Pull up, study the menu written on the wall of the small restaurant (no seating inside), and toot your horn. A car hop will be at the driver’s side window ready to take your order.
The menu is a long one, including sandwiches of fish, barbecue, and chicken, dinners of fried shrimp and oysters, half-pound hamburger steaks, and fried chicken fingers. There is a long and intriguing list of hot dogs that range from plain ones with cheese and/or slaw to chili-slaw foot-longs, corn dogs, and hot-dogless hot dogs that consist of nothing but chili topping in a bun.
King of the menu is the Dude Burger. A nice-sized patty formed by hand from quality meat that is fatty enough to be luscious, the Dude burger is a royal configuration of meat, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a soft bun. American Cheese is optional. One Dude and an order of French fries, with a Dr. Pepper on the side, makes an outstanding drive-in meal. Meat-hungry eaters can get a double Dude, and those of meager appetite can get an ordinary hamburger (without all the garnishes on top) made from the same high-quality beef.
Car hop service is available for breakfast, too, but much of Dude’s morning business is in the drive-through lane, which is unlike most fast-food windows in that you actually deal with a human being rather than a microphone. If you are in a hurry traveling along I-81, Dude’s is an especially good place to know about for breakfast as an alternative to McSameness. Just minutes from the interstate, it is an opportunity to grab breakfast on the go without ever having to shut off your engine or leave the car. The breakfast menu is basically egg sandwiches and sausage sandwiches; the sleeper here is country ham – the real stuff, good and salty.