Unassuming best describes Carl’s Drive-In. The Route 66 era eatery has two entrances, with each side housing eight stools. Occupying the middle is the grill and a giant barrel of house-made root beer. A small menu hangs on the back wall above the soda fountain (but seriously, they made their own root beer so get that instead). In the best way possible, nothing has really changed in many years, minus a new owner two years ago. It’s quintessential, unfiltered Americana.
If you’ve never been, here’s the drill. Enter on the west side of the building. Sit down, if you can. If not, stand patiently behind those sitting. Pick out your order. The patties are one sixth of a pound and cooked with crispy edges on a flat-top grill. You should probably order a double. Treat yourself, and get cheese. Pickle and onion are recommended. Get some fries too. Definitely a root beer, served in a frosted mug. Milkshakes are another good option. Watch your food get made. Be patient. Your food will be served on deli paper and be very hot when placed in front of you. Be patient. Savor the bites. Soak up the atmosphere. Sip your root beer. Settle up with cash. Finish your root beer. Vow to return.