You know how a place gets built up in local legend? You’ll hear it whispered about reverently. You’ll see people Instagram pictures of gooey cheeseburgers and thick milkshakes. You’ll know that the food has received national acclaim, including being names Forbes’ best burger in 1999.
And yet, you still wonder if it can possibly live up to the hype. Then you pull up to your first Swensons Drive In. You’re immediately charmed by the old-school concept of someone coming out to your car (in these frigid temps no less) to take your order. You put your “Lights On for Service.”
You order the Galley Boy, the storied Swensons signature double cheeseburger with two special sauces, an order of French fries, and a mocha shake. You apologize to the freezing server who had to wait while you debated the merits of peanut butter/chocolate versus mocha for your milkshake.
The food arrives on a tray that hooks to your car. You immediately feel the urge to put on the oldies radio station.
You dive in to the cheesy, saucy burger and in one bite understand why everyone raves about Swensons. The toasted bun, the melty cheese, the sauces that compliment without overwhelming the burger itself…it’s all magical and delicious and a perfect slice of Americana.
You also pay less than $10 for all this glorious food and wonder why you’d ever “fast food” anywhere else.
Swensons Drive-In now boasts 8 locations, including ones in Seven Hills and University Heights that are dangerously convenient for us Clevelanders. The menu includes burgers and cheeseburgers, as well as chicken, fish, bologna, and pork sandwiches. You can also get shrimp, fish, and chicken dinners; salads and soups; a variety of fried sides; and desserts. I suggest going classic for your first trip, but I’m a traditionalist that way! Leave your lights on for service!