Going back to the original Hamburger America list, as we were driving through Charlotte this evening we swung into South 21 for a quick dinner. “Swung in” is a bit of an understatement as it involved an exit, a u-turn and a return onto a divided six-lane highway, but you get the idea.
They’ve been serving Charlotte since 1955 (see below)
and are a classic drive-in, with space for around 60 cars. We pulled into a space on the back side of the row to the left (so we could watch traffic) and studied the menu.
We both chose a jumbo cheeseburger, one with rings and one with fries (and no pickle).
Everything is made to order, but as the burgers are really thin, I can’t imagine waiting more than ten minutes if no one else was there. Our order took about five minutes, and the burgers were what “fast food” was decades ago. Hot and fresh.
We talked with the couple who pulled in next to us as I was throwing away the trash. They said they’ve been going to South 21 on Friday nights since the 60s. Tonight, they were there, in their 60s, with a grandchild. It’s good to have constants in your life.
[…] I went with a chili dog and a cheeseburger. They were simple and tasty. Was it the best of either that I’ve ever had? No – not even the best that I’ve had recently. But there was something so comfortable about the place. The crowd crossed race and class lines and, based on talking to the folks around us, this is a family experience. People bring their grandkids back to where they used to eat burgers and dogs (like at the Varsity or South 21). […]