Review: Health Camp draws memories, flavor

Dr Pepper is the drink of choice and it is served over snow cone-like ice piled in a plastic cup.

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

Just off the famous circle in Waco sits the most ironic restaurant in town: Health Camp.

Since 1948, greasy burgers and thick milkshakes have been served at this establishment.

Pulling up to Health Camp is almost like going back in time, the structure and writing on the windows like that of a drive-in burger joint from “Grease.”

Health Camp is busier during the lunch hour, but the neon green lights tracing the rectangular border of the roof beckon to cars in the evening hours.

As you enter Health Camp, a small bell on the back of the door announces your entrance and music from the jukebox across the room greets you with a country twang.

Booths in yellow, orange and brown are set up on the floor under a square of halogens.

The atmosphere itself takes you back to your Little League days and the burgers eaten to console your broken heart and the ice cream cones to celebrate your success.

Immediately to your right as you walk in is the counter where place your order. One of the few individuals working will place it for you.

There is not much service as they try to clean off the abandoned tables every 30 minutes.

The paper menu is taped to the wooden counter, consisting of burgers, grilled cheeses, grilled chicken sandwiches, corn dogs and hot dogs.

Escorting them to your growling stomach are fries, onion rings and tater tots.

A burger and fries combo is $6.99, but you have to add $1.42 for something to wash it down with.

Dr Pepper is the drink of choice and it is served over snow cone-like ice piled in a plastic cup.

In the 10 minutes it takes for your burger to be cooked, photos of Baylor from decades past and portraits of Texas drive-ins from the late 1920’s demand your attention at the restaurant.

If you have a pair of quarters burning a hole in your pocket and the urge to control the 1950s version of iTunes, the jukebox provides many options — although the songs are mostly country — to serenade the room.

Once your number is called from the counter, a burger and fries on a tray are under your nose, daring you to go ahead and eat.

Hunts ketchup bottles, no more than halfway full, sit in pairs on each table.

These fresh, never frozen, patties surrounded by vegetables and condiments snug in a bun take you back to your favorite summertime memory.

The fries are never soggy and the onion rings have just the right crunch to them.

As the last bit of burger is eaten, a large choice awaits the customer: which milkshake to get.

Thirty-four options await, ranging from the three classics to more unique options like s’more or coffee.

If the customers bring their own bananas, they can have their own banana split with seven topping options — an ironic addition for a place that goes by the title Health Camp.

If you’re looking to escape reality and take a trip down memory lane, Health Camp is the place to go.