Dining Out: K&M Drive-In Casual, Satisfying
Old Fashioned Maid replaced by tasty burgers, fries, milkshakes
By Karen Livingston for The Columbia – Friday, April 12, 2013
Why: After many years of service, the Old Fashioned Maid closed its doors. The building was renovated and updated and sat for quite some time before it caught the eye of Kevin and Melinda Bruzzone. Many speculated it would be another coffee café, but the Bruzzones envisioned something else — K&M Drive-In, which is somewhere between a fast-food and a fast-casual restaurant, specializing in hamburgers, shakes, and fresh-cut made-to-order french fries.
Atmosphere: Painted yellow walls and brown tile, extending from the floor to just below the large windows, wrap around the dining part of the restaurant. Seating consists of pale aqua tables and chairs, reminiscent of a fast-food environment. Beverages are help-yourself style across from the small ordering counter. Orders are delivered to your table. Overall, the space has improved from its former persona, to a more modern expression, without forsaking its old-time vibe.
What I tried: I decided on the chili cheeseburger and my dining companion had the K&M burger. We paired our burgers with tater tots and french fries and we sampled the onion rings as well. We also enjoyed a chocolate milkshake for dessert.
The highlights of my meal were the fries and the milkshake. Bruzzone uses Kennebec potatoes, which, he says, are low in moisture and make better fries. I found the fries appetizing and less greasy than most hand-cut fries. The milkshake was chocolaty without being too rich and the consistency was perfectly suited to enjoy it with a straw.
The chili cheeseburger came with my choice of pepper jack, American, or cheddar cheese. I chose cheddar, though it was nearly undetectable in the flavor. The burger was served in a to-go box with a plastic fork and knife. When I opened the box the burger had the appearance of a bun floating on top of chili so I was glad for the utensils. The meat patties used on burgers are quarter-pound, fresh ground beef and the chili is housemade. I could taste the chargrilled quality on the patty and the chili was mild and meaty tasting. The chili wasn’t as soupy as it initially appeared in the box, which I was thankful for because the bun didn’t get soggy.
The K&M burger is topped with K&M sauce, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and onion. My dining companion liked the chargrilled, picnic character of the burger. The house sauce, which I also tried on the fries, was sweet and slightly tangy — not super extraordinary in flavor, but appealing.
The tater tots were standard and the onion rings had a crispy texture that didn’t retain too much oil — in my opinion, at the upper end of pre-made options.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The charbroiled chicken club sandwich, topped with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, bacon and cheese sounded delicious and the chili-cheese fries, from the side options, would be a good choice for those not interested in a burger.
Other observations: There are a few umbrella-covered picnic tables outside for dining, weather permitting.
K&M has a drive-thru window for stop-and-go service.
The service was friendly and food arrived quickly. Bruzzone was present during my visit, welcoming and tending to diners.
This summer, K&M will be incorporating “Milkshake Mania” into their offerings, which will consist of an expanded milkshake menu.
Cost: Burgers cost $4.39 to $6.79. Hot dogs are $3.79 for a Chicago dog and $4.59 for a chili dog. Chicken sandwiches are $4.99 and $5.99. Sides are all less than $4. Shakes cost $4.49. Kids (10 years old and younger) have a choice of a hamburger slider or kid’s dog, served with fries and a drink for $3.99.
Karen Livingston Is A Contributer/Writer for The Columbian Publishing Company which serves the Portland, OR / Vancouver, WA area.