Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
Free Burgers with a Side of Nostalgia at Corvette Diner
One of the first times I thought myself to have discerning food tastes was when all my friends were celebrating their birthdays amid smelly ball pits and cardboard pizza at Chuck E. Cheese. Even the allure of Q*Bert and Dragon’s Lair couldn’t get me past my desire to enjoy special dates on the calendar in tandem with tasty food. For my family, that meant heading to Corvette Diner.
I hear the groans now. Corvette Diner? This was your idea of heightened cuisine? Seriously? Remember, this was back in the eighties—way before we had much heightened cuisine to speak of.
Even if we had, I was just a kid, completely incapable of appreciating the ingredients and techniques that I’m so enamored with now. For this then-chubby Generation Y elementary schooler, nothing beat chowing on big burgers and slurping up malts amid Corvette’s (as it was referred to in our household) onslaught of gaudy fluorescent lights and retro-kitsch.
The Cohn family established their 50s-style joint before it became a tired overdone concept across the country. The business did well at its original Hillcrest location on Fifth Avenue, where it opened in 1987. It’s continued to flourish to a new clientele after moving to its current 13,300 square foot spot on the northern edge of Point Loma’s Liberty Station in 2009.
25 years in business is something to celebrate in a city that can be a bit fickle when it comes to consistent patronage (especially with so much more competition in the form of well over 6,000 restaurants countywide). Apparently, the Cohns agree.
On March 5, they’ll be doling out 1,987 free burgers. The restaurant will open at 11:30 a.m. and provide guests with any burger off their menu (I’ve always been partial to the bacon- and Swiss cheese-adorned Brenda and jalapeño-loaded Dante’s Inferno) gratis until they reach the commemorative number. Oh boy...more money for an Elvis shake, a Garbage Plate, and a Peppermint Twist! Corvette Diner is located at 2965 Historic Decatur Road.