Galaxy Drive In in St. Louis Park

Jill Lewis / Heavy Table

Jill Lewis / Heavy Table

Editor’s Note: Galaxy Drive In is now closed.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you threw the futuristic, space-age vibe from The Jetsons, the car-side dining from The Flintstones, Elvis, the Blues Brothers, dogs, and s’mores in a bubbling cauldron? You’d get the Galaxy Drive In, the new incarnation of Wagner’s Drive-In on Highway 7 in St. Louis Park. And while mash-ups like this may work well in the music industry, the results here are decidedly mixed.

The creative mind behind the revamped restaurant is Steven Schussler, the St. Louis Park businessman best known for his larger-than-life restaurant concepts like the Rainforest Cafe. Galaxy Drive In captures much of that kitsch, from its brightly colored decor to the names on the menu (Lunar Eclipse Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich, anyone?). Regardless if you think Schussler’s establishments are corny or clever, they’re always sure to attract one valuable demographic: kids. And that’s where Galaxy Drive In will hit the motherlode — families looking for an easy-to-please menu and a place where their children can run themselves silly while they wait for their food.

Jill Lewis / Heavy Table

Jill Lewis / Heavy Table

Because yes, if you come to Galaxy in these early days of operation, you’re going to wait. Every new restaurant needs time to work out the kinks, of course, and the initial swarm of visitors doesn’t give the staff much room for error. So don’t come if you’re on a tight time frame, and be willing to wait a while for a parking spot or a seat at a table. If you smile nicely, you may even get an invitation to sit down with other diners who have room at their table. The frazzled waitstaff means well but sometimes needs back-up from managers to make sure guests get their orders taken.

When it is time to submit your order, make sure the broasted chicken is on your ticket. The crispy coating gives way to juicy, flavorful meat, and the thighs that comprise the quarter-chicken meal ($5.75 with fries and coleslaw) offer a generous portion. The accompanying fries lack the slick greasiness of many fast-food varieties — a definite plus — but the amount of seasoning salt could be doubled for the potatoes to really pack a punch. The pronto pups ($2.75 each) received a thumbs-up as well from discerning fans, and the unadorned hot dog’s ($4.50 with fries) slightly smoky flavor was a pleasant surprise.

The burger ($3.85), on the other hand, didn’t offer any surprises, unless you count its general blah-ness. Though the patty was thicker than your average fast-food burger, the dry meat did it no favors, and the thin, lifeless bun looked as if it had been swiped from McDonald’s. The cheese curds ($3.85) featured the appropriate salt-to-creamy ratio that makes the side so appealing, but the overly sweet marinara dipping sauce was best left alone. Like the fries, the onion rings ($3.50) were also low on greasiness, but the underseasoned batter made the rings forgettable. The coleslaw offered a few strands of cabbage and carrot in a mess of gloppy sauce — it’s better to skip it and save your calories for beverages.

Jill Lewis / Heavy Table

Jill Lewis / Heavy Table

Those who fault Five Guys for not serving malts and shakes with its burgers will give kudos to Galaxy for its selection of creamy drinks. Besides the shakes and malts, diners can choose from root beer and creamsicle floats, cones, and sundaes to round out their meals. The chocolate shake ($3.75 small / $4.75 large) stood out for its solid but not too sweet chocolate flavor, and it wasn’t so thick that it was impossible to sip through a straw, while the vanilla malt was also finely balanced.

While the galactic theme may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the fresh paint jobs, shiny stools, and shaded picnic tables are a big improvement from the well-worn Wagner’s set-up, which had been around since 1951. Diners have the option of parking on-site and eating in their cars or parking on the street and sitting down at a table, which is nice for those who don’t enjoy balancing a burger, fries, and shake in their laps. (Galaxy’s neighbors, however, are probably not so enthusiastic about their newly crowded streets.) Dog owners will love having a place where their pooches are lovingly greeted and dog-sized burgers, ice cream cones, and bones are on the menu.

