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Road Trip: Nostalgic Roadside Diners, Burgers & Shakes

Burgers, shakes, fries.

The classic American drive-in: hand-cut French fries, burgers, and shakes are part of what makes summer (ok, really any time of the year)— taste great. Here are the best throwback eats in our neck of the woods.

The Pilchuck Drive-In

205 Maple Ave, Snohomish, WA 98290

Located just off the main drag in charmingly old-fashioned Snohomish, the Pilchuck Drive-In serves milkshakes so thick you can stand a straw in the cup. Take a bite to the nearby Pilchuck River Park for a casual summer afternoon cooling off in the Pacific Northwest. A milkshake by the water on a hot day could be what life is all about.

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Zeke’s Drive-In

43918 US-2, Gold Bar, WA 98251

The last stop on Highway 2 before Steven’s Pass, Zeke’s is worth pulling off the road for. You don’t really expect it so far out on the rural freeway, just outside the little town of Gold Bar, nestled among pine trees.

Zeke’s does onion rings like nobody’s business and all the good, fried food you need before or after tackling a day of strenuous hiking or skiing.

King Charlie’s Drive-In

1301 30th St, Snohomish, WA 98290

You can’t miss it. It’s a bright yellow-and-purple-striped building with purple picnic benches. This place has a small park-like field where you can take a minute and enjoy a few crispy, salty bites and wash it down with a sweet shake.

Nearby, Blackman Lake has covered picnic areas, views of the water, and a playground. You could even take your burger out fishing on their public docks.

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Nutty’s Junkyard Grill

6717 204th St NE, Arlington, WA 98223

Be sure to check out this automotive/junkyard-themed diner. Americana and antiques with neon signage make for a nostalgic place to grab a burger and bottled soda pop. Roll-up doors are open on good weather days, lending to Nutty’s that dining al fresco roadside feel.

Ray’s Drive-In

1401 Broadway, Everett, WA 98201

Candidly, this is the best place to get fish and chips in Seattle NorthCountry. It’s something about the crispy breading. Picnic tables an enclosed dining area make for a year-round picnic vibe. Bonus points if you hop across the street to the historic Blue Moon Tavern to wash your meal down with a brewski and a round of karaoke.

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Mikie’s Drive-In

4532 Evergreen Way, Everett, WA 98203

Located on historic Route 99 (the old freeway before I-5 came through town), Mikie’s is a throwback in the style of checkered floors and Formica tables. Mikie’s is prized by locals for its real ice cream milkshakes.

Is Ray’s better, or Mikie’s? The local debate rages on. You’ll have to try both for yourself and decide.

Totem Diner

4410 Rucker Ave, Everett, WA 98203

The iconic Totem Diner totem is on Highway 99, just down the street from Mikie’s (see entry above). It’s the sort of place where the wait staff come by and fill up your hefty white diner mug with a top off and call you “hon.” Vinyl-seated booths. Try the pancakes, eggs, and hash, and you can’t go wrong with their in-house soup of the day.

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