Against an array of memorabilia that has been collected over the last fifteen years, the sounds of the grill sizzled in the background. while a steady stream of customers placed orders for the Sycamore’s famous Dagwood Burgers and Root Bear Floats.
Coming in first place is not a new experience for the Sycamore Drive-In’s owner, Patrick Austin. “We have been featured at least 25 times, and won Best Burger several times over the years,” Patrick Austin said.
Austin believes that the secret to their success is in the burger recipe that has not changed since 1948. “We make our burgers from freshly ground sirloin. It’s the same recipe that has been used since the Sycamore opened,” he said.
The most requested burger, according to Austin, is, “The Dagwood Burger, which is the double burger with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, pickles and mustard. The rolls are made especially for our burgers. We are also famous for our home-made root beer and root beer floats.”
Lest any diners think there are no new surprises at the restaurant, Austin said, “The traditional recipes have remained the same, but newer, more contemporary, items now appear on the menu.”
The drive-in staff, many of whom are Bethel High School graduates, includes about 25 full and part-time young people, many of whom are graduates of Bethel High School. Bobby Germinaro, 20, BHS grad and student at Western Connecticut State University, said, “Everybody loves the burgers, but the salad specials have been flying out the door.”
Austin Alladay, currently at BHS, said he is trying to eat only one chicken Caesar wrap a day. But if there is one thing that’s more popular with the students than the food, it’s the job itself.
“People who come here to work never want to leave. It’s a great job, great money, great people and bosses,” Santiago Alday, 20, BHS grad, said. “It’s really hard to get a job; everyday we get people coming in here looking for a job. When I left for school, (Alday is studying Pre-Med) I had my brother come to work here to hold my spot.”
Patrick Austin, who has owned the Sycamore for 15 years, thinks the restaurant will continue to be popular for years to come. Laurissa Cava, another BHS grad, said, “People come from all over the country to visit us. This weekend we had people from Rhode Island and California. They said they just couldn’t wait to come.”
The Classic Car shows that are held every Saturday night from May until the second week in September also brings in a steady and regular crowd.
“The restaurant has been in the family for 20 years. We are very unique, one of the few car-hop services in CT. Burger places have become popular again, but there is only one Sycamore.
The Readers Choice Award is awarded on a combination of points awarded for most votes, an equal amount of points for favorable reviews, and when necessary, including the comments to break a tie.
The Sycamore won in every category.