ST. LOUIS — Chuck-A-Burger is one of the most iconic places to get a bite to eat in the St. Louis area.
It is a spot in North County cloaked in nostalgia. It will take you back to the days of big bodied cars with big chrome fenders.
“You are literally driving into 1957. The atmosphere just reeks of 1957,” said restaurant owner Ron Stille.
1957 is when Chuck-A-Burger was established and became a hangout for local cruisers.
“Friday nights and Saturday nights, it was packed,” said Stille.
The way the drive-in eatery does business hasn’t changed much over time. Car hops still take the orders from customers and calls them out to the cooks.
“She literally yells the order out because we don’t have any microphones or speakers,” explained Stille.
The burgers are still made the same way they were back in the 50s with the same seasoning.
“A hamburger becomes a Chuck-A-Burger when you put Chuck seasoning on it,” Stille told 5 On Your Side.
The prices are not as low as they used to be though.
“In the old days when Chuck-A-Burger first opened a burger was 35 cents,” said Stille.
Stille has been a part of the restaurant since he was a teenager. He worked for his dad back then when he owned the place.
“Started part-time in ’78 and full-time in ’82,” he said.
He became the full-time owner in the 90s.
“I bought the business from my parents. They didn’t give it to me, I bought it,” he explained.
Stille continues to earn his own way to this day. He’s hands-on in the kitchen, but he doesn’t work the grill like he did as a kid.
“I’m the shake master,” he said.
He has also had to master the way to get though tough economic times too.
“It was hard in the 80s”, he said.
Stille believes the grill continues to sizzle after 65 years in business thanks in part to loyal employees.
“We’ve got people who’ve been working here for 30, 40 years,” he said.
He also credits their longevity to the business model he got from his dad.
“Service, quality, consistency. We always strive to be the best we can and keep our name there and always positive attitude,” he explained.
The approach has helped the restaurant earn a reputation.
“When I go to places and people recognize my shirt then that makes me so happy,” he said.
Stille has no intentions of giving up the joy of running the restaurant. Even though it can be a never-ending job.
“I live, eat, and sleep Chuck-A-Burger,” he laughed.
And he can’t image a day without it.
“It’s my life,” he said.
If you want to know more about the restaurant’s hours and menu, click here.