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July 14, 2009

Best Bites: A&W Drive-In

1557 Route 7, Middlebury 388-2876

Summer 2008 020(2) If you’re from any other part of the country, the name A&W likely conjures images of weirdly spiced curly fries, and tough kids at the mall waiting to beat you up (or is that just me?).

At the Middlebury location, though, fries are handcut and perfectly crisp. The root beer float is in a real frosted mug, leaving you with a ball of vanilla encrusted in a diamond shell of root beer at the end. And yes, teenage girls take your order at your car, then hook a tray containing the goods onto your window.

I like to order the $6 Bacon Cheeseburger basket. Unlike most drive-in burgers, these are cooked to a perfect medium well. The cheese is Vermont cheddar and the bacon is fabulously crispy. Even the lettuce and tomato are wonderfully fresh. The portions are more than ample, probably two or three times the size of a similar meal at any other burger stand.

The hot dogs ($3.25) are quarter pound monsters with a strong, juicy punch similar to a Nathan’s link. You can get them Michigan-style or with the slightly zippier Coney sauce. If you can’t hack the Great Dane-sized dog, there are also corn dog nuggets ($3.25). If you’re me, you can get them as a side dish, alongside tangy fried cheddar curds ($3.25). Whatever you do, though, you must finish your evening with a frosty chocolate shake, the smell of which is enough induce euphoria on the drive home.

OMG, you're making me hungry! Who owns this place now? A few years ago I remember it was owned by a Charlotte couple (sadly, I can't remember their name) and back then they served falafel, which I thought was a wonderful, quirky addition for a traditional American hamburger stand!

If you're looking for falafel, keep going 100 yards to Dinky Donuts!

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