The Eagle Drive-In

With its sleek black-and-red trim, mirrored windows, and retro sign, The Eagle Drive-In looks like a typical American burger joint from the 1950s. In fact, burgers are served here – they’re just not the kind you expect at a typical drive-in.

 

eagle facade

Take the Salted Caramel Bacon Burger or the Buffalo Bill Burger (a bison burger topped with a blueberry barbecue sauce): it’s like Julia Child waltzed into a Wendy’s and fused its basic menu with her epicurean sophistication. It’s an unlikely scenario to imagine, but it does exist right here in Joplin.

 

Except in Joplin, Jason Miller is our Julia Child. A hometown boy and New York-trained chef, Miller is the owner of The Eagle Drive-In, as well as Instant Karma, a restaurant in downtown Joplin where gourmet hot dogs are the stars. Miller brings ingenuity and worldliness to the menus at both restaurants, and his novel dishes have created a loyal and wide following among area diners.

 

My friend Carrie and I are two of those loyal diners, and we recently met for lunch at The Eagle Drive-In. While the restaurant no longer functions as a drive-in, it retains its nostalgic charm – and size. So if you arrive during the busy lunch or dinner rush, be prepared to wait, as there are only about 10 tables inside. But I promise that your patience will pay off.

 

eagle interior

On the day Carrie and I visited, I ordered a water to drink (it was a work day for me), but The Eagle Drive-In’s Jalapeno Margarita occupied my mind.

 

eagle jalapeno margarita

This spicy, refreshing drink has made my eyes water each time I’ve ordered it, but I don’t let that little inconvenience stop me from sipping this tasty libation. Other adult beverage options here include 10 beers on tap (which change regularly), Bloody Marys (regular and spicy), as well as a full bar.

 

eagle tap

For an appetizer, I ordered Joplin’s Spiciest Shrimp Cocktail, made with plump jumbo shrimp and house-made spicy horseradish sauce.

 

eagle shrimp

The shrimp were so huge that I only ate two and took the rest home for my incredibly appreciative husband Travis. More adventurous eaters can choose from appetizers like mussels, bone marrow, calamari, and chicken-fried escargot.

 

For my entree, I ordered the classic Eagle Burger, a ⅓-pound beef patty topped with Cheddar and Swiss cheeses, mixed greens, tomato, onion, pickle, and – here’s the twist – a fried quail egg and Eagle sauce (a creamy red sauce with a touch of smoke and spice).

 

eagle burger

A fluffy brioche bun added another story to this architectural creation, and I felt sorry for Carrie who had to watch me try to stuff this monstrous burger into my mouth.

 

Then again, Carrie had a similar challenge with the huge Falafel Sub, which is a great menu option for vegetarians; it’s also easily modified for vegans, like Carrie, by omitting the feta and tzatziki sauce.

 

eagle falafel

The Eagle Drive-In also offers other unique burgers made from lamb, elk, or salmon, as well as a variety of sandwiches, salads, and main entrees like Ahi tuna and beef tips. You can also abandon the menu and go with the flow by ordering the chef’s creation of the day.

 

If you order a burger or a sandwich, you get to choose one side dish, and both Carrie and I picked the hand-cut fries which come with the choice of two dipping sauces. With over a dozen sauces to choose from, this was a difficult decision, but I finally went with the Curry Aioli (subtle and creamy) and the Wasabi Aioli (lively, yet not overpowering).

 

If the temperatures outside had been warmer, we would have eaten at one of The Eagle Drive-In’s picnic tables. I like seeing Joplin restaurants adding outdoor dining spaces. We have a pretty nice climate here (compared to Chicago, where I grew up), and I always look for places where I can be outside while I eat.

 

eagle sign

The Eagle Drive-In may look like a typical retro drive-in, but it will surprise you with its creative gourmet menu items. It just might become your new regular hangout.

 

The Eagle Drive-In is located at 4224 Hearnes Boulevard in Joplin. Click here to visit its website, and click here to find out what the daily special is on its Facebook page.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Instant Karma

Instant Karma in downtown Joplin is known for its gourmet Black Angus hot dogs, such as The Tueben (topped with sauerkraut, swiss cheese and homemade Karma sauce) or the Chihuahua (topped with avocado and sour cream and wrapped with bacon).

 

So when my husband suggested that we eat lunch there I expected to order a hot dog.

 

But when I checked the Instant Karma Facebook page and saw the special of the day, all of my hot dog plans flew out the window. I knew I had to try the Cubano Burger. It consisted of a patty made from marinated ground pork, salami and ham which was topped with Swiss cheese and house-made pickles and then pressed on a panini press and was served with dijon aioli for dipping.

 

The Cubano Burger did not disappoint. It had a subtle sweet/spicy flavor and I loved the crunch of the added fresh pickles (made with fresh dill). I spread some of the garlic aioli on the burger, and while I didn’t notice that it added much to the overall flavor of the burger, it still tasted delicious.

 

instant karma sign

The burger special came with a choice of a side, and I chose the crispy shoestring french fries. Instant Karma is very generous with their portions, so I split my fries with my husband. The fries came with a choice of a dipping sauce; I chose the Good Karma Sauce (like Thousand Island dressing with a kick) and my husband chose the Chipotle Mayo (which had a nice spicy, smoky taste).

 

karma-blue-burgerMy husband ordered the Bacon & Bleu Grilled Cheese Burger, a new menu item.

 

The sharp taste of the bleu cheese paired well with the smoky bacon. My husband enjoyed it, but thought he would probably prefer it served with a bun rather than sandwich bread (hence, more burger-like than grilled-cheese-like).

 

We enjoyed our fresh-tasting gourmet lunch so much that we practically licked our plates clean. Getting up to leave, we felt so stuffed and sleepy that we joked  that we had eaten ourselves into an “Instant Coma.”

 

There is an extensive list of items on the menu at Instant Karma, including salads, pasta and vegetarian fare (including vegetarian hot dogs).

 

I’ll be sure to try a hot dog on our next trip to Instant Karma. Maybe a hot dog wouldn’t be so filling that I’d need a nap afterwards.

 

Instant Karma is located at 527 South Main Street. Click here to visit Instant Karma’s Facebook page.

 

*Since writing this post, Instant Karma has become a family favorite. Here are some highlights from our visits:

 

instant karma donut burger

Heavenly Donut Burger (my oldest daughter’s favorite)

 

instant karma bio

My favorite – The Bio Diesel, a veggie hot dog with homemade coleslaw 

 

instant karma family

Two of my favorite people 🙂

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.