The Frosty is an institution in rural California towns. Head and shoulders above drab chain franchises, a Frosty Stand can be a town’s best place to eat. The one in Lone Pine has all the flavor of the traditional rural American Frosty Stand … but with a 21st Century facelift. It recently underwent successful physical and menu renovations that make it an essential stop for Frosty enthusiasts. Frosty Chalet offers a subtle Alpine aesthetic with an open outdoor area to gaze at the Sierra Nevada mountains.
As much as we love Frosty Stands, they’re all too often undone by bland burgers, making them good only for an afternoon swirl-cone recess. Not Frosty Chalet, which might have the best Frosty burger in California. We like the tall double cheeseburger: thin, well-griddled patties of beef glued together with American cheese. Layers of crisp lettuce, ripe tomato, and thick, crunchy raw onion are well-dressed with 1000 Islands. It is a classic formula, nothing particularly innovative, but executed perfectly.
Other sandwiches are noteworthy. Grilled cheese is an attraction itself, so buttery and on such soft bread that it eats like a pan-fried American cheese dumpling. It might be more intensely rich than the double cheeseburger. BBQ roast beef also is impressive. It tastes like it is made with smoked beef brined until it becomes as salty as pastrami. While the roast beef isn’t as good as the burger, it is not a bad second choice. It needs a milkshake alongside to balance the salt.
Fries are pale, crisp crinkle cuts with a good measure of seasoning salt. They are recommended. Onion rings are crisp, but the onion inside is wilted. These also have a heavy dusting of seasoning salt — too much, we think.
A Frosty place is really only as good as it’s Frosties, and they are good here, if a tad pricier than most. Chocolate dip used for dip cones is an upgrade from the waxy shell at cheaper places and actually has a recognizable chocolate taste.
The road ahead was long, so we grabbed a coffee milkshake for a pick-me up. The instant coffee syrup actually worked well as flavoring in the shake. Overall the shake was hampered by a pervasive flaw in Frosty Stand milkshakes nationwide: shakes made with soft serve aren’t very thick and don’t stay shake-like for very long on hot days.