Chuck-A-Burger: Blast from the Past

Lee Foust, Staff Writer

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Chuck-A-Burger is a local burger joint that first opened in 1957 on St. Charles Rock Road. Known for its drive-up diner vibe that will take you back in time, the menu features both American classics and their own inventive options.

Originally opened in ‘57 by Ralph Stille, the restaurant at one point had 7 locations across the St. Louis area. Now owned by Ron Stille, the diner is down to only the original Rock Road establishment. It was almost forced to close in 2008, but Stille managed to secure the ownership of the land the restaurant is on, so it’s hopefully open for good now.

Chuck-A-Burger is also well known for their summer car shows, which take place on the last Saturday of the month ranging roughly between May and September. Local patrons of the restaurant (and some outside visitors) can roll up to the restaurant in their classic cars and order classic American eats, while other customers just enjoy looking at the gallery of cars.

The menu is mainly classic American diner fare. There are, most obviously, the burgers, which are made with quarter-pound patties. They have a couple of different cheese options, like Swiss and mozzarella, but the standard is a classic square of American cheese. There are free toppings – lettuce, pickle, onion, relish, and sauces – and some premium toppings – tomato, cheese, bacon, grilled onions, and jalapeños – that range from $0.15 to $1. They have specialty burgers that come with a set of toppings, but those are also customizable.

The burgers themselves aren’t the most amazing patties to ever grace the earth, but for the price they’re good. They’re served as smash patties, with cheese layered between and toppings both over and under the meat. The sauce may be served on the bottom bun, which is a little odd but doesn’t take away from anything. While most of the burgers are served on a classic bun, some of them have the option of being served on Texas toast or rye, depending on what you order. All-in-all, there’s a good variety to the menu and the prices are reasonable for what you get.

There’s far more to the menu than just burgers, though. They have a sandwich section, which includes hot pork, chicken, fish, and cheesesteak sandwiches, as well as hot dogs and grilled cheese. They also serve chili, which is a big hit with many customers. There are appetizers, which include classics like french fries and onion rings as well as some more unusual options like fried mushrooms and cheese cubes. They have salads and dinner platters as well. There’s also a kids menu with the option to have the food served in a small paper car.

The aesthetic of this restaurant is honestly the biggest selling point. The walls are lined with posters and memorabilia of old soda companies and cars, and the dining area is set up as a miniature of the classic diner setting. The drinks are all served in glasses, and the root beer even came in a chilled, oversized sundae dish, which was awesome. There’s a waitress who serves the whole dining room, and orders are processed with good-old-fashioned yelling through a small order window. The whole restaurant just feels like a cozy blast-from-the-past, even if you were born in the 21st century and never experienced a real 50s diner.

Chuck-A-Burger has been and will hopefully continue to be a staple of the Rock Road, and always gives its customers good food and a great experience. From the reasonably priced, homemade food to the great aesthetic and decor of the whole restaurant, this is a classic burger joint for a reason. I’d recommend it if you’ve got time to kill on a nice summer day, or you’re just in the area, but it’s a little far to be a regular stop for most people at PCH. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth a try at least once, and maybe more if you like it.

Rating: 8/10