You can still spot the Burger Master Drive-In from a distance because its A-frame building and giant lit ice cream cone protruding from the roof beckon you to stop in. But gone are its signature red roof and “Lost in the 50s” sign. The restaurant launched a new woodsy look for its 2021 summer reopening.
At this Townsend, Tenn., favorite, which is the closest town to Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll find all the diner classics from hamburgers and hot dogs to malts and milkshakes. Locals will tell you it’s the best burger in all of Blount County. But you can also order chicken sandwiches and shrimp baskets that come with French fries, slaw and a roll. Walk up to the window, place your order and wait for staff to call your number when your food is ready.
Don’t get so carried away with the French fries that you neglect to leave room for dessert. There’s soft-serve ice cream dipped in chocolate or sprinkles, plus sundaes topped with peanut butter, pineapple and butterscotch.
What’s really great is that when you eat here, you’re also giving back to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each time you order the Mountain Man Burger or the Hellbender Hot Dog, the restaurant donates $1 to Friends of the Smokies, a nonprofit fundraising arms for the park.
The drive-in’s outdoor picnic tables are covered and offer an informal eating experience, making it a great place to stop after a day in the park or rafting. It’s located at 8439 Hwy. 73 in Townsend, Tenn. It closes seasonally for the winter season.
8439 State Hwy 73, Townsend, TN 37882