Lake Zoar Drive-In

Review by: Michael Stern

Behold the Zoarburger: a quarter-pound beef patty cooked to order and topped with cheese and bacon plus lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, all on a great big hard roll. Hefty as that hard roll is, there is no way to eat a Zoar Burger without drips and spills. But that’s ok in this place, where the accommodations are – how shall we say it? – less than formal. You eat off paper plates at either a low counter opposite the service window or at a picnic table just outside, or sitting on one of the concrete road dividers that defines the front of the parking lot. Some people just get the food “to go” and dine off their dashboards. Berths are available for those who arrive by boat.

If a big, messy Zoar Burger is more than you want to handle, there are plenty of lesser hamburgers on the menu: You can have singles and doubles, chiliburgers and cheeseburgers, or such specialties as a Bobby Burger (topped with fried onions and roasted peppers) or a Weekly Burger (with gorgonzola).

Honestly, we like the hot dogs more than the burgers. Zoar offers regular and foot-longs cooked to taut, pink goodness and topped with whatever you like. A foot long with the works comes buried under onions, sauerkraut, mustard, and relish. Of course, bacon and cheese also are available.

The Zoar Drive-In, which is open seven days, serves breakfast every day. Although it is casual and cheap, it is NOT particularly fast food, as everything is made to order. Waiting is part of the experience, and all the day’s local papers are spread out on the counter for customers to enjoy while their food is cooked or while they eat it.

This is an amiable place in a ramshackle way. It is located on Lake Zoar, which is a pleasant setting; but the view from both the picnic tables and the parking lot is pretty well blocked, and the restaurant itself is very well worn. The ambiance we like about this drive-in is less about natural beauty than about the charm of a roadside burger joint that takes pride in what it does.

Directions & Hours

What To Eat

Zoar Burger

DISH
Foot Long Hot Dog

DISH
Milk Shake

DISH
Onion Straws

DISH

Lake Zoar Drive-In Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Lake Zoar Drive-In?

One Response to “Lake Zoar Drive-In”

Tim Conway

March 15th, 2014

I really enjoyed reading Thursday’s Roadfood Of The Day, the reposting of an ’03 Michael Stern review. I don’t often get to try the places I see here, but a visit just happened to coincide perfectly with a trip the next day from Long Island for a concert in Wallingford. Because we had checked out their online menu on the drive up, we knew exactly what we wanted to order. A good thing, because though tiny, they have quite a few choices on their menu. They were ready for us and being off season, there was even room to sit.

The RF photo of the Zoar Burger is what first grabbed my attention, so I was locked in on that, my wife choosing the Junior version. I also wanted to try a Hummel Hotdog, so we decided to share the Mike’s Slaw Dog version. A side of Onion Straws and as a big fan of milk shakes, I had to try the chocolate. Ambitious order, no doubt.

Loved the perfectly cooked Zoar Burger. It was as Michael described, complete with “major spillage”. The roll though fine, was not what I knew as a hard roll which just may have changed between ’03 and ’14. It was at least five napkins and the wet nap from the car afterward, but thanks to RoadFood, I was forewarned and forearmed. Then we went to work on Mike’s Slaw Dog: toppings were excellent and I really liked the Hummel Dog. Put together very neatly, as was the Zoar Burger, spillage notwithstanding. I thought the Onion Straws too small, though nice taste and doneness. Chocolate Shake was good and a big plus for me, not head-caving thick. We both enjoyed a side of cole slaw that we didn’t finish until later. I was ambitious but sensible, as we had at least ordered small versions of the dog, the shake and the sides.

We greatly enjoyed everything we had and received a very reasonable bill. Mike and his crew were all friendly, all very nice. The food was served promptly and service was great. Whenever practical I will certainly get back there and look forward to sampling lots of other menu items. We were very happy with our experience, many thanks to RoadFood.

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