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Wright's Dairy Rite

346 Greenville Ave., Staunton, VA - (540) 886-0435
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/25/2009 7:20:00 AM
Three years before Ray Kroc began franchising McDonald’s, Wright’s Dairy Rite of Staunton, Virginia, started serving Superburgers. Two beef patties with cheese and lettuce, topped with special sauce and layered in a triple-decker bun, this monumental hamburger is still served as it was in 1952 – by car hops at the window of your vehicle in a car slip at the side of the restaurant. Wright’s added a dining room in 1989, so it is possible to eat inside, where décor includes a handsome Wurlitzer juke box (with compact discs rather than 45s) and vintage Wright’s menus from the 1950s and 1960s.

If really hungry and in search of juiciness, we forgo the Superburger for a Monsterburger. That is one-half pound of beef barely sandwiched in a bun, available in a basket, with French fries or, better yet, with Wright’s homemade onion rings. To drink with this festive heap of food, one needs a shake. At Wright’s, milk shakes are the real thing, available in chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla, as well as with real bananas or strawberries (mmmm!), and with or without malted milk for additional richness. While on the subject of dairy products, we should also note that this place knows how to make a fine banana split, a float (a big blob of ice cream set adrift in the soda pop of your choice), and a flurry (candy and/or cookies blended into soft-serve ice cream).

Wright’s serves three meals a day, and the menu goes well beyond burgers. There are regular and foot-long hot dogs, pork barbecue on a bun, sandwich baskets with potato chips and a pickle, whole submarines, hearty chili with beans, and even some recently added low-fat wraps. In addition to milk shakes and soda pop, the beverage list includes that drink known to connoisseurs of Dixie mixology as the champagne of the South – pre-sweetened ice tea, served in cups that range up to one-quart size.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Milk Shake
Superburger
Monsterburger
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The Super Burger is Wright's headliner. It's a handsome construct, but I prefer the thicker hamburgers on the menu for their juiciness.
"The Super Burger is Wright's headliner. It's a handsome construct, but I prefer the thicker hamburgers on the menu for their juiciness."
Michael Stern





A couple of Wright's classic shakes.  That's banana on the left, pineapple on the right.
"A couple of Wright's classic shakes. That's banana on the left, pineapple on the right."
Cliff Strutz


They say on the menu that the onion rings are made daily and they tasted that way.
"They say on the menu that the onion rings are made daily and they tasted that way."
Cliff Strutz


The Carolina Burger is an extra-large, hand-formed patty served with slaw, chili and onions. Being so big -- and cooked to order -- it is relatively slow fast food.
"The Carolina Burger is an extra-large, hand-formed patty served with slaw, chili and onions. Being so big -- and cooked to order -- it is relatively slow fast food."
Michael Stern


The meat on the pork BBQ is moist and tender and comes lightly sauced, with the slaw on top.
"The meat on the pork BBQ is moist and tender and comes lightly sauced, with the slaw on top."
Cliff Strutz


The dining room features some old menus with shockingly low prices.
"The dining room features some old menus with shockingly low prices."
Cliff Strutz


If you choose to dine indoors, you place your order by picking up the telephone at your booth and calling it in to the kitchen. Soon thereafter, a waitress arrives with your drinks.
"If you choose to dine indoors, you place your order by picking up the telephone at your booth and calling it in to the kitchen. Soon thereafter, a waitress arrives with your drinks."
Michael Stern


Wright's has indoor seats, but many customers choose the more traditional place for drive-in dining -- their car.
"Wright's has indoor seats, but many customers choose the more traditional place for drive-in dining -- their car."
Michael Stern


For over a half-century, Wright's has been the place to go in Staunton for a burger, a milk shake, and the sort of car-to-car sociability that thrives at night in drive-in restaurants.
"For over a half-century, Wright's has been the place to go in Staunton for a burger, a milk shake, and the sort of car-to-car sociability that thrives at night in drive-in restaurants."
Michael Stern


Staunton has grown and changed tremendously since 1952 -- as has America -- but this place has remained true to the spirit of the car culture from which it sprung.
"Staunton has grown and changed tremendously since 1952 -- as has America -- but this place has remained true to the spirit of the car culture from which it sprung."
Michael Stern



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