Merritt’s Burger House

I have had hamburgers. I have had fries. I have even sat at a drive-in at Sonic. 
But never have I had a hit of nostalgia like I did at Merritt’s Burger House
 This drive-in in Wilmington, NC is the real deal, offering southern fast food since 1958. It’s the type of place where you pull up outside the restaurant and wait for someone to come take your order. Then you relax in your car before she comes back and clips a tray with your food onto the car window. The person who takes your order is likely a Merrick – it is still family run. Be prepared to wait awhile folks – yes, waiting is the theme of this Southern sojourn. 
But when the food comes, it is just exactly what you want.
 Diet Sun Drop
My dad became obsessed with this drink, which neither of us have ever seen up North. A very sweet citrusy drink, it was like a cross between Sprite and Fresca. Too sweet for me, but my dad wanted to buy a case before we flew home. 
Crinkle cut, frozen, slightly greasy. Salted and also brought with a shaker of salt on the side.  
 Merritt’s Cheeseburger
American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. I should have asked for ketchup, but I enjoyed it with some Texas Pete’s hot sauce just as much. Flattened, bun and all, on the grill so the burger was smashed together, a homogeneous brick of meat, bun, cheese, and toppings. 
 Hot Dog All the Way
Even better than Allen and Sons, due no doubt to the electric red hot dog – a flavor delivery system for salt, spice, and rich meat. 
Hush Puppies
Sweeter and markedly lighter than other ones we tried. These were almost glazed they were so sweet, and totally delicious. My favorites of the trip.
I know I haven’t said a lot about the food here. That’s because…you know how it is. You know that the burgers are warm and soft, not too salty or heavily spiced. You know that the fries are oily and fluffy on the inside, delicious when dunked in Heinz ketchup and stuffed into the burger. You know that drinking soda while lazily dangling your hand outside the car, soaking up the sunshine and relaxation is almost as tasty as the meal itself. 
You know this because you have experienced this. Probably not since you were a kid, but you have. You know all about it.
And you know you have to go here when you are in North Carolina. 
Merritt's Burger House on Urbanspoon


  1. Look at those prices! Seafood combo plate $9.50? BBQ plate for six bucks? Not exactly NYC, eh?

  2. Haha, Sundrop. I know that soda. Why? My company helped market it. We have a few cases here that no one wants b/c it's too sweet.

  3. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin-you said it!
    @Hungry-um, I will gladly take those off your hands for my dad, if you need me to!


    Great post! If you like drive-ins and want to road trip to WV, this place is awesome. Great slaw dogs, fries and homemade shakes


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