The beginning of spring is one of my favorite times of year. The weather begins to warm. The flowers begin to bloom. And Boehringer’s Drive-In in Adamstown springs to life for another season.
Located just a stone’s throw from the Berks County line, Boehringer’s is a true throwback—a seasonal spot open from mid-March to September.
Last May, the grill fell silent after a fire ripped through the kitchen. A faulty milkshake mixer was blamed for the blaze and for the first time in 70 years, the summer staple sat idle as the calendar turned to June.
But two months after the fire, Boehringer’s was back, and picked up right where it left off.
The summer flew past and September came faster than I expected. I never made it to Boehringer’s after the re-opening, which meant enduring the six-month hibernation until I could go again.
Part of Boehringer’s charm is the coziness. And by cozy, I mean it’s small. Cramming inside the building with the hungry mob is all part of the experience. There is no indoor seating, just a narrow area where everyone waits before and after placing the order.
The only place that may be more crowded is behind the counter, where about 10 workers jockey for position to take orders, scoop ice cream and build burgers, all while sharing a single cash register.
Boehringer’s is a lot like Schell’s (without the mini golf). The menu is simple: burgers, hot dogs, French fries and hamburger BBQ, with lots of ice cream.
While there are no seats inside, there are plenty of picnic tables outside along Little Muddy Creek. We were among the lucky few to find a table while many others were stuck eating in their cars in the jam-packed parking lot.
There’s nothing fancy about Boehringer’s food. It’s just simple and good. The hamburger BBQ doesn’t taste much different than you would find at a backyard picnic. The fries are typical fast food. But everything is delicious (and inexpensive) which is why so many people go back year after year.
What really sets Boehringer’s apart from other places is the ice cream. The sign on the wall says it all, “Yes! We still do, always have, and always will make our own ice cream.” Twenty-one flavors of hard ice cream are available at all times, along with 12 sundaes and my favorite, milkshakes.
Peach sounded like the perfect flavor for a spring shake, and I was right. I got a chunk of fresh peach with every few sips. It was cool, refreshing and delicious.
Julie has always had a soft spot for Boehringer’s banana ice cream, another flavor with real pieces of fruit, not syrup flavoring, which makes all the difference.
One of the reasons why people keep flocking to Boehringer’s is the how inexpensive it is. For our two meals, plus a third for my mother-in-law who was tagging along, our bill just hit $20.
Boehringer’s has been a summer tradition for more than 70 years, and its no surprise. Homemade ice cream, great food and a unique experience combine to make the drive-in a real attraction.
Just watch the calendar. September will be here before you know it.