Charcoal Pit

Review by: Michael Stern

We were tipped off to the Charcoal Pit by a roadfooder named Amy, originally from Delaware, who accused us of missing what she called “the most Roadfood-esque place in the state”: the Charcoal Pit. Amy told us that she took friends from all over the country to the Pit and they loved it … and we would too! After Amy’s note, we got another strong suggestion from Steven Green that we needed to try this place. Steven said, “Everything has all the cholesterol (and taste) from the old days”; he recommended the burgers, French fries, and malts.

Sure enough, a Charcoal Pit burger exudes mid-century Americana: a modest patty with a charcoal taste served on a spongy bun either plain or in the deluxe configuration, which adds lettuce, tomato and pickle. For those who crave extra meat, there is also a double-size eight-ounce hamburger. French fries are normal-size twigs with a tough skin and soft potato flavor. Milk shakes come in silver beakers that hold at least two glasses full. (The shakes are so thick that a long-handled spoon is provided to help you get it from the beaker into your glass.) We even enjoyed the crab cakes, which were a couple of hardball-shaped spheres with crusty outsides and a fair measure of crab filling the interior.

It’s an old-fashioned kind of place with comfy maroon booths and vintage menus decorating the wall. Waitresses go about their job with aplomb and attitude that make customers feel part of a cheap-eats ritual that has gone on forever.

There are other Charcoal Pits at 5200 Pike Creek, in the Fox Run Shopping Center, and in Prices Corner at Kirkwood Highway and Greenbank Road.

What To Eat



Hot Dog

Onion Rings

Bacon Cheeseburger

Hot Fudge Sundae

Milk Shake


Charcoal Pit Recipes


What do you think of Charcoal Pit?

4 Responses to “Charcoal Pit”


November 9th, 2022

Have been going here for years and years. Always good until recently. The hamburg buns you are now using are awful., no taste, smaller, etc. And the meat seems to somehow been frozen and then cooked. Not the burger that the Pit has been known for. May I suggest you upgrade this product and get back to having the greatest one around? A compliment: The steel wall behind the grill has always been clean, never looks dirty. A compliment indeed. Thanks for reading and considering “fixing” the burger and bun.


Bryan McMeen

October 14th, 2006

My girlfriend and I ran across the Charcoal Pit while trying to avoid all the toll roads and bridges on the way home from Philly. We saw a sign for a diner and thought “let’s go!” We saw the diner and thought “oh, it’s just a Greek restaurant – it doesn’t even LOOK like a diner.” Then we spotted the Charcoal Pit’s sign and said “OH BOY!”

The place was packed with the lunch crowd and we had about a 10 minute wait to get the table right next to the exit. A word to the larger folks out there – I’m a big guy and these booths are TIGHT!

We ordered two drinks, an order of onion rings, a 4-oz cheeseburger for her, an 8-oz deluxe for me, a cup of the corn chowder and the infamous ice cream cake. All for about $20. Unbelievable!

Other reviews seem to have covered the main items, so I’ll just mention the two things that stood out to me. The red “relish” that comes with the deluxe was something so simple, but it added something unique to the overall experience. A bit sweet, it may have been as simple as ketchup and pickle relish. Also very tasty was the corn chowder. It was obvious to me that if the corn chowder tasted that good, then the crab chowder and clam chowder had to be at least equally as good.

It’s a shame the “rate it” link only goes up to 100 miles – we’d gladly drive across 5 states to go there again…


Dominick Lombardi

December 1st, 2005

These are great natural tasting burgers, prepared exactly the way a burger should be cooked. Shakes and malts are thick and rich, and served in a frosted metal mixing cup, just like in an old fashioned ice cream parlor.

The ice cream desserts are named after local high school teams, and paraphernalia of local sports teams enhance the atmosphere. Charcoal Pit is a good place for kids as they have a game room to keep the youngsters busy. Overall, a great place for the entire family!


Michael Jesse

November 19th, 2005

Not much has changed since Michael reviewed Charcoal Pit almost two years ago. The establishment is the quintessential Roadfood stop.

We sampled the staple fare during our visit. The classic cheeseburger had that unique chargrilled taste that you rarely find anymore, even in places that grill their burgers over fire. The cooks will grill to your specifications, so the adventurous can still get some red in their burgers. We ordered ours medium and it arrived with just the slightest touch of pink; the perfect balance to bring out the meatiness of the burger. Your waitress will dress the burger from a condiment station and tear the lettuce from whole heads of crisp iceberg.

We split an order of real (not formed) onion rings fried in a batter that had just the right texture – what you would expect from a classic roadside diner. No thick doughy beer batters here. To top it off, I ordered a classic chocolate malt that completely rounded out my 50’s-era dining experience.

Charcoal Pit will transport you back to your youth. If you’re ever driving around Wilmington and see the Charcoal Pit sign, make an immediate stop. You won’t regret it.


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