If you are looking for kitsch, look no further than the Galaxy Drive-In in the one and only St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The SLP has a lot of gems but none quite as hokey as this restaurant that you can’t help but notice on Highway 7. And hokey is truly an affectionate term for us. We love ourselves a theme restaurant, and this drive-in does not disappoint in that department with its self-described intergalactic and retrofuturistic dining experience. Here’s what you are missing if you have yet to dine at this out-of-this galaxy joint.
If you haven’t caught on yet, it is outer space themed, which we thought was appropriate in light of the last ever shuttle launch that is scheduled for today. And while this place is really planted on terra firma, it is an actual drive-in. It originally opened in 1951 in the same location under a different moniker, and after all these years and a little bit of turnover, it has been remodeled and turned into a modern day old-fashioned experience.
You can pull into the car spots and actually order from and eat in your car. Complete with the little tray that sits on your window. Or you can order at the window and sit at one of the many picnic tables scattered around the grounds.
The very first time we went a few years ago, we ate in the car at about 11:00 at night after moving all day. And we were apparently so tired that we happily parked our little car in the truck and van parking. But now we know what’s up. When we went recently, we had a party of five, which we thought might be a little too tight in a compact car. So we rocked a picnic table by the s’mores pit. Yes, they have s’mores pits.
Totally awesome. And they sell a s’mores kit with all of the fixings so you can sit around the fire in the middle of the city and reminisce upon your camp days. Although it’s pretty spendy when you consider what it costs to make ‘em at home around your own fire pit (or microwave in our case), it’s still a pretty darn fun restaurant experience on a beautiful summer night.
We did not tell any ghost stories on our last visit or savor the flavor of that chocolaty, marshmallowy, graham crackery goodness, but we did enjoy some decent food. The menu is comprised of a lot of burgers, sandwiches, and hot dog/sausage offerings.
We both ordered a galaxy basket…which includes a drink and fries. Dain upgraded his to include a strawberry milkshake as an accompaniment to his “Western Wavelength” burger with bacon, bbq sauce, and shoestring onions.
Meanwhile I enjoyed the “Veggie Equinox” basket complete with a vegetarian-friendly garden burger. They also offer a grilled cheese for the few of us who are not carnivores.
We were also lucky enough to sample the root beer mini-donuts thanks to another member of our party. They did not hit you upside the head with root beer flavor really, but I have unfortunately (at least for the junk in my trunk) never met a mini-donut that I didn’t like so I was not disappointed.
And while the food is not truly out-of-this-world, it is pretty good and as-expected for a fast food-esque place. We both enjoyed our burgers, and the value is good considering you get a burger, fries and a drink for under $10. Plus, the service is attentive and prompt. They happily accommodate special requests (like having the “cosmic sauce” on the side for me and ditching the bun on the hot dog for another person). However, it’s really the atmosphere that brings in the crowds. The grounds are surrounded by funky sculptures and seating areas, like this Humpty Dumpty sculpture by local artist Kimber Fiebiger.
And they have some amusing lawn games, like a giant checkerboard.
Plus they welcome pets if you roll with a four-legged friend. They even offer treats for your dogs. There aren’t too many places with that perk.
While it is certainly not healthy fare, it is definitely an experience. It is the perfect place to take kids, but it is even kind of cool for adults who need a kitschy pick-me-up. Or a throwback. So if you ever find yourself driving down Highway 7 and are in the mood for a burger and a shake, check it out. Or see if there’s a drive-in near you because eating in your car with the little tray on your door and a server is a lot cooler than scarfing a big mac that you served yourself while your car is moving.
(P.S. We are officially christening “Foodie Friday” on our blog. We are not truly “foodies,” but we do like to eat. So we have decided to dedicate posts on Fridays to food and/or drink whether it be a restaurant review like the ones we’ve done for Mill Valley Kitchen , Harbor View Cafe, Technique at Le Cordon Bleu, and the New Scenic Cafe or a recipe made at home like our mojitos or summer bean dip.)