The drive-thru burger joints that appear in so many Idaho towns--often victims of redevelopment, modernity and fashion in other regions--have proven lackluster, and on my wanders through the state, I've had my fair share of hockey puck burgers, copy-cat fries and too thick or too thin shakes.
So imagine me and my lady driving up to the Patty's Burger Time window, bellies grumbling and expectations low, on a chilly weekday afternoon. Wendy, the daughter of the joint's namesake, Patty, leaned out and cheerily asked, "Would you like to try my tomato carrot rosemary soup?"
We tried it. We ordered it. We traded slurps while waiting for the rest of our food. The flavor and color of carrots and tomatoes merge into a complete expression of early fall when cooked and mashed together--the acid of the 'maters cut by the tang of the carrots. It was a really nice combination, eaten al fresco, hemmed in from Orchard Road traffic by a little patio.
Yes, I just wrote "al fresco" in a drive-thru review. In a minute I'm going to write "fresh ground pepper." As in I approached the window and asked for pepper. Wendy handed me a pepper grinder. Fresh ground pepper on homemade drive-thru soup.
We moved on to milkshakes. I was disappointed that there was no fresh fruit, but ordered a black cherry shake anyway. First sip: best shake I have had since I left the East Coast. The secret? They clean the ice cream machine daily. How novel. Wendy says the health inspector eats his soft-serve at Burger Time.
And as to the fresh fruit, there was an order of persimmons on hold for the next day. Goddamn persimmons at a drive-thru.
The last meal I had at Burger Time had also been on a date; I was taking my 4-year-old to see Kung Fu Panda around the corner at the Reel Theatres on Overland. I remember being pleasantly surprised at the number of friendly regulars with their classic cars parked in the lot for a car show hosted on the restaurant grounds.
This time, my wife and I both ordered--what else--burgers. She got a quarter-pound cheeseburger with a secret white sauce ($3.60), something like a mild fry sauce. Burger Time promises Idaho beef, and the burger itself was fine, juicy and thick. But the guacamole on my burger special ($7.95)--which comes with fries (or in my case, tots) and a drink (or in my case, the milkshake for a buck extra)--was the real deal. Smooth lumps of bright green, lemony, peppery avocado graced the large burger, tasting at once healthy, gourmet and still drive-thru-y.
--Nathaniel Hoffman does not carry a pepper grinder on his belt. Yet.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Patty's Burger Time.