Steak 'N Shake is like a hybrid fast food/sit-down restaurant. There's a drive through window, but a hostess who seats you inside and waiters and waitresses and real plates and silverware inside.
Each time we have gone there, we were greeted with enthusiasm by the hostess and seated without much delay. But this enthusiasm decreased the longer we stayed there. Our waiter happily took our order, was a little sluggish getting us our drinks, and then gone for an unusually long time before our food was delivered.
One of the features of Stake 'N Shake is its open kitchen in the middle of the store. You can watch your hamburger turn from a ball of ground steak to a done burger in ninety seconds, the advertised length of time it takes to cook their steakburgers. The cook moves around with ease and skill, expertly managing the assembly line of burgers and hot dogs, and I suppose chicken every now and then.
The odd thing about all this showmanship is that each time we have eaten there, our food had become merely warm by the time it made it to our table. I am sure that at one point the burgers were hot and juicy and the fries were hot and crispy, but when they were presented to us, they had cooled considerably and the experience was like that of a church picnic or family buffet - barely warm enough to keep us from complaining.
On the positive side, if we didn't order a $3 shake or $1.50 soda, our family of five could eat at a sit down restaurant for about $25, and that includes tax and tip. It's tough to escape McDonald's and Chick Fil-A for such a low cost, and at those restaurants you must bus your own dishes.
Still, the overall disappointment of three lukewarm meals will probably keep me from going back to Steak 'N Shake.