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.