Running Away to the Circus Drive-In
Ok, so it wasn’t so much running as it was sort of sneaking off. We were recently at the Jersey shore, not too far from where I grew up, and I decided to explore the HD choices in the area. Another search on the Gourmet Chili Dog directory led me to the Circus Drive-In. I had a bit of a dilemma though: do I go to the drive-in for a dog or do I go to 10th Ave. Burrito Co., which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? Since I was going solo, I considered the fact that Ali would probably prefer to get burritos with me at some point during the week rather than greasy drive-in food.
The Circus Drive-In is located in Wall Township just past Belmar. To my knowledge, I’ve never been to a drive-in. My parents would probably dispute this, but I can’t ever remember going somewhere with a tray hanging off the window. This place had almost everything I think of when I hear the term drive-in, except for roller skating servers. It’s funny, because every time I’ve told someone I went to a drive-in, they ALL said “Cool! Were they on roller skates?” And thank god for the weather-proofed curb service, because it started raining, and I didn’t want soggy onion rings. The menu was enormous, and I’m only noticing now that they have hot dog sliders. They serve everything from sandwiches to seafood platters and steaks to hot dogs. The dogs were all foot longs and seem like most were served on french bread. The toppings seemed like your standard drive-in joint fare, including melted cheese, chili, onions, and bacon. But it was the Italian hot dog that caught my eye, topped with peppers, onions, french fries, crushed tomatoes and melted mozzarella on french bread. It didn’t quite seem like a typical NJ Italian dog and was intrigued. I ordered that, a side of onion rings, and a drink called an Orange Whip.
I got a little embarrassing jolt of excitement when the server came up to my car with a tray that attached to my window. The dog was huge and reminded me of the summer food that I used to eat on the boardwalk. The footlong was like a tall guy sleeping on a twin-bed with his legs hanging over the edge of the bun. I couldn’t be happier with the snappy dog in crunchy but soft french bread and covered in oozing mozzarella. The peppers, onions, and tomatoes reminded me of boardwalk sausage sandwiches. The fries were put underneath the dog, and although there weren’t too many, it meant that the sandwich wouldn’t be too starchy. The onion rings were greasy and crunchy, an excellent vegetable side dish. The orange whip was the perfect drink for this combo and brought on memories from my childhood. The server had described it as a non-carbonated orange drink. When I drank it though, it instantly reminded me of Orange Julius. If you ever had Orange Julius at the mall in the 80’s, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. The orange whip is a frothy, orange drink served over little ice pebbles. Not so much like Hi-C orange drink, but more of a creamy orange drink. I sat back and ate everything with barely any regret for what I had just done. I can see how it would be great to pull up in a convertible to a drive-in, but personally, I think the station wagon has more character. Looking forward to my next drive-in!
Circus Drive-In 1861 Rt. 35, Wall NJ