Hometown Eats: Dude’s Drive-In in Christiansburg

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 8:27 AM EDT
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - After a couple weeks off, we’re back with a brand new Hometown Eats with your new host, Katey Roshetko.

Dude’s Drive-In is a must-stop shop if you’re traveling through the New River Valley. Located on Roanoke St. right off the interstate, this drive-in was founded under a different name in the 1950s.

“It’s the oldest restaurant operation in Christiansburg now,” the restaurant’s namesake, Dude Griffith, said.

But it was in 1978 that it became Dude’s Drive In.

“We’ve always done real good business,” he said.

And while the building has expanded a couple times, the menu is almost exactly as it was more than 40 years ago.

“We do a good job with each thing,” Dude said.

Now, the thing they’re most known for also happens to be Dude’s favorite.

“I like the Dude Burger. I try to eat too many of them,” he laughed.

So what makes a burger a Dude Burger?

You take a quarter pound of beef pressed fresh every day. Lay it on a bun and thrown on some cheese. Then you put it in the steamer.

“Steaming the buns makes ‘em soft and people like that,” Dude explained.

Then you top it with whatever you want, but Katey went for all the works.

“Lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, pickles,” is Dude’s favorite.

“Let’s do this,” Katey said before taking in a mouthful. “Mmm that’s pretty good. I can see why you’re famous for this.”

What else they’re famous for? The chili.

Whether you’re serving it up on fries, a hot dog or even a burger, there’s a whole lot of TLC that goes into making it.

“That’s the chili pot,” Dude said pointing to the big pot above the sink. “We make about 40 pounds at a time.”

There’s no recipe written down anywhere, but it’s been in the family since 1967, so you better believe they know what it takes to make that same beautiful goodness 3 to 4 times a week.

“Onions, salt, pepper, chili powder,” Dude said. “We know exactly how much to put in.”

Janie Rasnake has been serving up burgers since Dude’s was established, who said Katey couldn’t leave until I tried her favorite.

“Chili Burger,” she said.

“With all the fixin’s?” Katey asked.

“Mustard, chili, onions and Texas Pete,” she smiled.

Now, Katey likes a little heat, but she may have over indulged on the hot sauce when she dunked half her burger in the hot sauce.

“It wouldn’t be for me,” Dude said.

“I put a lot on there,” Katey laughed.

But there was no turning back.

“That’s spicy,” Katey said. “That’s a little spicy.”

But spicy good!

“That’s a double dunk kind of good,” Katey said, going for another dip.

And if its the food that gets you in the door, it’s the amazing staff that’ll get you coming back for more.

“We’re a family. A lot of them have been with me a long time.”

Like my personal favorite, Ms. Pam, who knows her customers orders- including Katey’s go to!

“Katey, loves our strawberry milkshakes,” Pam said.

“You’re usually my hot dog guy,” she said laughing with another regular.

The friendly staff always have a smile for their customers and are a major part of the Dude’s Drive-In experience.

“We’ve been blessed. Blessed beyond measure,” Dude said.

Dude’s Drive-In is open Monday - Saturday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

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