Whatever brand of franchised fast food you want, the city of Yakima likely has it. Yakima also has Miner’s Drive-In, which is one-of-a-kind. In the burger-shake-French fry business since 1948, Miner’s doesn’t actually offer car-hop service, but it delivers the spirit as well as the menu of a vintage drive-in. (It does have a drive-through lane.) Inside, unless it’s very crowded — which it is on weekends — service is swift. Place an order and pay, then put a numbered placard on a table to which the food is delivered.
The signature item, a Big Miner burger, really is very big — a good six inches across, on a bun to match — and while the meat itself is a forgettable flat patty, its garnishes and condiments make it sparkle. A good beefy alternative is what’s called a Double Burger Dip: two patties on a sub roll (cheese optional) with a cup of au jus. Using the gravy as a dip or to pour on the sandwich makes the meat sing. French fries are decent drive-in twigs, served in abundance. Four dips are available for the fries (or burgers): ketchup, mustard, barbecue ranch dressing, and the western favorite, fry sauce. That’s a mayo-ketchup mix similar to Russian dressing.
What I like best about Miner’s are milk shakes. They are nearly as thick as a Ted Drewes concrete, causing serious cheek hollows if you try to suck one up a straw. Among the premium flavors, made with actual fresh fruit or candy, are maple-walnut (loaded with nuts), banana cream pie, strawberry, Oreo, Reeses, peach, and pina colada. Shake sizes range from 16-ounce small to 44-ounce extra-large.