Zesto is a regional chain of loosely associated fast-food restaurants in Georgia (Atlanta), Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and South Dakota. Zesto Drive-In derived its name from the invention of the Zest-O-Matic soft serve machine.
L.A.M. Phelan, the creator of the Zest-O-Matic, initially hired operators for 48 stores nationwide, introducing their soft serve and fast food to customers everywhere. Phelan realized greater profitability in selling the machines rather than managing the eateries.
Consequently, most of the store operators chose to acquire the Zesto stores, preserving the legacy of the restaurants. This marked the beginning of Zesto‘s venture into the ice cream industry, consistently featuring its signature soft serve.
The First Zesto Drive-In
The inaugural establishment in Jefferson City opened its doors in 1948 at the foot of St. Mary’s Hospital on Missouri Boulevard. Over the years, the restaurant changed hands, with notable figures such as longtime operator Harold Brown honored through the namesake Brownie Supreme Sundae.
Additionally, the restaurant experienced various locations, relocating to its current spot on Jefferson Street in 1993. The first Zesto Drive-In location was opened in Atlanta, Georgia, by John Livaditis way back in 1949.
Zesto in Atlanta
So, after eating at Flip Burger Boutique, we headed to Zesto, but not before we dropped off Isaac, who needed to recover after eating at two other places consecutively.
John and I stepped into a retro spot with an atmosphere to match. We’re looking over the menu and trying to decide what to eat. We agree to split everything we order.
I ordered a footlong chili dog, onion rings, fries, and a Chubby Decker burger. John looks over to me and asks, why did you order that particular burger? I responded, “You don’t come to the house of the Chubby Decker and not get one!”
We sit down and photograph our order before the holiday unwrapping begins.
Burgers, Dogs, Fries and Onion Rings
The Chubby Decker tastes like a fast-food burger I’ve had before, but I can’t seem to pinpoint which one. The Chubby Decker is a double deck burger, just like the ones popularized by Bob’s Big Boy.
I’m talking about the kind of burger with a middle bun. Looking back on it, Zesto‘s Fat Boy with its special sauce is probably the one that is more my speed since I’m not into the whole lettuce, tomato, and onion thing.
You know what? After thinking about it, the footlong chili dog was the best thing I ate. The chili was more like ground beef with some seasoning, which reminded me of a coney dog. I didn’t mind too much; tasty!
After trying everything, I concluded that Zesto is a fast food chain for locals. Folks who grew up eating here love it, and I can appreciate it knowing that.
We did not have any ice cream, which is odd considering the origins of the company. By the end of this, John and I were done, or so we thought.
We remembered the Vortex was going to be our last stop tonight; it was time to rest up.
Zesto – East Atlanta
1181 United Avenue SE
Zesto – Forest Park
151 Forest Parkway
Forest Park, GA
Website – http://zestoatlanta.com
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/zestoatl
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ZestoATL
Monday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm