Burgers and fries and homemade pie. What’s not to love? When cars were lining up at the new Sonic on South Hill, I pointed my car down South Hill and into the valley to Don’s Drive-In, which has operated since the 1960s across the street from the Puyallup Fairgrounds.
Don’s is home to the Smitty burger, an oblong burger on a French roll not to be confused with the onion variety served every year at the fair (Don’s, in fact, is closed during the Puyallup Fair). The Smitty burger may be the signature burger at Don’s, but I favor the plain ol’ deluxe cheeseburger ($2.99, plus $.30 for cheese). It’s a worthy interpretation of an old style drive-in burger, and done right. A crunchy grilled sesame seed bun with a quarter-pound patty, American cheese, a slather of the tangy house burger sauce and shredded lettuce, diced onions, a slice of tomato and crisp pickle chips. Freezer fries are passable.
What makes Don’s an unusual find is homemade pie (and they make their own soups, too). Pie flavors change often, just check the white board for what’s fresh and available. If you chose, your pie can come with a big plop of whipped cream, very lightly sweetened. The strawberry-rhubarb filling was puckery sweet, with the sweetness tilting close, but not tipping over the right side of cloying. The chocolate pie was deeply rich, and tasted more like a satiny, dark chocolate mousse than a pudding-y soft filling. The sour cream lemon was just a touch on the gritty side, but puckery good. Whole pies can be ordered in advance, just give them a few days notice.
YOUR TURN: Favorite drive-in burger? GO! Comment below.
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Don’s Drive-InWhere: 925 S. Meridian, PuyallupPhone: 253-845-1790Hours: 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily