Cuero's K&N takes diners back in time
By by jessica email@example.com
April 11, 2012 at 1:05 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.
Take a step into the orange and white drive-in restaurant that is K&N Root Beer Drive In, and you're sure to pick up on the hospitality that is a local favorite.
On a recent trip to Cuero for an assignment, my boyfriend, Luke, made the short trek from Victoria to have lunch with me since he was off for the day.
While I was waiting, I couldn't help but notice people of all sorts were piling into the small dining area, from families taking advantage of the holiday weekend, to men in muddied work boots and thick red suspenders. They exchanged friendly hellos, some gave handshakes, while others still, who knew each other beyond the first name basis, gave hugs and kisses.
It was obvious that we were in for a long-time tradition, which had been around since 1960.
Luke said he even remembers when they served Delaware Punch, a Kool-Aid-esque drink that was served at K&N before it became harder to find and was banned in parts of the U.S. for its use of a certain coloring agent.
The dining room is still adorned with its wood paneling from decades ago, evidence of where a public telephone once hung is still present and the covered parking in the front of K&N shows signs of aging from its rusty structure. And some advice to those hip to the days of carrying only plastic, stop by an ATM on the way to K&N. The drive-in only accepts cash or local checks.
Whenever we chow at a burger joint, it's almost a sure bet that Luke will order a cheeseburger with mustard and jalapenos and no onions or mayo. Not a change this time. The last time I was there, I indulged in a chili burger and a basket of crispy tater tots, so this time, I ordered something different - but not by much. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and an order of chili-cheese fries.
Don't ask me why, but I have been hankering for chili cheese fries left and right these days. This was my third serving this week. I'm not proud of it. I'm not.
We ordered our drinks and took a seat back at the booth that I had been sitting at while I waited for him to show up. While we did, more people came in and more orders were called, when I heard it, "Fifty-s..."
"No!" I told him. "So close. She almost said 57." That was our number, and that meant food for my belly.
And then I heard it from start to finish this time.
"Number 57," called out the lady from behind the counter.
Luke slid out of the booth and in less than a minute, since we were sitting in the second booth from the doorway, he returned with our food on a brown plastic food-service tray.
Our burgers were wrapped in white delicatessen paper, labeled with black pen, whose burger was whose. My chili-cheese fries rested in a paper boat with a plastic fork that beckoned to be wielded. But yield I did not. I burned my tongue a little bit, but the hurt was worth it. The cheese was so melted and the chili smelled so good, I had to have a bite.
I ate through half of my fries and moved on to my burger. I found a perfect ratio of crispy bacon, gooey cheese, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mayonnaise. It came out perfect with no pickles or mustard just as I had asked.
Luke killed his burger before I even finished half of my share of eats. I guess he was hungrier than I was.
If I had any room leftover, I would have ordered a milkshake for the road, but alas I was a stuffed chicken. I barely had room for my 54 cent refill on my soda.
Next time, maybe I should save some room for that chocolate milkshake, so no chili-cheese fries. If I can help it, that is.
Jessica Rodrigo needs to back away from foods that include the words "chili" and "cheese." Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and give her some guidance in the form of healthier, more edible eats.