If you’re looking for a good burger, there are far better places to eat. But on a pleasant summer evening when you’re not in a rush, go ahead and pull over at Galaxy Drive In. As long as it doesn’t run out of chicken and ice cream, you’ll be in good shape.

Galaxy Drive In

Rating: ★½☆☆ (Notable)

Themed drive-in in St. Louis Park
3712 Quebec Ave S
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
952.277.7777
OWNER: Steven Schussler
HOURS: 11am-11pm daily
BAR: No
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED:
No / No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN:
Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE:
$3-8

Facebook Comments

comments

Jill Lewis

The great-granddaughter of an Eastern European Jewish baker, Jill Lewis cannot escape her genetic predisposition to carbs. Her love of baked goods, wine, cheese and chocolate may not come in handy for her day job as a Twin Cities PR professional, but it proves infinitely helpful for her gigs as a contributing writer for The Heavy Table and the co-author of the Cheese and Champagne blog. A former resident of Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin and suburban Washington, D.C., Jill now lives with her husband, two young sons and cat in St. Louis Park.

Visit Website

14 Comments

  1. I enjoyed my experience at Galaxy Drive In but I agree the waitstaff was a little absent (probably tuckered out from the lunch rush). However, I loved my Lunar Eclipse Grilled Cheese and Pronto Pup and I was in no rush so it was a pleasant long lunch out in the sun.

  2. Don’t worry, when the extra-terrestrials show up soon, they will whip this place into shape! thanks for the review…

  3. The hot dog picture is my new favorite thing on Heavy Table!

  4. Janette Malling 08/09/2009 Reply

    By far, the WORST drive in meal my husband and I have ever eaten.
    We both ordered the footlong hot dogs and it took a long time to get them, not even that busy either, and they were cold as well as the french fries.
    Terrible seasoning on the fries.
    Disliked the poppy seed hot dog buns!!!
    Root beer was not even in a frosty mug and received the drinks way before our meal so the drinks were warm and almost had them finished by the time we received our horrible order of so called food.
    Stated our dislike to the car hop when she took our tray away.
    Very expensive also for drive in food.
    Very unhappy with everything except the colorful paint job.
    Not sure if we will give it another try or not.
    Food needs a lot of improvement!!!!!!!!
    Thank you.

    Janette Malling
    3516 Hillsboro Ct N
    New Hope, Mn
    55427

  5. Ben Saltzman 08/13/2009 Reply

    I pity the neighbors.
    It took forever to be served. Fast Food served slow.
    The food has a certain so-whatness quality. The burger was not bad, the fries should be cooked more and forget about the seasoning. Aren’t onion rings supposed to be served hot? Our ketchup/catsup container was near empty and the one we took from the other table was too. Paying in advance was a bit weird too.
    I would give it a C-

  6. [Comment deleted due to invalid email address]

  7. Don’t waste your time eating here. Service is VERY bad.
    Food way to plain. Only 14 places to park. WILL NEVER BE BACK.

  8. Miguel 10/31/2009 Reply

    This place is so ridiculously bad please do not bother wasting your money. The food is gross and expensive. I spent 30.00 dollars for 2 small hot dogs (one was suppose to be “Chicago Style” and ended up having nothing but the extra peppers I asked for on it), a sandwich, grill cheese and 3 regular sodas but not just that. We tried the fries before leaving and they came directly to us cold and soggy. The sodas were $2.50 and smaller than expected for that price. The service was super slow and you can get better hot dogs from the gas station Super America. You can tell I’m so mad because I found all this after I got home far away from that place.
    I hope the restaurant closes soon and so more people don’t get ripped off.

