If you’re looking for a delicious and affordable burger served up with a side of diner-style nostalgia, look no further than the curbside service of Dude’s Drive-In.
Only a 15-minute drive from the Virginia Tech campus, Dude’s is nestled in a small nook of Christiansburg. A glowing neon sign and bright yellow menu beckon customers to try some of the local favorites.
Opened by P.L. “Dude” Griffith in 1978, the burger joint serves everything you’d expect — cheeseburgers, hot dogs, milkshakes and more, with nothing on the menu more than $10.
In addition to the standard diner favorites, Dude’s also offers breakfast trays and sandwiches, available for order during any of the drive-in’s hours, which are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
After finding nothing but positive reviews on Yelp, I was excited yet skeptical to eat at Dude’s. Would it really be worth the drive?
The simple answer — yes.
After one bite of the made-to-order “Dude Burger,” every previous trip to Five Guys Burgers and Fries seemed like a waste. Plus, the burger only put me out $3.35, and I got to enjoy it all from the comfort of my car.
The perfectly cooked quarter-pound of ground beef served up on a soft, not soggy bun was quiet arguably the best burger I’ve ever tasted.
In addition to the burger, a friend and I shared french fries, a hot dog, tater tots and a large drink, which still ended up costing us less than $15 before tip.
While the tater tots and crinkle-cut french fries were nothing special, the Maine-style red hot dog topped with chili and cheese was well worth the $2.85.
Although a drive-thru option is available (and seemed to be a bit quicker), we decided to sit out front where we could watch our food being cooked.
The Dude’s style seems to include a focus on cooking things right, not fast, but the overall wait was only about 10 minutes.
Ruby Stump, our friendly waitress, said she had worked at Dude’s for 16 years.
“The employees, the managers, a lot of people have been here over 30 years,” Stump said. “It’s a great place to work.”
When asked for her personal favorite on the Dude’s menu, Stump responded, “A hotdog with chili and cheese, and a chocolate shake. But everything is really good.”
Kevin Fetty, a senior mechanical engineering major, likes the drive-in for its old-timey atmosphere.
“It takes you back to a simpler time,” Fetty said. “It wasn’t busy, just quiet and relaxed. For the price, I’d definitely recommend a visit out to Dude’s.”
While a trip out to Christiansburg may not always fit in the hectic schedule of a college student, a Dude’s burger should definitely be on your list of things to try before you graduate.