I was back in my hometown of Wilmington, Delaware over the 4th of July weekend and was fortunate to have some of my Arizona friends visiting. As none of them had ever been to Delaware before, I decided that they all needed to experience one of Delaware's little gems, the Charcoal Pit.
For those of you unfamiliar with "The Pit", it's a hamburger joint that's been in operation since the 1950's. Although often touted as Delaware's best burger, I love the place more for its atmosphere and nostalgia. From the 1950's Jetson's architecture to the individual jukeboxes at each table, the place makes you feel like a member of the Cunningham family. Several generations of Delawareans have grown up with The Pit It serves many purposes for many people. A memorable destination for a child, a high school hangout, a meeting place, or simply a place for an inexpensive meal. Regardless of who you are, The Pit has something for everyone.
Enough reminiscing. On this particular visit home, I actually ate at The Pit twice. Once on my way to a conference with a coworker, and once on the way to the airport to see my friends off. The first time around, I ordered a Pit Special - 1/4 pound hamburger with lettuce, tomato and fries. If you want cheese, pickels, peppers, mayo, etc, you need to order it as it doesn't come standard. I asked for some mayo with my burger. I also ordered a triple thick vanilla shake, and a small vanilla Coke. The Charcoal Pit make fantastic shakes that really are triple thick. They serve them in their metal mixing containers with a small glass to pour them into. If you don't have the proper technique, it's almost a given that you'll end up dumping half of the shake all over the table. I think the waitstaff purposely doesn't warn people for the sheer enjoyment of it. My first experience with vanilla Coke was as a child at The Pit. It's still the best anywhere - made with vanilla syrup. It's much better than the spiced version (tastes more like Captain Morgan) that's made by Coca Cola!
My coworker Adam went with a 1/2 pound Pit Special. Being from Texas, he asked if he could have chili with the burger. Nope! No jalapenos either. Following my recommendaiton, Adam went with a triple thick shake as well, only chocolate.
We both agreed that the meals were great. The burgers were perfectly cooked on a charcoal and very tasty. Unfortunately for us, we didn't have room for desert. The Charcoal Pit is known for their ice cream sundaes. They have a dozen or so on the menu, each named after a local high school. If you were really hungry for desert, you could (literally) order the kitchen sink - a 20 scoop monster that easily serves 4-6 people.
If you happen to be passing through Wilmington, Delaware via I-95, you owe it to yourself to hop off the 202 exit and head a few miles up the road to The Pit.