Pick’s Drive In, Since 1923 in Cloverdale
If you’ve ever cruised through Cloverdale, the summery white wooden shack with green trim in the center of town is Pick’s Drive In.
Pick’s has been a favorite stop after a day of canoeing on the Russian River or for a break in the drive on Hwy 101 since 1923. Hamburgers, milkshakes made with Clover ice cream, and root beer floats fill the bill, as reported in these old posts.
During the Friday night live concert and farmers market season that stretches from June to Labor Day, Pick’s offers a $6 special: deluxe burger, mini fry and soft drink.
About three years ago, Pick’s made the switch to Niman Ranch beef for the burgers. A deluxe burger features a toasted sesame seed bun slathered with mayo and the signature red pickle relish plus tomato and shredded lettuce. One old-timer’s tip is to ask for the fried farm egg on top ala Hamburg-style schnitzel, though I’ve yet to try it myself that way. Here’s the cheeseburger version,
More recently Pick’s introduced Clover soft serve ice cream. Clover Stornetta sources from local dairy farms in Sonoma and Marin counties. Today, I marked National Ice Cream day with a swirl of vanilla and chocolate in a small cone, $1.39. Clover’s soft serve has a more restrained sweetness and a cleaner finish without the gummy texture or bitter aftertaste of other brands. Somewhat bland, the difference between vanilla and chocolate seems mostly in color, still the creamy swirl cooled off a hot summer day for so little money.
Goes to show that old dogs can learn new tricks, even near 90-year old institutions like Pick’s Drive In.
Pick’s Drive In
117 S Cloverdale Blvd
I remember this place too. In the early 80s we often went to Sonoma on the weekend. Visited a couple wineries and then had a picnic at a great swimming spot on the Russian just north of Cloverdale. That spot is no longer easily accessible because of the freeway improvements.
The root beer floats were just the thing before the drive home. Do they still serve them in the big glass mugs that are stored in the freezer?
Gosh, I can't say about the mugs since I've not had a float yet this summer. They better!
The river is very low this year. Normally, I'd take my visitors to the Asti Bridge, but not enough water for swimming, so I schlepped them to Healdsburg's park, as noted here. (Beware of carne asada dreams)
There are still some great secret swimming holes north of Cloverdale, and my visitors each have their favorites. Just watch for where cars are parked on the west side of the highway.
Oh yes, the root beer float is a longstanding traditional reward after a day of canoeing on the Russian River. You need to come back up. I located to Alexander Valley in 1989, and the changes in Cloverdale have been pretty remarkable, accelerating in the last four years or so.