My life- in 2D.
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Growing up in South Florida until recently, I was well-aware that old roadside “joints” were all but dead in The Sunshine State. So imagine my excitement when I first drove by Weber’s Drive-in, located in Pennsauken, NJ, right off of Route 38. It was “American Graffiti” for real. The main attraction at Weber’s is their signature Root Beer.
Everything about it- the roadside sign, colors, architecture, and yes- even the food, just screams “1950’s”. I suddenly had an urge to go out and buy the complete “Happy Days” series on DVD. Weber’s is that authentic. A standing, living monument to days-too-long-gone-by.
Weber’s is a Drive-in. That’s Drive “in”, not Drive-“thru”- big difference. For those that never experienced it, a Drive-in is a restaurant where patrons pull up to a parking spot, a server comes to your car to take your order, and then delivers the food to you, so you can dine in your car. At Weber’s, the authenticity of 50’s drive-ins is cemented by fastening your food order tray to the driver’s side window. Daddy-O, this place is like crazy!
When first approaching your parking spot, turn your headlights off. The reason? Well, there’s a sign that explains it right in front of you- “Lights On For Service”. Simple- just like 50’s.
Weber’s menu is not extensive- your basic hamburger, hot dog, cheese-steak joint, with a few available tweaks to each. They also serve a Pork Roll® with Cheese sandwich- a staple here in Jersey and Philadelphia. Pork roll is very similar to Canadian Bacon, in my opinion. Locals here will fight you to the death denying it. That pretty much covers the food- drinks are shakes and sodas.
It shouldn’t take you more than a minute to decide what to eat, at which point you flick on your headlights. Within seconds, our server showed up to take the order.
As I said earlier, Weber’s signature item is Root Beer. Being a root beer fanatic, it was that fact that got me giddy like a five-year-old. I love a good homemade root beer- not out of a can, but in a frosted mug. Weber’s deliver’s.
Having never been there, we try a sampling of a few sandwiches- the burgers literally being a bit larger than a Slider and not too filling. We order a cheeseburger, cheesesteak, and a pork roll sandwich. Within five minutes we’re eating.
Now, this isn’t a five-star restaurant, folks- but the food is just what it sets out to be. Simple. All of the sandwiches were adequate- fresh buns, and served hot. The pork roll is your basic ham and cheese- very mild and quite delicious. The burger, although not huge, was juicy and flavorful. The cheesesteak was like the kind you make at home, but satisfying, nonetheless.
For drinks, of course we ordered a root beer, and we also wanted to sample the vanilla shake. The root beer was okay– it was definitely ice-cold in the mug, but the soda itself didn’t have that strong root-y, herb-y flavor that I like so much. It wasn’t as good as A&W serves up out of their kegs, but it was close. I would definitely bring a gallon home in the future, which are available in glass jugs, for just $4.99). The vanilla shake, on the other hand, was superb. A nice, thick,- but not-too-thick blend of real vanilla ice cream and milk. It was also served in a chilled mug, which adds that special touch. Perfect to wash the food down with.
Having finished our meal, we turned back on the headlights, and the server came over to take our empty tray and mugs. She also gave us the check, which sits on your windshield while you dine. At an average of 3 bucks and change an item, Weber’s is definitely budget-friendly. Oh yeah, it’s also cash-only. More Fifty’s authenticity .
All in all, a great place to go, to bring the kids, and for you people a generation older than me- a great place to wax nostalgic.
But wait- there’s more!!! Upon entering the parking lot of Weber’s, on the roadside and beckoning the traffic passersby- is Elvis. Yes, ladies and gentlemen- Elvis Presley. Well, kind of…. His real name is Mark (or Marc, maybe?), and he entertains from the side of the highway- microphone in hand and boombox on the ground.
Mark– er, Elvis was kind enough to pose for some pictures for me, and also let me know that he is available for parties and private engagements. I still have your number, King.
Happy Days, indeed. I love this place.
Thank ya- thank ya veramuch.