The motto of Lakeview Drive In is “friendly service and the best fast food in North Central Washington.” What they don’t mention is there are no other fast food restaurants in the city of Chelan (unless you count Starbucks).
There is a reason other burger places don’t exist: They simply cannot compete with the location, small town charm, and consistently tasty burger and fries fare that Lakeview Drive In has been serving to locals and visitors since 1957.
Centrally located in downtown Chelan, just off the Manson Highway, Lakeview Drive In is a convenient stop for those passing through town as well as folks enjoying nearby beaches, parks, resorts, and campground. There is a drive-thru, however in the busy summer months most of the business is walk-up. You place your order at one window, and then pick it up on the other side of the small building whenyour number is called. Have your receipt ready: They always check that the order you are picking up is in fact yours.
The menu offers various burgers, sandwiches, and chicken options. Burgers are the way to go. Made with 100% beef, the thin patties are cooked on a flattop and come out with perfect golden crust. Standard condiments include mayo, mustard, relish, lettuce, and onion. The super friendly staff are happy to customize for you, but we recommend getting your burger with everything on it. The Double Mack Cheeseburger has double meat and cheese, and combined with all the condiments, it is one deliciously messy, so-worth-it treat.
Hot Dogs aren’t a usually a specialty in this part of the country, so when I ordered a Foot Long Dog I had low expectations. To be honest, I was just planning to cut it up and feed it to my little kids. The woman behind the counter suggested I get it “salad style,” meaning it comes with all the standard burger toppings. I am so glad I did! The combination of the creamy mayo and relish with the crunch of the lettuce and pickles dressing a perfectly griddled, split dog in a fresh bun was a highlight of the meal.
Lakeview French fries are famous for being served in a giant bucket with homemade seasoning salt, fry sauce, and tartar. They are not hand-cut (my personal favorite), but for crinkle cut they are very good, and great for sharing. The fry sauce was a bit too reminiscent of bbq sauce for my taste, but the homemade tartar was delicious. Onion rings are a good option here too – fresh, not too greasy, and perfectly crunchy.
For any fellow peanut butter lovers out there, the peanut butter cup milkshake is a must. Almost frustratingly thick, we finally gave up and took the lid off and just started spooning it into our mouths with the straw! We didn’t try the other flavors, which are chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, and Oreo. But based on the quality of ingredients used in the peanut butter cup version, we’re guessing the others are just as tasty.
The picturesque lakeside location offers tons of seating, shade, and views of the nearby boat launch. Hours and days of operation vary based on the season. Summer is the peak time, so expect crowds and a wait. It is worth it!