Triple Thick Shakes at Big Al's

1844 Esplanade
10:00am-10:30pm daily
prior to 1965
Payment Method
Cash and local checks (ATM inside, with fee)

A visit to Big Al's Drive In is like taking a trip back in time. This often overlooked central Chico restaurant on the Esplanade is a favorite among locals. They have a walk-up window (which I guess makes it more of a "walk-in" than a "drive-in" but let's not argue) for to-go orders and a small indoor seating area.

This place can offer you a lot of food for very little money. However, be aware that most of Big Al's Drive In food caters towards those with a taste for meat. They offer fries and other non-meat items, but this place is really more about the burgers. Try one ala carte, or get it in their classic "Burger Basket" with fries. Other popular offerings include fish and chips (fish may be cod), patty melts, French dips, and corn dogs. It's everything you'd expect from a drive-in.

Perhaps more important than the burgers and other greasy offerings is their milkshakes. In the collective memory of Chicoans is the sign in front that still reads "Our shakes are triple thick!" That is no lie! They have a huge variety of milkshake flavors. Big Al's will make interesting combinations of their available flavors upon request. They have at least: Root Beer, Cola, Mint, Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Banana. The shakes are so thick that they are better left to a spoon and not a straw. In addition, banana splits and chocolate dipped soft-serve cones are available. Big Al's Drive In is a great stop for a cool treat on a hot summer night.

Back to front: Peanutbutter, Chocolate Chip, and Mocha Shakes — triple thick! Menu as of June 2009 (subject to change!). Does not include shakes.


2008-08-12 19:13:07   I like how you called this "central Chico". Not long ago this was still toward the edge of town! This is the last of the Chico drive-ins from the "drive-in" days. —

2009-01-26 09:21:28   I would like to see the data. I'll bet they really are triple thick. Even on a 100+ degree day you can guarantee they are still at least double thick for sure. —GregBard

2009-04-27 18:29:20   Its open till 10:30 not 10, I dont know if thats new I just started. —

  • Thanks. I'll change that but you could have easily changed it by pressing the Edit button. Thanks and hope to see you around! —RyanMikulovsky

2009-05-01 15:06:55   PATTY MELT! —

2009-06-10 16:37:13   they also have veggie burgers :) —

2010-04-24 21:56:53   My grandparents own Big Al's and I work there in the summers (4 weeks till i start working again I CANT WAIT) i love it there its like my favorite place not just 'cause of the food but 'cause of the Scenery its just awsome —

2010-10-20 18:59:13   If you think big ALS is on the edge of town your missing out on a lot of chico —

2012-01-25 16:51:10   This place is nasty, the food doesn't taste good and the whole place is dirty. I used the restroom that was for staff only and there was no soap in the bathroom!!! I personally don't like fecal matter in my burger! I also read that this place has been closed down for health violations and someone was shot inside there restaurant also. Next time you want a burger go to big Al's and get shot while you enjoy a bacteria infected burger! —

2012-04-03 22:01:01   Oh please. It isn't their fault some idiot tried to rob the place. They tried to rob it because they knew people liked it. Don't blame Big Al's for something they can't help. Blame the idiot who thought their devoted employees would do nothing to protect it. Grow a brain. This is a local family owned business that has done nothing but function to make Chico residents happy. —

2012-04-03 22:04:00   There is no fecal matter in your burger. So they may have run out of soap; maybe places run out of things from time to time. I don't hate on them for being too busy because their food rocks. —