Food & Drink » Food Review

Eastside Westside Drive-In

A nice neighborhood haunt, but not worth the commute


The Westside Drive-In's second location is forging new territory in inaccurate names. For starters, it's on Parkcenter Boulevard, deep in the heart of East Boise. And while it has a drive-thru, the design of the restaurant is geared toward dining in, which makes it neither on the west side, nor a drive-in.

But it's an alternative for those who don't like their ice cream potatoes marinated in exhaust and would rather sit in a booth than a car.

Those acquainted with the State Street institution knighted by Guy Fieri will find few surprises on the menu, which includes the usual lineup of burgers, fries, shakes and a high likelihood of heartburn.

The patty melt ($8.99), served on marbled rye with the option of sauteed mushrooms, is a decent, though fairly standard, option. But unlike a burger you might find at a gastropub, Westside's patty melt doesn't forge any new territory, even though it comes with a similar price tag.

The menu is also peppered with a few veggie options. A daily special curry chicken salad ($7.99) was an acceptable light lunch, and the garden burger ($8.49) came with sprouts and avocado--a nice touch. But out of the whole bunch, the salad--comprised of chopped romaine and chicken breast tossed in a curry dressing--was the only item that didn't have a frozen or pre-made taste to it. A side of onion rings came out especially dry and industrial, though the processed curly fries fared better.

The place where Westside Drive-In wields the most culinary clout is its shakes, which are prepared with a wide variety of rotating flavors and ingredients, including strawberry, peanut butter, blackberry and cappuccino.

The only real distinction between the eastside Westside Drive-In and the original is the vibe. Instead of a charmingly dilapidated throwback to '50s car culture, it is a manufactured homage to the glamorized '50s diner in a town already saturated with them.

The interior is clean with large windows, plenty of booths and turquoise walls that match much of the furniture. But the booth I sat in was wobbly and poorly constructed. There were no black-and-white checkered tiles, and instead of a jukebox, the joint boasted three gaudy plasma screen TVs. It was not that far removed from a fast-food restaurant.

However, the spot does sport a pleasant patio perfect for summer dining. So, while the new Westside Drive-In makes for a nice neighborhood haunt, or a good low-impact refueling station for those out on the Greenbelt, it isn't worth driving in if you're not nearby.