Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eat-a-Burger or Two

The late 90s marked the fall of Utah’s retro diners. Within two years, statewide chains Eat-a-Burger and Galaxy Diner switched off their grills and unplugged their jukeboxes. Only national chains like Winger’s and Red Robin survived, growing since thanks to the booming population and less competitive 50s diner market.

Nostalgic for my childhood haunt, I went to Hollday to the last remaining Eat-a-Burger, which still serves it up like the glory days. With its 50s tin can style, Eat-a-Burger would look like any old diner if it weren’t for the massive turquoise and hot pink custom sign jutting from the roof. The drive-through ushers through an endless flotilla of hungry burger buyers and inside thrives an endless army of diners and their kids. Walking in I felt like I had wandered into an elementary school field trip.

The attraction of kids to Eat-a-Burger shouldn’t be a surprise to me who, back in the day, was floored that the contents of my meals were served cardboard classic cars. Mr. Burger drove and Ms. Fries rode shotgun! Ecstatic, I even took my retro car containers home to play with later. While the cardboard cars were discontinued years ago, the $1.69 price of a kids meal might still floor parents.


The flagship sandwich, the Eat-a-Burger, comes wrapped in butcher paper and towers at about six inches tall. Run through the garden, the lettuce and onions are piled high. Pickles and the local specialty fry sauce also dress up the nothin’ special beef patty.

At the sight of the menu board’s boast “UT’s best fries” I was skeptical. But they came so freshly cut that I could taste the starch. The skins are left on and they come with a cup of fry sauce as thick as concrete. If you bring some friends and order a “bucket” size for only $2.49, you can stuff yourselves silly and still laugh all the way to the bank next door. Suffice it to say, the sign don’t lie.

Besides the usual battery of chicken fingers and bacon cheeseburgers, Eat-a-Burger offers pastrami, mushroom, and seasonal burgers like the teriyaki bacon and swiss, the bacon ranch and cheddar cheese, and a raspberry halibut sandwich. Chicken sandwiches include the “Phoenix” with jalepenos, salsa and swiss, the “Avocado & Bacon Chicken,” and the “Teriyaki” that’s topped with cucumbers and sprouts. A fair variety of malts and shakes completes a meal, like Oreo, Butterfinger, raspberry and peanut butter.

The real dessert, though, comes when your cashier brings out your meal to you on a tray complete with complimentary
Andes mints.

Summary: the fries make it
Rating: classic
Details: 4735 Highland Dr, Holladay, Utah. (801) 272-5249.
Note: Eat-a-Burger closed April 2010. Read the follow-up article here.


  1. Very sad this close, I loved this place
    They opened Rumerz but the burgers and fries were not the same ;(

    1. Yeah, it was certainly one of my favorites as a kid. But like they say, you just can't go back!

  2. I worked at this EAB when I was in high school, great food, wish it was still there!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That's cool! Yeah, I had some great memories with my mom as a kid going to the one in Bountiful.