- 1557 Route 7 S, Middlebury, VT, 05753
- (802) 388-2876
(Published in 7 Nights 2008-09)
Doin' it in the car is just more fun. That includes eating. But while there are plenty of drive-thru dining options in our "fast-food nation," carhops — those places where the waitstaff delivers American classics to your driver's side window — are a dying breed. Luckily for lovers of all things retro, Vermont still has one. It's Middlebury's A&W, complete with an orange and brown paint job, burgers 'n' dogs and icy mugs filled to overflowing with frothy root-beer floats. The old-school eatery is sandwiched between a vast cornfield and busy Route 7, with its steady stream of semis. Because chillin' in the car is less fun in winter, the 'hop is open seasonally, from May to October.
Appropriately, all the parking spots have prime views of the fast-food-style menu, where beefy burgers, crispy chicken strips and skinny French fries abound. A pony-tailed young woman may walk mdash; or skate — over to the car to take the order, American Graffiti-style. Through the open window wafts air pleasantly scented with fried food and diesel fumes. A cafeteria-style tray attaches there, leaving diners with both hands free for chowing down.
The effervescent, vanillin-scented soda pop comes in a real, hefty glass, and the fries are golden and fluffy. But for a meat lover, the best thing on the menu is the decadent "Papa Burger," which weighs in at 720 calories and 42 grams of fat. It's made of two juicy beef patties, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and floppy pickle chips, topped with a light pink, mayo-based condiment called "Papa Sauce." The concept may not be so original, but how does it taste? Naughty. Fatty. Heavenly. The A&W is a delicious slice of gas-guzzling Americana. Enjoy before it hits $4 a gallon.