It’s just about impossible to tell since they have almost no online presence to speak of, but B-K Root Beer, also known as B&K Rootbeer, has been a large Midwestern chain for several decades, having apparently risen in the 1950s and 1960s with car culture as a drive-in diner. At its height, Wikipedia tells me, the Indiana-centered chain had close to 240 locations. Now? I have no idea. All I know is that there are a few surviving stands in some of the small towns around Ohio, mostly centered in rural areas and with only a few having a presence on Facebook, devoid of any higher branding effort.
But the concept is really, really fun.
The B-K stand specializes in red-blooded American fast food. Burgers, hot dogs, fried stuff, and of course, root beer. The hot dogs come in a variety of types, there’s a chili dog, a plain dog, a few other kinds. There are also polish sausages to try if you’re inclined.
- Cheeseburger: A quarter-pound patty topped with American cheese and then whatever else you like for a few extra cents. A comforting experience of a bygone era.
- Slaw dog: I tried the “slaw dog,” a simple iteration, a dog topped with a vinegary cole slaw concoction. Which was great.
- Chili dog: A simple grilled dog with a meaty chili and a very friendly spice to it.
- Burger: The burger is a good fast foot iteration, it’s three bucks and topped with anything you like. Of course, the sides are mostly fried, some of it is classic american burger stop while other things seem a little more like fair food.
Then of course, is the root beer. What is there to say about the stuff? It’s great. Earthy and sweet. Served in a chilled mug. It’s made in-house and you can take a gallon of it home if you’re so inclined. Nothing like home made root beer.
I love these little drive ins where you park and a waitress brings you the food on a tray that attaches to your window. It’s a cool concept, really, and it seems to be popular in the smaller towns where it survives. People crowd into the place, I presume in part because of the convenience. In all though, it’s the kind of concept you want to try at least once, one way or another.
- There is a daily special each day where something on the menu is sold for cheap. It’s all pretty inexpensive, though, so that’s fine.
- The restaurant is one of those classic drive in places where you park and the waitress brings the food and menus right to your car. Though there is also someplace inside to eat.
- I suggest the hot dogs. The fried stuff is decent too if you’re into that kind of thing.