It was no fault of the Dieter’s sister that the birthday gift of a handbag was not only the wrong style for our newly svelte fashion plate, but the wrong color as well. This was the cause of a shopping trip that took the Dieter and the rest of the dine-around bunch to the Pinnacle in Bristol, Tennessee. Nothing works up one’s appetite like shopping with some newly-acquired “store money;” a morning’s shopping assisted by my dining partner found both of them getting pretty hungry the closer it got to noon.
While the ladies held inquest on current trends in women’s fashion, the Carnivore and I spent our time scouting places for the dine-around bunch to eat. Wandering around the myriad of businesses, I spotted the nearby Steak & Shake. It didn’t take much persuasion for the Carnivore to announce to the dine-around bunch that we’d found the best place for a bite to eat.
Located on Pinnacle Parkway, Bristol, TN, Steak & Shake’s signature white building with red accents makes it very easy to find. The area is kept impeccably clean and neat by the staff, with no overflowing trash bins needing attention, and properly seen-to landscaping. All lighting is correct with no burnt-out bulbs that need replacing. If you’re in a rush, you can make your selections at an outside ordering terminal, then drive around and pick them up at the take-out window. Or you could do what we did and dine inside with refinement.
Choosing the diner-style sit-down service, we were in for a bit of a wait.
Seems many of the folks shopping at the Pinnacle stores had the same idea as we. Walking inside you’ll find a well-lit dining area that is clean and neat. Seating is a brightly colored mix of traditional booths and tables. A floor show of sorts was provided by the open-design kitchen where orders from the inside dining area and take-out were handled with equal dexterity.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
After our server brought our drinks orders, the food orders were next.
The Dieter, ever-mindful of her quota of calories, picked a Steak & Shake Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($4.99). The Dieter liked how Steak & Shake marinated the chicken breast, and then grilled it correctly. After allowing the grilled chicken to rest for a period in order to recover moisture and flavor, it was topped with crisp lettuce, vine-ripened tomato, and mayonnaise. Finding a bonus in counting her calories, the Dieter was elated that and order of coleslaw could be substituted for sandwich’s side order of Steak & Shake fries at no extra charge.
Chili Cheese Footlong Steak Frank
All of the Dieter’s careful counting of calories was not for the likes of my friend the Carnivore. A devotee of Steak & Shake restaurants since his grade school days, the Carnivore could proudly assert that it was Steak & Shake which began and then cultivated his love of the hot dog, and indeed all forms of tube-style meats. So it was no surprise that my friend placed his order for a Steak & Shake Chili Cheese Foot-long Steak Frank ($4.99). The steak frank is first split lengthwise and grilled. Next, a serving of their Original Chili is added along with shredded cheddar and jack cheeses. Then comes a healthy quantity of diced onion, and the creation is sided with an order of thin and crispy fries.
Given size of the foot-long steak frank and the quantity of topping involved once it is fully dressed, the Carnivore found it was a meal best consumed using a knife and fork.
Frisco Melt & Fries
Not wanting a meal as large and involved as the Carnivore’s, I ordered one of Steak & Shake’s Frisco Melt & Fries combo, just $6.49. This is a Steak & Shake favorite of mine. Two Steak & Shake steakburgers, each topped with American and Swiss cheeses are layered onto sourdough bread, daubed with some proprietary Frisco Sauce. The sourdough bread is then toasted on the griddle, then served cut in two with a big pile of thin-cut French fries. The sourdough in particular adds a savory character to the overall flavor bouquet of the burger that you just cannot get from the usual hamburger bun, while the Frisco sauce provides both tangy pungency and a bit of spice to this classic Steak & Shake burger combo.
White Truffle Prime Steakburger
My dining partner was feeling adventurous for lunch, choosing one of Steak & Shake’s new White Truffle Prime Steakburger ($8.49) as her meal. This could be the new menu leader for Steak & Shake in the 6 oz. Steakburger category. First, a blend composed exclusively of brisket and chuck is hand-formed into a six-ounce steakburger patty, grilled and then topped with two slices of Swiss cheese. There follows a quantity of both grilled button mushrooms and caramelized onions. Lastly, the Prime Steakburger is settled onto a toasted brioche bun and topped with (I am not kidding) a white truffle -infused aioli sauce. The accompanying thin and crispy fries seemed to be a very side order indeed when compared to the entrée, and when your burger comes skewered with a steak knife to hold everything together, you know you’re in for a taste treat. Not sure whether the truffle aioli sauce would be to her taste, my dining partner asked for it on the side. Adding just enough to each bite my dining partner found the aioli brought a level of lusciousness to the burger that was almost decadent.
Though we did not try offerings from the “Shake” portion of the Steak & Shake menu on this trip, they are some of the best milk shakes and fountain drinks this side of a trip to the Fifties in the Wayback Machine. The full Fifties diner experience can be had by adding one of Steak & Shake’s hand-scooped, real milk milkshakes to your order. The classic milkshake comes in six classic flavors (my favorite is Hershey’s Special Dark at $2.99) or you can get side by sides like Vanocolate or Strawnana at $3.49 a serving. You could try a specialty shake from one or more of 27 specialty flavors at $3.99 a pop, an ice cream sundae (strawberry or hot fudge) for $2.49, or even an old-fashioned root beer float for just $2.59. No matter what you choose at the Pinnacle’s Steak & Shake restaurant, you’ll be guaranteed a meal that will satisfy you in surroundings that will relax you, and that is the best finish ever for a hard day’s worth of shopping.
Steak & Shake
413 Pinnacle Parkway
Daily, 6:00 am-12:00am
Available on Facebook & social media
Credit cards accepted