Excellent | Worth a Detour
Gary’s Hamburgers | Drive In Burger At Its Best
Review by: Michael Stern
Funny, It Doesn’t Look Special
Gary’s looks and operates like a thousand other fast-food hamburger joints. Step up to the counter, read the menu posted above, place your order, and pay. A hearty meal will get you change from a ten-dollar bill. Take a number to bring to a table, to which the food will be delivered. On the way to the table, grab a straw for your drink and paper towels to use as napkins. Prepare to enjoy a drive in burger at its best.
Cooked To Order
Once you find a seat, something strange happens: you wait. The meal you ordered isn’t merely being assembled. It is being cooked. It arrives like typical junk food, in plastic baskets or wrapped in paper. But everything you eat here meets a higher standard.
Oh, What a Beautiful Burger
The thick, hand-fashioned burger patty sports a gnarled crusty surface. Dress it all the way under a virtual bouquet of garnishes. I don’t contend that it competes with a gourmet steak-house burger. It doesn’t even try to match one of those upscale urban $15 burgers. No, Gary’s serves quintessential drive-in fare. It surely bests the the big national chains. But it doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is. So if I call it an artisan fast food burger, please don’t think I am saying it is fancy. I simply mean that here you have an inexpensive hamburger prepared with skill and dressed with style. When the craving for one strikes, I can’t imagine a better choice than Gary’s. This truly is a drive in burger at its best. Even better: make it a double. With cheese. And bacon.
Catfish sets high marks, too. Sandy-textured crust envelops thick ribbons of sweet, white meat. Again, nothing fancy. But you won’t find catfish this good — and at this price — anywhere near. The crust on chicken tenders hums with tangy spice. A ramekin of creamy honey-mustard sauce gives it even more pizzazz. Gary’s chili slaw dog (aka Dixie Dog) defines the unique goodness of this dish. No single element stands out as extra delicious. Mild beef chili and sweet slaw blanket a blubbery frankfurter in a soft, spongy bun. Somehow, as is true of so many excellent Dixie dogs, all those ignominious ingredients come together to sing harmony.
Biscuits to Make Mama Proud
Nor should you dismiss breakfast. Gary’s fragile, creamy, crisp-edged buttermilk biscuits meet the highest Deep South standards. When they sandwich pieces of excellent fried chicken or a split and grilled smoky link, you’re in breakfast-sandwich heaven.
I frequent the Gary’s that is near the Savannah River in North Augusta. There are three others on both sides of the river. I might never have visited this little local chain were it not for the recommendation of Roadfood’s Master of the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area), Chickenplucker, aka Keith McLendon. About his double cheeseburger at Gary’s, he wrote, “Whatever toppings or condiments you decide on, the flavor of the beef shines through.” Amen.
Directions & Hours
- Monday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
- Tuesday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
- Wednesday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
- Thursday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
- Friday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
- Saturday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
- Sunday: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|