chuck-a-burger drive-in restaurant has been open since 1957. photo by david kovaluk

The last Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In sticks to the classics in St. John

In the ’60s, there were eight Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In Restaurants. Now, just north of Overland, the only remaining location at 9025 St. Charles Rock Road is one of a kind.

“We have a niche,” said owner Ron Stille. “We’re the only drive-in, curb-service restaurant. It’s not a gimmick – it’s real curb service.” It’s so old-school that if you go at the right time you can still catch an array of vintage cars in the parking lot.

When this last-standing Chuck-A-Burger opened in 1957, Stille’s father was the manager. He sold the business to his son in 1995. But Stille doesn’t rely on history. “You only have one chance to impress someone,” he said. “There’s Facebook now – you screw something up, and everybody and their brother knows about it.”

What people seem to know is that Chuck-A-Burger is worth the visit. “Basically, it’s burgers and fries,” Stille said. “Burgers, fries, onion rings, cherry Coke. We make our own cherry Coke.”

Stille reps the staples hard because he knows how good they are, but it’s not just burgers that bring people in. Chuck-A-Burger still uses its original chili recipe from 1957, which has won numerous cook-offs. And when its 40-seat dining room fills up with people who don’t want a burger, the restaurant knows how to keep them happy.

“We do tamales, we do chicken strips. Gotta have chicken strips,” Stille said.

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.