Mug-n-Bun, located at 5211 W. 10th Street in Speedway, is one of Indianapolis’ oldest continuously operating drive-in restaurants. It opened as a Frostop drive-in in 1956 during the period when drive-in restaurants reached peak popularity, serving the standard drive-in fare–burgers, coney dogs, fries, and root beer. 

A sign that reads "Mug n Bun" is located on the edge of the street. A parking lot separates the sign from the Mug n Bun building.
Mug-n-Bun, 2022 Credit: Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons View Source

Brownsburg native Morris May assumed ownership of the drive-in using $2000 of his blackjack winnings from a trip to Las Vegas in 1960. He quickly made changes that would cement the establishment as a Speedway favorite for years to come, including the name of the drive-in which he changed to Mug-n-Bun in 1964.  

After realizing that most fast-food restaurants at the time predominantly served burgers, May expanded his menu to include other types of sandwiches and sides including tenderloins, onion rings, and fish. He also developed his own sweeter recipe for root beer than that of Frostop’s root beer recipe.  

Mug-n-Bun closed from November 1976 through July 1977 due to a fire that destroyed the building. May refinanced his home and sold his car to rebuild the drive-in.  

In 1998, May sold Mug-n-Bun to Jay Watson, an electrician who had made electrical repairs at the building for $1.2 million. Other than adding a few new items to the menu, indoor seating, and an upgraded picnic area, Watson kept the drive-in much the same, including May’s root beer recipe.  

An employee wearing a Mug n Bun visor delivers a tray of food through the window of a customer's car.
Car hop Rebecca Handlon delivers food to a customer at Mug-n-Bun, ca. 2020s Credit: Rob Goebel, IndyStar View Source

Already a local legend, Mug-n-Bun received national attention when Man vs. Food, a television series on the Travel Channel featured the drive-in on its show in 2018. The Mug-n-Bun crew challenged the show’s host, Casey Webb, to finish its Monster Combo comprised of a deluxe triple tenderloin sandwich, family-size fries, and a 32-ounce mug of root beer within 30 minutes. Webb lost the challenge, leaving a tiny piece of bread uneaten in the last five seconds.  

In January 2023 Watson put Mug-n-Bun on the market for $2.2 million.  

Revised April 2024

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