Where do you find blue collar workers, white collar workers, preppy students, and bikers with LOTs of tatoos? Answer: The Penguin Drive-In.
The Penguin is no longer a drive in, but it does have some seriously good burgers. It wasn't until the final bites of my Small Block (1/3lb burger) that I realized I had not yet applied ketchup. And the thin-cut onion rings, were astounding. The veggies on the burger were fresh, and stirred some memories of In-& Out Burgers on the West Coast.
I sat at the bar, and was constantly attended to by the staff behind the counter. The sweet tea was delicious, and my glass was re-filled several times (leading to an extremely full bladder!).
Though the food is good, this place reminds me of some of the dive-bars I hit in my college days. Fortunately, Penguin seems to accept this and manages to be a dive, minus the feelings of concern for personal safety. It is not a good place to take a first date, but perfectly acceptable for hanging out with friends. In addition, there is a full-bar as well, so this place would be great to get drinks, and then follow-up with the necessary grease to minimize the hang-over.
Over-all, I recommend Penguin if you're in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood or if you want to people watch. The food is good, the staff friendly, and where else will you find such a mixed group of patrons?
1921 Commonwealth Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205