- Food and Cooking
The Only Review That Matters- Swensons Drive In
Oh Galley Boy (Singing Voice)
As I travel the country, I find that every city has its signature restaurant. For Salt Lake City its Crown Burgers and for Memphis its the Rendezvous. While visiting friends in northeast Ohio, I found out that Swensons is definitely Akrons.
I'm sitting at my buddy's house in Cuyahoga Falls with three of my best friends. To try to relive the old days of our college years, we decided to go back to some of our favorite hangout joints. We decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants to go to in school, Swensons.
Swensons has been in Akron area since 1934. They provided a drive in restaurant experience that was at its highest popularity in the 50's. Swensons has since been a northeast Ohio staple. Having seven franchise locations in the area and serving up some of the best burgers, fries, and shakes you're likely to find.
Upon arriving, we keep the car lights on and a curb server sprints to our car and takes our order. When I go to Swensons, I always get a Galley Boy, fries, and a vanilla milkshake. Named after the restaurant's galley style kitchen, the Galley Boy is a double cheeseburger with two special sauces between buttery toasted buns topped off with a green olive. The first sauce is a smoky barbecue sauce and the other is sweet tarter sauce. My friends also got Galley Boys with their choice of fries or onion rings and flavor of shake. Once we complete our order, the server asks us to turn off the car lights and says the food will be out in about eight minutes. And now, my review.
What I Liked
The food tastes just like I remember it did. The Galley Boy tasted amazing. The burgers were juicy and tender and melted in my mouth. The barbecue sauce was nice and smoky but also had the perfect combination of spice and sweetness. It also has a little bit of relish in it to give the burger a nice crunch. The tarter sauce was just as creamy and sweet as I remember. I could tell it also had a little bit lemon in it which gives the burger even more flavor to break up the richness on the mayonnaise. The bun is soft and buttery but is still stable enough to handle the depth of the burger and sauces. The Galley Boy is garnished by a green olive and makes the perfect complement to the sweet and smoky burger.
The fries were perfectly hot and salty. The outside of the fries were crispy but still had the nice fluffy inside you'd expect with your fries. With a nice side of ketchup or ranch, the fries are the perfect side dish. My vanilla milkshake was nice and thick. They give you a skinny straw which allows you to appreciate the flavor and makes the shake last longer.
What I Didn't
When you're in business for 80 years, you're going to have loyal customers. And when you're very popular, you're going to be busy during meal time hours. That was the one mistake my friends and I made when we went.
We went at 12 pm on a Saturday in June. The place was packed. Are server told us it would be eight minutes to get the food out, it took almost 25. When you have a restaurant with a lot of parking spaces and only a few curb runners, its going to take a while. But you know what, I didn't care. I was just happy to be at the spot I haven't been to in years, enjoying a burger with my best friends, and reminiscing about some of the best times of our lives.
After visiting some of the most high profile and most notable restaurants in the country, I can easily say that Swensons is still one of my favorite places to have a meal. The Galley Boy tastes as good as it did almost five years ago. Even with the long wait for the food to arrive, it still cane out hot and fresh. It surprised me in the end how much I really missed it all. Its times like that they you really appreciate the little things in your past. If left to my own devices and possessing infinite amounts of money, I would make it a once a week meal. Its foods like the Galley Boy that really bring back the memories you shared with others. Swensons is just another reason for me to want to comeback to Akron whenever I can and enjoy the good times with your best friends.
I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Akron or on your way to Cleveland. It is definitely worth all the praise it gets. If you do go, be sure to go between the lunch and dinner rush to be sure you won't be sitting in your car too long.