This week’s restaurant/car wash: EZ Take Out Burger/EZ Car Wash, 515 N. Mountain Ave. (at Arrow Highway), Upland.
I suspect this will be a one-week-only permutation of my Restaurant of the Week feature. But why not do a knockoff of myself? EZ Take Out is a transparent copy of In N Out. Yet two of its three Inland Valley locations set themselves apart from any other restaurant you can likely think of by pairing themselves with a car wash.
You can walk up to the window, get a meal and eat at a patio table. You can go through the drive-thru for a meal. Or you can pull into a car wash bay just feet away, drop quarters into the slot and set to work with the wand and the foaming brush. Be careful not to spray the people on the patio!
For the novelty of it, I went in on Sunday, washed my car ($2.50), then parked in the sun and got the Double Take Combo ($6.45 with tax). The Double Take is a double burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and, if you like, onions. The combo gives you thin-cut fries and a medium soda.
I liked the burger, a gooey, greasy version that came wrapped in paper (gee, that seems familiar), and the fries too. Also, the car wash was fine. The water sprayed automatically, without me having to squeeze the trigger, making EZ a good choice for carpal tunnel sufferers. The pink soap was a colorful touch.
The restaurant menu is simple: single and double burgers, a gardenburger and a chicken sandwich. They also have shakes, including the unusual flavor boysenberry. You can get your burger low-carb style, wrapped in lettuce. Or try it as a Wild Thing, which comes fried in mustard. I guess there’s no “secret menu” at EZ.
The car wash menu is likewise simple: tire cleaner, spray, foaming brush, rinse, wax. Oddly, you switch among them by pressing numbers on a silver keypad that looks exactly like one on a pay phone.
There are eight EZ Take Outs, seven in SoCal and one in Utah. The one at Foothill and Central in Upland, founded in 1969, was the first. The chain’s website is www.eztakeout.com.
Circa 1999, btw, I wrote a feature story for the Bulletin on odd combo businesses. One was a Pomona restaurant that serves burgers, donuts and Chinese food (it’s since added fried chicken). One was an Upland carpet store that sold golf clubs (now out of business, I believe). And the third was the Upland EZ Take Out with a car wash.
The franchise owner was pleasant enough but, even when goaded by questions like “Has there ever been a mixup between the two operations — like you made a milkshake with detergent?”, he assiduously avoided humorous comment.
Feel free to supply your own.