New customers at Danny’s are warned, verbally and in writing (on a sign by the order counter) that the chili is very, very hot. It is Kuhn’s chili, well-known to Fairfield County chiliheads, still made according to a secret recipe, and delivered to Danny’s as the coup de grace for hot dogs, hamburgers, and fried potatoes. It is a powerfully aromatic emulsion that will make your lips and tongue tingle and will set your digestive tract aglow.
The charms of this 1935-vintage drive-in go beyond four-alarm chili, which in this case is really only a condiment (albeit a persuasive one). Danny’s main claim to fame is a hamburger – or a cheeseburger, or a double burger or a triple piggie (3 patties, 3 slices of cheese, 3 strips of bacon) – with the works. That means lettuce, tomato, sliced onion (Vidalia in season) and a ring of green pepper. The burger is a modest one, so doubles and triples make sense, as does an available six-ounce angus burger on a king-size roll. Of course, you can have your burger blanketed with chili.
Hot dogs, known descriptively as long dogs and served in tender-outside, grilled-inside buns, are Hummel-brand beauties. You can have yours assembled however you like it in forms that include the bull dog (chili and fried onions), the devil dog (chili, bacon, onions, cheese, and jalapeno peppers), the New York dog (with special onion sauce), and with the works, which in the case of tube steaks means Gulden’s mustard, relish, and sauerkraut.
French fries at Danny’s are terrific in their “crazy” form — topped with chili, molten cheese, jalapeno chips and chopped raw onions. Good alternatives are waffle fries and batter-dipped onion rings (both available in the crazy configuration). Milk shakes are made to order in tall silver beakers; flavors include chocolate, vanilla, coffee, creamsicle, peanut butter, and root beer.
Aside from being a source of exemplary quick eats, Danny’s is worth knowing about for its old-time drive-in flavor. There are no seats inside – just a narrow counter by the window for stand-up eating – so many people dine either at outdoor picnic tables or in their cars. The interior wall space is devoted to a personality-plus collage of roadside memories, old Coke advertisements, patriotic manifestoes, and letters from extremely satisfied customers. If you like Roadfood, we can practically guarantee you too will find satisfaction.