The 9 Best Greasy Food Meccas to Visit Before You Die

If you're going to indulge in decadent food, make sure it's the very best.

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Whether it's candlelight and haute cuisine or clams and cold ones, a great dining experience comes from the perfect match of food, atmosphere, and companionship. So why not take your true love—your car, my friend—to a joint where she can shine in all her glory?

"Car culture is uniquely American, and these drive-ins celebrate that culture," says Michael Stern, coauthor of Roadfood. Drive-ins are often the last surviving purveyors of regional traditions, like the buttered burgers at the Penguin Drive-In in dairy-happy Wisconsin. If the spirit of Kerouac moves you anytime soon, visit one of Stern's car-food meccas—and if you need some new wheels before you set out, here are The 14 Sports Cars to Buy Now.

1
Beacon Drive-In

255 John B. White Sr. Boulevard, Spartanburg, SC

864-585-9387, Beacon Drive-In

The Beacon is known for its chili and insanely sweet iced tea, but the $6.50 Sliced Pork-A-Plenty (pork barbecue on a bun, a mountain of fries, and onion rings) draws the crowds.

Tip: Bring some friends for the Pig's Dinner, a dessert with 15 scoops of ice cream.

Reminder: before you start engorging yourself on all this amazingly decadent food, be sure to check out the 10 Ways to Eat Whatever You Want Without Gaining Weight.

2
Bob's Clam Hut

315 U.S. Route 1, Kittery, ME

207-439-4233, Bob's Clam Hut

This New England landmark makes all kinds of seafood, but the clam chowder ($3.25) and lobster roll ($10.95) stand out.

Tip: Order the Lillian, a clam dinner named for the longtime cashier.

And if you are a seafood lover, check out this quick and simple recipe for Pan-Seared Halibut.

3
Dick's Drive-In

111 NE 45th Street, Seattle

206-632-5125, Dick's Drive-In

The first of five locations in the Seattle area opened in 1954, and the prices (burgers start at $1.10, shakes $1.50) hark back to that era.

Tip: Don't even think of customizing your burger—everything comes as is.

4
Don's Drive-In

2030 U.S. 31 North,

Traverse City, MI

231-938-1860, Don's Drive-In

Enjoy the Big D's double-size patties ($5.45) and foot-long dogs ($2.25), as well as carhop service (summer only).

Tip: Order a cherry, raspberry, or strawberry shake ($3.80)-they're made with fresh fruit.

Burger fans should also read up on How to Make the Ultimate Burger.

5
Hires Big H

425 South 700 East

Salt Lake City

801-364-4582, Hires Big H

When you're at the Great Salt Lake, take a side trip to Hires Big H. Don't miss the homemade onion rings and root beer.

Tip: Order a Famous Big H burger ($3.25)-the place has a butcher on-site, so the meat's always fresh.

6
Red Rooster Drive-In

1566 Route 22, Brewster, NY

845-279-8046, Red Rooster Drive-In

Roll in for burgers, chili dogs, and shakes, and taste the past with a fine egg cream ($2).

Tip: After you chow, play a round of miniature golf at the Rooster's own course. And speaking of golf, here are 15 Celebrity Golfers Who Are Better Than You Are.

7
Sycamore Drive-In Restaurant

282 Greenwood Avenue, Bethel, CT

203-748-2716, Sycamore Drive-In Restaurant

Save room for the Dagwoodburger (two patties with tons of garnishes; $4.50), and don't skip the house-made root beer.

Tip: Flash your lights to get a carhop to stop by.

8
Superdawg Drive-In

6363 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago

773-763-0660, Superdawg Drive-In

You can't miss the 10-foot-tall hot dogs atop the place, but the quarter-pound Superdawg ($4.20; above), dressed with mustard, relish, onion, pickle, and hot peppers and loaded with fries, is the big draw.

Tip: Ditch the credit cards; this place is cash-only.

9
Wright's Dairy-Rite

346 Greenville Avenue, Staunton, VA

540-886-0435, Wright's Dairy-Rite

Feast on the Superburger (two patties layered in a triple-decker bun with cheese, lettuce, and sauce; $2.49), barbecued-pork sandwiches, and brown beans.

Tip: Get there early-the onion rings sell out every day.

For more advice on how to satiate your taste buds while traveling, read up on The Best Foodie Vacations.

 

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