Steak 'n Shake
8477 US Highway 64
After spending the bulk of our day at the Wolfchase Galleria, we found ourselves dazed and confused--and hungry--at 3:15pm. I tried my best to rally Warren and the monkeys (Satchel, 8, Jiro 6) for a trip to Las Tortugas, but Warren complained it was too far away and that we'd have to deal with a ton of traffic. (He's just jealous of Senor Dreamy!) So, my next suggestion was Steak 'n Shake, solely because it was close and it reminds me of my own childhood. I told the monkeys about how I used to walk to the one near the JCC when I was little and they were amazed. "You mean they had Steak 'n Shakes all the way when you were little?" Satchel said. Then after thinking for a minute, he added, "Was that before it became a chain?" I don't know why, but that cracked me up.
When we arrived, I expected it to be dead since it was the middle of the afternoon, but it was packed and we came in with a rush. A man who stopped to hold the door open on his way out remarked, "Is there a church bus in the parking lot?"
The inside is cute, but retro/diner vibe made me wish I was at In-N-Out Burger instead. Or just in California!
After just a short wait, we were shown to a booth. The kids were given hats, crayons (2) and activity sheets.
A quick scan of the table revealed why the restaurant was packed:
"Well what do you know?" I said. "Kids eat free all weekend." Looking at the fine print you can see each adult must spend $8. Warren and I looked at the menu and tried to crunch some numbers. It seemed like most meals were in the $4 and $5 range, so we weren't sure if we could spend $16 between us. There was a brief discussion about adding shakes to our orders, and some glancing around to see if the kids' meals were dinky. Eventually we just decided to let the kids order off of the regular menu. Satchel wanted sliders, Jiro wanted a regular steakburger, and Warren went with a hot dog. I toyed with ordering a salad, but they looked kind of boring so I went with a Chipotle chicken sandwich. I knew I was going to eat fries--I love their skinny fries--and mooch off of someone's milkshake, so the healthy choices were just for show at this point.
After ordering, we discussed our Pokemon adventures, and waited patiently. Jiro eventually turned to his iPod for entertainment and I worked on his activity sheet. Once the milkshakes arrived, we perked up a bit.
Jiro got a kid sized cookies and cream and Warren got a chocolate.
(Don't you love the far away look in Warren's eyes?)
Jiro complained that his milkshake was small after seeing Warren's, but he eventually got over it. (And even with help from me and Satchel, half of it still went uneaten.)
Warren's shake was way better anyway. Can't go wrong with classic chocolate. He was nice enough to share and Satchel was nice enough to stop talking about Pokemon for five seconds so that he could enjoy a sip and we could have some quiet!
Looking around the restaurant, a lot of kids had cardboard cruisers. The monkeys weren't interested, but I appreciated the kid-friendly touch. (The menu said they were available by request.)
Our food came out fairly quickly and looked fine. Not exciting, but fine. Seeing the portion sizes, I was glad we let the kids order off of the regular menu. The meals were big enough to get full without having leftovers.
Satchel's sliders look big in this picture, but he noted, "Cool, they are small like Krystal burgers."
Jiro's single steakburger was about the size of a regular hamburger at McDonald's.
Warren and I were both alarmed by the color of his relish, but he ate it without any complaints.
My chicken sandwich was fine, but a little on the dry side. (I pulled off the cheese and bacon for Satchel to add to one of his sliders.)
While I waited for Satchel to finish up, I went on a bathroom run. There was no changing table that I saw and it was a bit of a mess from the previous crowd. When I returned to the table, I got the check and went to pay. Our total was $25, which was pretty standard for the four of us at lunch. I kind of regretted not doing the kids eat free deal, but oh well.
On the way out, Satchel, who had found two quarters at the mall, let Jiro have one so he could get a piece of gum. (Satchel got himself a piece of gum at the beginning of the meal and told Jiro he could have one after if he behaved!)
We left full and happy. The service was fast and friendly. The food was decent and not too expensive. However, I don't think we'll need to make any special trips to Cordova to eat here again anytime soon. The traffic getting back to midtown was insane!