Skyway Drive In
 Akron, Ohio      Date of Visit  03/17/12

Just some upfrontness here. I am not a Rubber City native so I am not invested. By the same token I am married to a Rubber City native who is as biased as the day is long. She is a Swenson’s devotee when it comes to drive in Burger places that serve the area. I will do my best to give my less preconceived reaction from our visit to Skyway but still include her perspective. First off, at Skyway we pulled into an empty parking lot. That has never happened at Swenson’s, even in the snow. The place is also much dingier than its competition. The lone car “hop” showed a complete lack of “hop” as he sidled up to the window of our ride.



Lonely Lunch Ala Drive-In

He allowed us a couple of minutes to look at the menu since it has been years since I tried the place and Steph has always chosen Swenson’s. To be fair to her tradition. Swenson’s carhops hop! Run run run till the chewings done. It makes a difference. It’s like paying for a spin class where the leader is on morphine, lithium and is troubled by existential angst, dreamily asking "why do we spin"? I don’t know the dude’s work ethic, but compared to the place up the street and the numerous twins, it certainly made him appear disinterested.

We ordered a coke, a cheeseburger – ketchup and mustard only (the Steph special) and the Aunt Ruth’s onion ring burger, fries, rings and cheese teasers. What’s your preference? Worst to first or the other way around? Okay the worst. Anything that involves a potato! The fries are absent of any worthwhile flavor and the teasers that are apparently filled with cheese and jalapeno peppers were flaccidly lacking substance that tasted of anything. Not to mention the fact that if you are going to have tasteless stuff you better have good ketchup. Not the case at Skyway.

Dirty Water Sticks...I Have No Explanation

The Only Things That Made These Better Was There Are Fewer of Them

Steph Was Surprised How Much She Liked The Burger...Just Not As Good As Swenson's

"Gourmet" Onion Burger Was Great, Except For Pointless White "Sky-Hi Sauce"
  Seriously, I hate to admit it but Steph’s description of the taters was better than anything I could muster…the fries and teasers tasted like water. Not filtered water but dirty, distorted water. No flavor but off flavor. I grew up with a well instead of city water and the potatoes do taste a bit like when the water softener is coming due for replacement. Swenson’s comes out the clear winner in the tater school.

The burgers actually have some serious similarities. I don’t know enough about the competitors to know who started first. Don’t really care all that much. Both burgers tend to feature freshly prepared and screaming hot patties, a hint of sweetness which is new to me, and some fresh, possibly interesting toppings. Skyway matches Swenson’s on some levels but again pales in comparison. The hint of sweet persists, the burger is fresh and hot. The difference comes in the toppings with the Skyway “Sky-Hi Sauce” being beaten like a rented mule compared to the smokey/tangy/sweet/pungent/fatty mix of the dual sauces on the Galley boy at Swenson's. The Skyway version barley passes as cheap mayo. Weak in comparison.

The Only Clear Victor From Skyway

Where Skyway succeeds in efforts to best Swenson's is in their onion rings. Thick peppery and sweet bracelets of onion carry a crispy and delicious coating. The rings also had significant effect on the gourmet burger but the Sky-Hi sauce counterfeited the whole thing. Best I can offer. Go to Skyway. Order onion rings. Watch single server lollygag back inside. Drive to Swenson's. Order. Get superior burgers and fries, probably shakes to go. Drive back to Skyway to see Lazy-Boy bring out waxed paper sack of the apex of Skyways efforts to enjoy with everything Swenson's does to outclass them. Best rings. Good burgers but overall losers on complete taste profiles. And if it comes from a potato. Eat a raw Idaho before you try Skyways.



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