The Charcoaler Restaurant

by Scott R. Kline
Print Email

charcoaler-drive-in-1.jpgThe Charcoaler in El Paso, Texas, looks like it fell out of time capsule from the 1950s. That is a good thing. A beautiful glass fronted open building sits back from busy Mesa Drive with an expansive lawn stretching to the seriously retro sign out front. This is truly a classic drive through restaurant.

You pull your 1955 Chevy up to one of four speaker signs depicting a chef holding a big sign with the menu on it. A helpful voice crackles on the speaker asking you for your order. You reply Cheeseburger ($1.95), French fries ($1.00), Onion Rings ($1.55) and a chocolate shake ($1.20). “Sorry, we only have vanilla shakes today.” The voice crackles back. You answer that is fine. “That will be $6.19. Please pull around to the window.”

charcoalermenu.jpgYou oblige and pull up behind three other hamburger hopefuls in the queue. When you get to the window, a neatly dressed young man takes your money and hands you three identical white paper sacks, with the Charcoaler logo on them and a small red cup with your vanilla shake. You thank the man and pull the car under one of two 100-foot long awnings, that will shield you form the Texas sun while you feast.

In bag number 1, you see your hamburger, wrapped in white paper. It is a thing of classic burger beauty. Maybe 2 or 3 ounces of a thin beef patty sitting on a pillowy white bun with sesame seeds. The diameter of the bun and hamburger patty are identical. You take a bite and savor the combination of meat, bun, onion pieces, pickle chips, and American cheese. But what’s this? The ketchup is spicy - an unexpected pleasure for your taste buds.

charcoalerorings.jpgThe onion rings are something completely unexpected. Huge slices of sweet onion, lightly battered in tempura-like crust. Perfect if they only had ranch dressing in which to dunk, but spectacular none-the-less with ketchup. The fries disappoint in relation to the rest of the experience. They are hot, thick and a little too greasy, but not bad.

You get ready to pop the clutch in your muscle car and hit the streets, when you remember you are driving a Chevy Tahoe burning $4 gas every 12 miles or so.


The Charcoaler Drive-In Restaurant
5837 N. Mesa Drive
El Paso, TX 

 

- Also published on Hoosier Burger Boy

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

restaurant news

Dinner and a Show
Michigan
by Ann Nichols

ujai01.jpgThe second of my eating out experiences this week took me to Ukai, a Japanese restaurant in Okemos, Michigan. Chosen by my 11-year-old nephew as the site of his birthday dinner, Ukai occupies a...

Read more...
Kai Lobach's World, and His Currywurst
Los Angeles
by Annie Stein

currywurstoutsideKai Lobach's “baby” is Currywurst, the hole in the wall sausage restaurant on Fairfax Avenue that he opened a few years ago and is fighting to keep alive and well. Small, compact, and beautiful as...

Read more...
Falling in love with the Vineyard: Out of season pleasures at Atria
New England
by Nancy Ellison

atriamarthasMartha’s Vineyard in the Fall is the secret treasure of Vineyarders. The “summer people (some are not)” have returned to their sophisticated rat races, leaving perfect weather and fabulous...

Read more...
The Golden State
Los Angeles
by Sara Mohazzebi

goldenstatelogo.jpgTwo years ago, I made a decision that forever changed my dining experience. I stopped being friends with anyone who doesn’t like to eat. Living in Los Angeles, the city of beautiful people, this...

Read more...