tom’s offers a full menu including, but not limited to, hot dogs – including the return of the foot-long hot dog. Their hot dogs are still made with red wieners, a customer favorite.

They continue to offer breakfast and haven’t changed the biscuits and gravy – also a customer favorite.

The menu also includes shrimp, baked ham, pork chops, country style steak, spaghetti, hamburgers, pinto beans, green beans, ice cream and much more. Food is made fresh and made to order. Tom’s also offers daily specials and delivery.

“Our food is inexpensive, so it’s a great place to bring the family,” said Ronnie.

“Our banana splits are large, they are a great value,” offered Lori.

“Our repeat customers seem to like the changes we are making, and everyday business seems to be picking up,” said Ronnie. “The only thing customers have really objected to is, we took down the pictures of Elvis,” smiled Ronnie and Lorie.

The ‘64 Club and the ‘67 Club will continue to meet at Tom’s, and the Warriors for Christ Ladies groups have started to meet at Tom’s Drive-In as well.

Plans for the future include new outdoor seating, additional lighting on the outside, and changing to a lighted sign.

Tom’s Drive-In is located at 620 S. Washington Ave., Pulaski and is open 6 days a week, Monday- Saturday, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tom’s will open Sundays beginning August 18 on abbreviated hours to be announced later.

Business and residential delivery areas include Pulaski, Dublin and Draper. Delivery times are from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  and 5 p.m. -9 p.m. each day.

Tom’s telephone number is 540-980-1752.

“We will be offering all-day delivery soon. We will let our customers know when that time comes,” said Ronnie.

By LINDA WILLIAMS, The Patriot