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Red Rooster Drive In

1566 Route 22, Brewster, NY - (845) 279-8046
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/20/2009 7:33:00 PM
Lovely cheeseburgers, heaped with fried onions and sided by a genuine New York egg cream: drive-in life doesn’t get much better than this blast-from-the-past eatery just north of I-684 in New York's Putnam County.

Although a roadside archeologist would definitely categorize Brewster's Red Rooster as a drive-in, there is no car service and there are no car hops. Still, there is a spacious parking lot and plenty of people eat in their cars (or in one of three improbably small two-person booths opposite the order counter inside. Happy service, ingenuous cuisine, and car-culture ambience are pure mid-century America.

The hamburgers are not too big, not odd in any way, just fine handfuls fashioned by grill chefs from never-frozen beef and sizzled on a smoky charcoal grill in such a way that despite their thinness, a little pink remains inside. Burgers come plain or deluxe (the latter with lettuce and tomato), and side dishes include fat-bodied battered onion rings and crisp French fries. To drink, there are milk shakes and floats made from the Rooster's soft-serve ice cream as well as well as egg creams that are well made but served in paper cups that obscure the cloudy chocolate patterns offered by a classic egg cream glass.

We are particularly fond of the cheeseburgers gilded by an extra-cost order of onions that are grilled until limp and slippery and radiant with sweet onion perfume. The menu also lists all-beef hot dogs and fried chicken.

In nice weather, customers can choose to eat at one of several picnic tables spread across the lawn in back. Adjacent to the open-air dining room is a modest miniature golf course where kids and carefree adults wile away pleasant evenings in the Red Rooster’s afterglow.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Cheeseburger Deluxe
Onion Rings
Egg Cream
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Neither a swanky burger or an outlaw slider, Red Rooster's cheeseburger deluxe has a nice charcoal aura and fresh-meat flavor. Grilled onions are a fine crowning touch.
"Neither a swanky burger or an outlaw slider, Red Rooster's cheeseburger deluxe has a nice charcoal aura and fresh-meat flavor. Grilled onions are a fine crowning touch."
Michael Stern





Each onion ring is a significant piece of food. Add a little salt and they are a hamburger's best friend.
"Each onion ring is a significant piece of food. Add a little salt and they are a hamburger's best friend."
Michael Stern


By row, starting in the upper left corner:

Chocolate egg cream, chocolate shake, ice tea, vanilla egg cream; cheeseburger deluxe, clam roll, bacon cheeseburger deluxe, chili-cheese dog, double cheeseburger deluxe with onions and mushrooms (
"By row, starting in the upper left corner: Chocolate egg cream, chocolate shake, ice tea, vanilla egg cream; cheeseburger deluxe, clam roll, bacon cheeseburger deluxe, chili-cheese dog, double cheeseburger deluxe with onions and mushrooms ("the biggest, nastiest burger [they] have"); family size fries with cheese, chili and onions, and a bacon cheese dog."
Nat Hansen


The personality of founder Jack Sypek infuses the Red Rooster from the top down, as seen in his portrait that looms above the order counter.
"The personality of founder Jack Sypek infuses the Red Rooster from the top down, as seen in his portrait that looms above the order counter."
Michael Stern


The Red Rooster is a virtual time machine back to the heyday of car culture and a pre-Golden-Arches era when roadside hamburger joints had real personality.
"The Red Rooster is a virtual time machine back to the heyday of car culture and a pre-Golden-Arches era when roadside hamburger joints had real personality."
Michael Stern



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