Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Day 16: Nashville to NJ
Roadfood: Dude s Drive In, Wright s Dairy Rite
I began my last day of this trip with mixed feelings. I had been on the road for 16 days. I was anxious to get home, but was reluctant to do so.
Oh! The places I did go!
Oh! The things I did see!
Oh! The people I did meet!
Oh! The meals I did eat!
I had decided to stop in Virginia and try a couple of old fashioned drive ins. As I pulled off I-81 at Christiansburg, VA, and into Dude s Drive In, I was checking my memory for the last time I had eaten at a real drive in. My best guess is that it has been about 35 years since I sat in my car while a car hop brought me my food.
Dude s offer s car service. You park in front of a giant menu board and honk your horn when you are ready to order. The car hop walks over and you place your order. She places your order with the kitchen via a headset radio, and returns with a bag of food when your order is ready.
I did not need to honk as I had attracted everyone s attention by driving backwards through the entire parking lot. I had figured out how to drive in the opposite direction of all arrows that had been painted on the blacktop that were supposed to direct you through the parking lot.
I pretty much had my order in mind anyway, so I did not need much time. I had read Michael Stern s recent review and decided on the Dude Burger and fries.
The Dude burger is a comfortable portion of meat. It is not gigantic, nor is it a junior sized burger. I found it to be just the right size for lunch. The burger is dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and mayo. I chose not to have the mayo. The burger was tender and filling. The fries were hot, fresh, and crispy. Having found a new appreciation for Dr. Pepper while in Texas, this was my beverage of choice.
Back on the road I mentally prepared myself for the last meal of the trip. I was going to have an early dinner at Wright s Dairy Rite in Staunton, VA. I noticed that another highly rated Roadfood restaurant in Staunton is Mrs. Rowe s. I noticed that they were right off the interstate rather than in town, as the Roadfood map depicts. In fact, I remember having had breakfast there about five years ago.
Does anyone know if the location in town still exists or did they move out to the new highway? Are there two locations? If so, is one better than the other?
As I pulled into Wright s I saw that this was an old fashioned drive in. You know, the kind where you press the button and talk into a speaker and in a few minutes your order appears. When your food is ready the car hop puts your food on the pull out tray.
Even though it was still early for dinner, Wright s had a few customers. I ordered the Superburger, onion rings, and a chocolate shake. The Superburger is an old fashioned three decker burger. It is hard to believe that this kind of hamburger was made before the Big Mac became the Mc standard. During the 50s and 60s many hamburger places had this kind of burger. Wright s claims that theirs goes back to 1952.
This was a great sandwich. The burgers were just the right size, the bun was soft but firm enough to hold up to the rest of the sandwich. The secret sauce was tasty and not reminiscent at all of a Big Mac. And I did not spill the whole thing down my front.
On this trip I ordered onion rings whenever I thought they were home made. I prefer them to French fries. The rings at Wright s did not disappoint. They were fresh and homemade. I am glad that I waited until I was almost through my burger before I tried them because they were still piping hot. They had also been salted a,21,203894.098,1,7586,126.96.36.199
203991,203894,203894,2006-06-01 09:30:11,RE: NJ to TX In Search of TX BBQ”