  9. We had a very negative experience at this place. Service was slow. I also noticed what seemed to be a manager or owner walking around barking orders at one staff in particular. He was really riding her the 30 minutes we were there (and didn’t even eat there), stogy in hand.We ended up taking our food home because it took so long to get it. The parking spaces should be angled so they are easier to get into. The menus are way up high so it is awkward to see them from a car.
    When we finally got the food, the sodas were small and overpriced. We decided to eat at home and as we pulled out I realized our fries were cold and soggy. Upon actually eating our food we realized one of our brats came plain when it was suppose to have a bunch of stuff on it and considering we paid over $5 for a plain brat and some soggy fries we were not happy. The Philly sandwich was good but also came with soggy fries. The buns were stale and totally fallen apart on both the brat and hot dog we ordered.
    Overall, I suggest this place makes some major changes and considering it is new that is pretty pathetic. We were looking forward to the experience there but WILL NOT BE BACK.

  10. Two friends & I tried the Galaxy as a Friday night treat, but I wouldn’t say that’s the term we’d call it when we done. Food was lukewarm, service was slow (& then we got somebody else’s order!) I guess the ambience is supposed to make up for the lack of quality food & service but it would be nice if they could at least get 2 out of 3. I did enjoy my frosty mug of root beer and it’s fun to drive by it & enjoy the lights & decorations. Not sure about stopping by, though….

  11. Restaurant veteran 11/29/2009 Reply

    Wow…can not WAIT to go there! :(
    I have only drove by it once ( I get a kick out of the “gated business” a across the street…)
    and besides the wow factor appearance wise, it looked “cluttered” with dining traffic and a cluster-bleep.

  12. My wife and I went to Galaxy for our date night tonight. I can’t believe these other reviewers went to the same place I did. I was attracted to the drive in from driving by and seeing the over the top Christmas decorations. When we got there about 6 PM the place looked like a magical winterland. The first thing we did was jump out of the car and snap a bunch of pictures of all the great decorations. An Elvis christmas song on the juke box was setting just the right scene and the cozy fireplaces made you forget about the cold. We had fun pushing the call button on the very authentic looking (if not actually authentic) antique call boxes. The person on the other end was very friendly as she took our order smiling and waving to us from inside the building. I couldn’t really tell you how long the order took till our food came because we were having a great time looking around at all there was to see. A family had come in to have a birthday party. Their kids were getting snuggled up in the provided blankets and running around having a great time. Also saw a person walking their puppy around since dogs are welcomed. When our food came they hung the tray on the window just like in the movies. I had a very good burger and chili fries with a delicious root beer float. I am not positive but I believe the root beer is a house brew as it was on the menu as “galaxy root beer” and to me it tasted flatter then the average commercial grade stuff, just as a good home-made root beer should be. Also points for serving it up in a big frosted mug. My wife had the Mac n cheese which her only regret was that it was so filling she couldn’t finish her cheese curds and sneak more of my chili fries. Special care seemed to be taken that our food was hot and fresh. The fries were served in a styrofoam container and the cheese curds were wrapped in a paper bag to keep them hot. We were also surprised at the very reasonable prices. Looking around we could see the owners had put a considerable investment into the place (the Christmas decorations must have cost a fortune alone) and were expecting a higher price tag. We are excited to go back and in the future bring our family.

  13. I visited the Galaxy tonight and was very disapointed! The tables were dirty, and service was slow. We ordered a kids meal hamburger and a reg hamburger off the menu for myselve and to my surprise they were the same size. I ordered onion rings and for the price I was expecting a big basket not 6 in a paper bag.The hamburgers were nothing special and for the price was not worth it! I guess if you want to pay for atmosphere its the place.

  14. Heather H 09/18/2011 Reply

    I went to Galaxy tonight with two others, and I was more than happy with the result. For $30, I fed all three of us, and everyone came home happy and full. I have the veggie burger, which was definitely in my top three burgers I’ve had at restaurants, one had a galatic burger and said it was probably the best, most filling burger ever. The other had the september special, which was chicken, coleslaw and the works. Completely satisified. The atmosphere is amazing, the music is good, and the buns on the burgers? Definitely not lifeless. I don’t feel the article gives this place the attention it deserves. And for those say that service is slow? Do you know how long it takes to make these orders? Just because it’s not “fast food” doesn’t mean it makes it bad service. Burgers take a long time to cook, prepare and whatnot.
    But that’s okay, more for us (:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*