The Penguin Drive-In, Charlotte NC

The second time I found myself following Guy was to the Penguin.

My son (AKA: Boy) was flipping through the channels one evening and landed on Guy stuffing what looked like an AWESOME burger into his mouth. Boy and I both leaned forward and said in unison, "Where is that?" With that the visit came to an end. Dang it, we missed it!

A few hours later Boy pops his head into our bedroom and says excitedly "It's in Charlotte!" What's in Charlotte? "That burger place!" Boy was up late and happened to catch the rerun of the show that comes about 3 hours after the first-run, and he learned that the place was The Penguin Drive In and that it was about 4 miles from his best friends house. His best friend that he would be visiting the very next weekend!

Boy called me on Saturday evening to report that the first thing that they learned was that you though they were only a few mile away the way the crow flies, they were unable to take the crow's route and that it was several miles further than they originally thought. Once they got to the restaurant the first thing they found was that there was no empty parking space for blocks, and that there was a line going outside the door! Apparently Boy and his friend Josh are smart enough to know that their bride and fiance were not as dedicated to as they, so pizza it was.

The next morning they went to church and found themselves driving by the Penguin 1/2 an hour before opening time and saw that there were already a few people standing at the door. The great news was that there were many parking spaces left and by the time they go into line they were just a few people from the door.

Boy and Josh got the "Full Blown Hemi", which is the burger that we saw Guy wrestling, and they both said it was heavenly. The ladies had fun eating the fried pickle chips and the home-made corn dogs.

That was all I needed to know, and within a few weeks I found an excuse to get to Charlotte myself and found myself face-to-face (bun?) with the Full Blown Hemi. The photo at right is a "smaller" burger called the Big Block! The Full Blown Hemi has three patties and this sucker is a full pound of beef, chili, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, slaw, and a pickle! The good thing about this burger is the meat patty, which despite NC's stupid ban on cooked-less-than-medium burgers, was juicy enough to require a half dozen napkins to be deployed. Along side my burger I added an order of sweet potato fries, and my lunch partner ordered the pickle chips. I'm not a pickle guy, but the few I tasted were better than any I've tried. By fries, however, were great. Sweet, crispy outside and tender inside with just the right amount of salt.

I've since been back several times with various friends and coworkers, and have finally settled in on a smaller burger with home-made pimento cheese. Yeah, I know it sounds yucky, but trust me, it's 1000 times better than you think.

Penguin Drive-In
1921 Commonwealth Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
(980) 939-0655

I don't know what happened to their website, but you can see a snapshot of it on the Wayback Machine.

Visit the Penguin's Facebook page were the above photo was snagged.

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