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Pick-Quick Auburn: Shiny, new and nice, but not the same burger drive-in

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on March 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm | 6 Comments »
March 17, 2011 3:59 pm
A double cheeseburger from Pick-Quick in Auburn, which opened March 8. The original Pick-Quick opened in Fife in 1949.

Hey Pick-Quick fans, have you ventured to Auburn yet to sample the freshly opened Drive-In burger restaurant? It opened a week ago Tuesday.

I stopped in and found a restaurant that was shiny new and with a 1950s sensibility that seemed 21st century designed. A walk-in dining room with high ceilings, big windows to watch the burger crew at work, a sign advertising sustainability, and separate cans for garbage and composting made me think: Burgerville meets In-N-Out.

The split, grilled hot dog, a classic Pick-Quick dish.

Is this the Pick-Quick locals have visited since 1949 on Pacific Highway in Fife? Nope. But it still feels like the original around the edges – from the text of the menu board to the little red picnic benches out front. But I don’t know that the atmosphere did it for me. It felt too new.

Call me a purist, a curmudgeon, a hanger on to the past.

I love the nostalgia of standing in the rain at the Fife Pick-Quick waiting for the cheeseburger with a crunchy toasted bun, a double puckery dose of pickle chips and pickle relish, tomatoes, crisp onions and a smallish burger patty (order a double for the full meaty deal).

Waiting in the long line on opening day after the Fife location’s winter hiatus is a pilgrimage experience for devoted Pick-Quick fans.

The Auburn location has a walk-in dining room, a drive-through and will be open year round. A visit to the Auburn Pick-Quick seemed easy. Too easy. No waiting in the rain, no long lines. Packaged for the masses to be more accessible.

The food was executed with the same precision, all the way down to the fresh-cut fries (some crispy, some soggy, just like the original location), the shakes and the split, grilled hot dogs. The burger was just right. The bun was toasted, the fresh (never frozen) burger patties tasted of beef, the one-two pickle punch was there and the veggies were crisp and good.

I made note of the tagline of sustainability on the menu (pictured here) and the compost garbage can in the dining room. It reminded me of Burgerville’s advertising of its sustainability program. Interesting, but the sustainability part of Pick-Quick’s business is not fully explained. I saw the beef described as “fresh, local, naturally raised beef,” but where was it raised? Is the sustainability part about the composting? Is it just a catch phrase? What does that mean? I’m sending a message asking for clarification. I’d like to know.

The new Pick-Quick was opened by Krispy Kreme franchise owner Gerard Centioli, who opened the Auburn restaurant in partnership with the Burgi family, who still owns Pick-Quick in Fife. Read more about the background here.

YOUR TURN: Have you been? What did you think?

Pick-Quick Auburn
Where: 1132 Auburn Way N., Auburn
Phone: 253-248-1949

Pick-Quick Fife
Where: 4306 Pacific Highway E., Fife
Phone: 253-922-5599

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