Five Forks Review: Clayton Drive-in

About fifty years ago, Don and Lorraine Ball decided to follow their dreams. They opened a small cafe just off Highway 395 in the small town of Clayton. They also decided to create a signature item for their menu, a loaded “manburger”. The ingredients are: two beef patties, two strips of bacon, a hot dog, cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish, onion, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes. The challenge with this burger is getting your mouth around what is nothing short of a culinary work of art. While the official name of the restaurant is “Clayton Drive-in”, the burger has become the icon and most people refer to it as the “Clayton Burger”.

In the early years of the restaurant, a young teenager, Taffy Long, started working at the Clayton Drive-in. Unlike most of the other teenagers who worked for a short period of time before moving on the other things, Taffy stayed connected. Fast forward 35 years. The dream restaurant now firmly established, Don and Lorraine were ready to retire. They wanted to sell but not to just anyone. They approached Taffy and she became the second owner of Clayton Drive-in.

Long has now been the owner for 15 years. As well as still featuring the original, iconic burger, Clayton Drive-in also offers a wide range of delectable milkshakes. Especially nice on hot summer days, these delights are still wonderful on cold December afternoons. The shakes are as well known as the burger and many people in the area make a special stop just for the treat.

For Long, the restaurant is a labor of love. For many years, she worked 7 days a week. Now she has cut back to just 6 days a week. One of her favorite phrases is born out of her experience working in the Clayton Drive-in: “Sometimes the drive-in wins; sometimes I win.”

After 50 or so, years the original “Clayton Burger” is still the king of the menu, along with the ice cream and milkshakes. If you want to experience one of the jewels of Stevens County, make a trip to Clayton and indulge in a Clayton burger, along with a milkshake.   Five forks is the only rating that matches the flavor and tradition of this unique drive-in.


    • Monday –  Closed
    • Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Location: 4535 Railroad Avenue, Clayton, Washington

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