Richard and I wanted a close, quick place for a lunch today. While we live quite close to the Charcoaler Drive In, we had somehow not made it there quite yet. Today proved the perfect time to try it out this old El Paso favorite here on the Westside.
This is definitely an “old school” burger joint. According to their Facebook page, Charcoaler Drive In is a family run business that has been in operation since 1961. There is no inside dining – it is strictly drive up, place your order, get your food, and drive away or park on-site where you can eat in your car.
The menu is not huge, but it certainly has all the good basics that you would want in a place like this as well as a few extras thrown in for good measure (like a frankfurter, a fried fish sandwich, a burrito, and chicken salad). As for us, we stuck with the classics.
Richard ordered the #1 (1/3 pound double patty burger with BBQ sauce, onions, and pickles) along with onion rings and a vanilla shake. I got the #3 (cheeseburger with BBQ sauce, onions, and pickles). The menu says that “All sandwiches can be customized to your liking!” so I requested my burger be well done.
We had to wait a few minutes more on the shake, but the burgers and rings were cooked up quickly for us as we paid up. Richard pulled off to one of their parking spaces to wait for the shake, and in the meantime tore into his #1 double burger. He said immediately that it was a good, old-fashioned burger with a nice sesame seed-toppped bun. He said that it was just the right size, and he really liked their signature BBQ sauce.
Soon the shake was ready and brought right out to our car. We just headed a little ways down the road and finished up the rest in the comfort of home. Richard said that the onion rings were “old school good”. He said that the shake was very delicious and very high-quality. While I didn’t try it, the shake certainly looked great and was nice and thick. As for my burger, it was delicious! It was done up just the way I asked it to be….nice and well done! The BBQ sauce truly was a great addition to this burger and a refreshing change from the usual mustard and ketchup. The bun was fresh and just the right size, and the cheese was good and melt-y. I also liked that the burger was not one of those monster burgers that seem all too common today – it was just the right size for a tasty lunch.
Even though we arrived fairly early on a Saturday, there was a steady stream of cars ahead of us and behind us at the Charcoaler Drive In. And we can see why! It was really delicious food, at a good value, served up fast and with some wonderful nostalgia thrown in as an added bonus. Next time I may have to try one of those fried pies!
The Charcoaler Drive-In is on the westside at 5837 N Mesa St El Paso, TX 79912