Mel’s Drive-In – Santa Monica

For a nostalgia trip to the ’50’s, stop in at Mel’s Drive-In, at the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica. Housed in a former Penguin coffee shop (and most recently, a dental office), Mel’s Drive-In has preserved its classic Googie architecture, with a redone retro interior paying homage to its past.

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Photos adorn the booths, each with its own jukebox, ready for you to select your music playlist for 25 cents a song.

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Mel’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the menu covers all the classics you would expect – burgers, meat loaf and milkshakes. To show that they aren’t stuck in the past, they also have veggie burgers, avocado toast and quinoa.

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Prices are definitely up to current standards, if not a little on the high side. The Impossible Burger, with a plant-based vegan burger patty, was $16.75. At least it came with a choice of side – fries, potato salad, quinoa or coleslaw.

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Mel’s Impossible Burger was pretty basic, topped with tomato, onions, sprouts and pickles on a whole wheat bun. The burger was cooked medium so that it was still pink inside, resembling a real beef patty.

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Their Gourmet Turkey Burger featured a 1/3-lb. ground turkey patty with tomato and lettuce on a whole wheat bun for $14.50, with a choice of side. Their burgers don’t come with any dressing, which makes it a little dry. Considering the prices, their burgers should at least come with cheese and some sort of dressing/aioli in order to justify the gourmet burger pricing.

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The main attraction at Mel’s Drive-In is the nostalgia appeal. Classic diners have been disappearing, so it’s nice that this one exists, even though the food is overpriced. If you didn’t experience the ’50’s, you can get a taste of what it must have been like sharing a milkshake and some fries at Mel’s. Just remember to bring some quarters to play a few oldies on the jukebox to make your blast to the past complete.

Location – 1670 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Website – https://melsdrive-in.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes

 

 

 

 

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