After spending our morning exploring the unearthly landscape of Craters of the Moon National Monument in southern Idaho, we exited the park hungry. Assuming that we weren’t going to find anything of interest until reaching the cities of Blackfoot or Pocatello, we were delighted to come across Lost River Drive-In in the tiny town of Arco, Idaho. The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but a full parking lot told us to head on in.
We chose the Western Burger, which is approximately a 1/3 pounder and has a smoky, charcoal-grilled flavor. It is topped with thick bacon, American cheese, fresh tomatoes, and lettuce, all packed inside a sesame seed bun. You can make it a combo by adding tots or fries. We highly recommend the fries. They are rail-thin, golden brown, and served hot from the fryer.
Arco is close enough to Utah that squeeze bottles of fry sauce (typically a mix of ketchup and mayo) are available: the perfect condiment for dipping.
To drink, milkshakes are made with real ice cream. Our huckleberry shake was so thick that the straw was all but useless.
Always on the lookout for unusual regional specialties, we asked the friendly young lady taking our order about something listed as sticky fingers on the menu. It turned out that they are nothing more than chopped-up chunks of chicken fingers in a sweet, tangy sauce. We asked what was in the sauce, but it is apparently a closely guarded secret. Our best guess would be some combination of bbq sauce and French dressing. Gourmet food it is not, but we found it eminently satisfying.
Lost River Drive-In sells Cascade Glacier Ice Cream out of Oregon. We saw several locals walking out the door cones in hand.