Bokie's: A part of history

Author Pamela Merritt

I learned about Bokie's Drive In on my first day in Malone. I was getting directions from a helpful man who pointed out the turn in the road I was seeking was "just past Bokie's."

"Bokie's," I repeated, not sure I had hear it correctly. "What is Bokie's?"

"Great place to eat," the man enthused. "You be sure to check it out."

I sort of had to. As it turned out, the next two times I got directions, Bokie's was used as a landmark, and I was urged to eat there. I've been coming back ever since.

this is the place

It makes an excellent landmark, being on the main road, Route 11, east of Malone, and it's also hard to miss. For one thing, it is pink.

The hula hoops are for the guests. They hang on a rack by the door.

It is very, very, pink.

It's hard to miss it. No wonder it is used as a local landmark.

They are a drive-in, so they sell burgers and fries and ice cream, yes -- and much more. As befits a place just minutes from our neighbor to the north, they have a menu section titled "All Things Poutine." This Canadian favorite is called The Quebec On The Bokie's, comprising the standard formation. This is french fries, homemade gravy, and from the nearby factory, McCadam cheese curds. There's a poutine burger or a Philly Poutine, or the exotic Buffalo Chicken Poutine.

This is a poutine place.

Bokie's understands those old-fashioned soda fountain treats. There's incredible variety and all are lovingly handmade.

Their soda fountain offerings are equally impressive. Ice cream sodas that are over a foot tall, fried ice cream in a waffle bowl, and two kinds of banana splits (I'm not telling.) A Malone Snowball is what they call their snow cones, with such exotic flavors as green apple, passion fruit, and bubble gum. Their "Far Out Sundaes" have names like Naughty Nellie and Crazy About Walnuts.

It is how they do what they do which has made them a Malone favorite since 1956. Because they do it so well.

a favorite decade

Bokie's celebrates the 1950s (and early '60s, too) with the expected, like the life-sized cardboard standups of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley for taking selfies. The overhead music is all the Fifties hits, from the Beatles to Fabian to the King himself.

But I just love their unexpected touches, like what they have done with their booths. Each one is devoted to a particular year, with newspaper clippings that detail events, large and small, from that year. Other places number their seating; at Bokie's, we can sit at 1957, and see what that year was like.

Malone High School classes adorn the walls, and there's a penny embedded in each table, from that table's year.

If you don't know who Fabian and the King are, the booths will probably tell you. While the servers no longer go outside and prop those trays on the car window, we do order our stuff at the counter and get a big plastic number. Choose a booth, and the server will find us.

Part of each table's condiments section is a bottle of vinegar. As delicious as their fries are, they are even more so with a sprinkling of vinegar.

Now this is part of summer!

For eating outdoors, there's an order window outside, under the awning, with abundant picnic tables there. There's also pink picnic tables in an adjoining grassy area, with outdoor speakers, so the playlist continues no matter where you are.

The memorabilia on the walls is not just this era, but also Malone in this era. The whole graduating class of 1957, famous Malone landmarks (which may or may not still be around) hang in frames alongside photos of classic American cars of the era. There are also fun cardboard versions available for the kids.

Some places fake such an atmosphere. At Bokie's, it is simply who they are.

Time for pics!

like a magnet

My husband and several friends have become Bokie fans, thanks to me. (The place is like that -- you just have to tell people about it!) I get emails and messages: "So, headed up there any time soon? Maybe for lunch?" Or I'll get a text, "Craving Bokie's poutine; what can we do?"

They satisfy the actual kids and the inner kids of adults.

Both a great kid place and a great adult place.

The food is great. Their bacon double cheeseburger is the stuff my guy's dreams are made of. They have four kinds of fries with multiple toppings possible. The onion rings are absolutely classic. The regular menu is supplemented with some fine daily specials.

A terrible dilemma...I love them both!

I think there are two elements to Bokie's appeal. The food is delightful, with many interesting flavors, and is cooked fresh when you order. It's on the creative side. Yes, it's burgers and ice cream, but with a gourmet twist.

Equally important is the fun atmosphere. The staff is genuinely happy and cheerful. Of course, they eat the food. Yes, it will probably make you more cheerful.

And such ice cream. Both soft serve and homemade, from gourmet flavors to a dip cone, to wild sundae combinations with optional whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry. (Yes, please!)

The ice cream flavors are different from back in the day. These are a touch more creative.

It's no wonder that in Malone, all roads do lead to Bokie's.

Find a place to stay nearby. Find more dining. Find all our family attractions.

This week in related ADK news:

A total eclipse

Up with the sun

Plan on us!

Boreal backroads

Paddle fever

Nice and easy

View-tastic drives


Add new comment

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

E-Newsletter Signup Form