Woody's Drive-In is a slice of summer.
It's a real drive-in, with an unassuming exterior and just enough parking bays to keep the staff hopping when all six of them are occupied. It's got real food, the kind we Utahns like thick shakes that were "handspun" before that became a trendy fast-food term; big, juicy, seared burgers with irregular edges and lots of toppings; and loads of fried things to go with it potatoes, onions, fat planks of zucchini.
You can eat in the small dining area, decorated with 1950s and Cottonwood High memorabilia, but even with a carful of kids, we had fun sticking with the drive-in. Besides, my car is air-conditioned; based on the heat level inside on the recent weekday that we visited for lunch, I don't think Woody's is.
But hey, that's no big deal. Just have a giant lime rickey and you'll be plenty cool, wherever you are. That's what I did, and Woody's version of this Utah favorite was brisk and refreshing, with lots of lime. We had six kids in the car when we visited Woody's, but the capacious menu accommodated all of them: chicken sandwiches on delicious, floury buns; chicken nuggets and fries tucked into one basket; a bacon burger that was large enough for two of the kids to share.
Of course, they all had floats. You can get lots of floats at Woody's. The kids in our car opted for Coke, Dr. Pepper and classic root beer. I always like a root beer float, but the Coke floats were particularly bubbly and delicious.
I ordered for my husband, and as is my wont sometimes, I didn't pay enough attention when I asked for a Super Woody burger with bacon. I thought he'd be getting a double cheeseburger with bacon, which it was. What I neglected to notice is that each of the patties of that burger was three-quarters of a pound, making the finished sandwich the size of a plate.
Even for my burger-loving husband, that's a mammoth cheeseburger, albeit a delicious one, with loads of crispy, chewy bacon and plenty of fresh toppings. Luckily, it was cut in half, so he ate one half and saved the rest for later. Next time, I might order it for my kids and cut it in fourths. At 10 bucks for the burger, it would be a cheap and filling dinner for all of them.
I had the patty melt, an absolutely perfect rendition of the classic with meat, layers of tender onions, fry sauce and cheese on beautifully grilled marble-rye bread. It's been too long since I've had a really superb patty melt, and now I've found one close to home.
A quick note about the sides: They're good. The fries were the skin-on, plank kind, perfect for scooping up loads of Woody's fry sauce. (I recommend purchasing a few extra cups of it.) The fried zucchini was crisply breaded and well-balanced between firm and juicy, and the onion rings were nigh on perfect: tender inside and covered with a thin layer of super-crisp breading.
For dessert, the kids finished their floats while my husband slurped down a strongly flavored mint Oreo shake, and I tried the almond and hot fudge malt. It melted quickly, thanks to the lashings of hot fudge that went into it, but it was heaven while it lasted.Burgers, sandwiches and wraps $1.19-$9.99, combos $1.99-$2.99 extra; chicken and fish $1.49-$6.99; hot dogs $1.19-$2.79; sides $1.39-$3.99; kids' meals $2.79-$3.29; desserts 89 cents-$3.29 (extra toppings 35-50 cents).
Where: 6172 S. 1300 East
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed Sunday
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: email@example.com