How ’bout a Miner’s Burger?
For years I had heard my wife tell stories of one of her teenage haunts, Miner’s Drive Inn in Yakima, Washington.
The stories told of incredibly large, juicy, tasty hamburgers, massive portions of crispy french fries, and luscious, rich shakes.
These are my kind of stories!
So, what better way to work off Thanksgiving dinner than to confirm the veracity of these stories the next day after getting stuffed on turkey?
According to their website, and a comprehensive display inside the restaurant, Miner’s begn in April 1948 when Ed Miner bought the old Pete Agor home and built the Miner’s Drive In. Today, Miner’s has a staff of 70 and a third- family generation is continuing the family tradition.
Miner’s is, simply put, the largest quick-service operation I’ve ever seen, and I grew up in southern California, birthplace of the famous In-N-Out Burger chain. Even before I ordered the rumored-to-be-huge burger, I noticed a number of massive things at Miner’s:
— Two long drive-up lanes with multiple menu boards so several cars could order simultaneously.
— An expansive kitchen with an assembly line not unlike In-N-Out, only larger.
— Two dining rooms which must’ve been a total of 5 or 6 thousand square feet.
Onto the food. While you can order everything from a double chili cheese dog, to a BBQ beef sandwich, there really is only one thing to order on a first visit to eastern Washington’s fabled burger joint.
The Big Miner Burger measures nearly 7 inches in diameter, both bun and patty. By default, it comes loaded with a large fresh tomato slice, shredded lettuce, sliced white onions (grilled on request), pickles, mayo, and hamburger relish. You order at one of several cashier stations, then receive a table number on a tall metal stand, so the servers can find your table amidst the sea of tables in one of the two auditorium-size dining rooms.
The order took long enough to arrive so you know they’re cooking your food to order, but not so long so the food arrives less than hot. I’d say the order-to-eat wait time is about the same as In-N-Out, around 12 minutes.
The burger is quite good, but the patty, while extraordinarily wide, isn’t as thick as I had expected. The overall taste makes up for the patty-size shortcomings, however. The fresh condiments really work with the super-size bun to make a complete meal that (nearly) fits into one’s mouth.
Update: On a subsequent visit, I ordered a “Taco Burger” but was disappointed when it arrived as a patty-based burger with salsa and sour cream, and not a “bun taco” with taco meat like Del Taco used to make. Oh well.
The fries are crisp and bountiful, you’ll only need one order for a group of three. And the chocolate shake was the perfect accompaniment to the meal: rich, thick, and appropriately tough to suck through the straw.
Now I’ve got my own tales to spin about the gargantuan burgers and tasty fries at the place called “Miner’s” east of the Cascade Mountains.