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Charcoal Pit

2600 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE - (302) 478-2165
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/1/2007 1:11:00 PM
We were tipped off to the Charcoal Pit by a roadfooder named Amy, originally from Delaware, who accused us of missing what she called "the most Roadfood-esque place in the state": the Charcoal Pit. Amy told us that she took friends from all over the country to the Pit and they loved it ... and we would too! After Amy's note, we got another strong suggestion from Steven Green that we needed to try this place. Steven said, "Everything has all the cholesterol (and taste) from the old days"; he especially recommended the burgers, French fries, and malts.

Sure enough, the hamburger exudes mid-century Americana: a modest patty with a charcoal taste served on a big, spongy bun either plain or in the deluxe configuration, which adds lettuce, tomato and pickle. For those who crave extra meat, there is also a double-size eight-ounce hamburger, but in our opinion, that’s too late-20th-century, not really 1950s in spirit. The fries on the side are savory, normal-size twigs with a nice tough skin and soft potato flavor. And the milk shakes come in their big silver beakers that hold at least two glasses full. (The shakes are so thick that a long-handled spoon is provided to help you get it from the beaker into your glass.) We even enjoyed the crabcakes, which were a couple of hardball-shaped spheres with crusty outsides and a fair measure of crab filling the interior.

It’s an old-fashioned kind of place with comfy maroon booths and vintage menus decorating the wall. Waitresses go about their job with aplomb and attitude that make customers feel part of a cheap-eats ritual that has gone on forever.

There are other Charcoal Pits at 5200 Pike Creek, in the Fox Run Shopping Center, and in Prices Corner at Kirkwood Highway and Greenbank Road.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A small hot fudge sundae, in a glass tulip dish, follows a burger nicely.
"A small hot fudge sundae, in a glass tulip dish, follows a burger nicely."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle





The dieter's special (not): cake topped with ice cream topped with gobs and gobs of hot fudge topped with whipped cream and, all but obsured by the foamy rich white crown, a sugary red maraschino cherry.
"The dieter's special (not): cake topped with ice cream topped with gobs and gobs of hot fudge topped with whipped cream and, all but obsured by the foamy rich white crown, a sugary red maraschino cherry."
Michael Stern


This is the way we like to see a milk shake presented: in a tall silver beaker that holds at least two servings. In the glass are a straw (useless) and a spoon for scooping the extra-thick shake from its icy vessel.
"This is the way we like to see a milk shake presented: in a tall silver beaker that holds at least two servings. In the glass are a straw (useless) and a spoon for scooping the extra-thick shake from its icy vessel."
Michael Stern


A bacon cheeseburger becomes a sandwich tower when all the garnishes are applied.
"A bacon cheeseburger becomes a sandwich tower when all the garnishes are applied."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


A classic Deluxe Cheeseburger. This is the standard four-ouncer. A double-size half-pound hamburger is also available. The fries, by the way, are excellent.
"A classic Deluxe Cheeseburger. This is the standard four-ouncer. A double-size half-pound hamburger is also available. The fries, by the way, are excellent."
Michael Stern


Most customers come to the Charcoal Pit for cheeseburgers and sandwiches. But the crabcakes are not to be dismissed.
"Most customers come to the Charcoal Pit for cheeseburgers and sandwiches. But the crabcakes are not to be dismissed."
Michael Stern


The shakes are classics, accompanied by their icy cold steel mixing vessels.
"The shakes are classics, accompanied by their icy cold steel mixing vessels."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Onion rings are of the large hoop variety.
"Onion rings are of the large hoop variety."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The dogs are OK (shown here with a little cup of hot sauce) but we prefer the burgers.
"The dogs are OK (shown here with a little cup of hot sauce) but we prefer the burgers."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Very clean restaurant & the burger / dog combo was delicious!
"Very clean restaurant & the burger / dog combo was delicious!"
bill eaton


There is a menu dedicated to sundaes named for the local high school teams.  Click on the photo for a better view.
"There is a menu dedicated to sundaes named for the local high school teams. Click on the photo for a better view."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Booths are equipped with jukeboxes, so you can enjoy some Tammy Wynette with your burgers and shakes.
"Booths are equipped with jukeboxes, so you can enjoy some Tammy Wynette with your burgers and shakes."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


This sign hanging in the window announces the soups du jour.
"This sign hanging in the window announces the soups du jour."
Michael Stern


Charcoal Pit's sign has the snazzy, exotic, ultra-modern angles typical of 50's pop architecture.
"Charcoal Pit's sign has the snazzy, exotic, ultra-modern angles typical of 50's pop architecture."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Mid-century America by the side of the road. Not seen to the left of the picture is the large and busy take-out window.
"Mid-century America by the side of the road. Not seen to the left of the picture is the large and busy take-out window."
Michael Stern


Take-out is available from the part of the building that looks like it houses a carousel.
"Take-out is available from the part of the building that looks like it houses a carousel."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The Charcoal Pit on Concord Pike seems to be everybody's favorite. It is one of four C.P.s in the Wilmington area.
"The Charcoal Pit on Concord Pike seems to be everybody's favorite. It is one of four C.P.s in the Wilmington area."
Michael Stern


Ice Cream Creations - for sure!  Steaks?  This isn't the place.
"Ice Cream Creations - for sure! Steaks? This isn't the place."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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