Named after the major north-south US highway, Route 45 brings the real all American diner experience to Melbourne. It’s a nostalgic highway you can cruise along in comfort, foot heavy on the pedal heading towards damn good times. Located down Cato street in Pran Central, away from the bustle of Chapel street, the huge diner can accommodate any group size—you can fit your whole family and second cousins from Sydney, too. Owner George Stathakopolous knows a thing or two about quality food with successful restaurants such as Bobo’s Diner, in Frankston and 45 Moires, in Athens already under his belt.
With an ethos of making as much possible in-house—even the sauces—George and his team of head chefs deliver fresh, hearty food that you can see and taste. Unlike other regular burger houses that can typically serve greasy takeaway food, Route 45 offers a more refined and modern menu boasting 15 different types of burgers, as well as parmas, ribs, wings, steaks and vegetarian and vegan options. Prahran locals and workers are big fans of the daily happy hour from 4-6pm as well as the $10 lunch specials, Monday to Friday. There’s even a ‘Mini Me’ menu for the kiddies.
We recommend starting a Route 45 feast with some mac and cheese fritters—melt-in-your-mouth fried balls of macaroni, cauliflower and three cheeses—and a serve of Tennessee wings smothered in Jack Daniel’s-spiked maple glaze. Our top burger picks are Jack’s Big Burger—a monstrous stack of two beef patties cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, caramelised onion, egg and more of that mouth-watering Tennessee sauce, topped with a crisp gherkin—and the Southern Fried Chicken Burger with a mammoth fried chicken fillet that barely fits in the seeded bun. Wash it all down with one of their signature shakes, like the NY choc milkshake (tastes like liquid chocolate ice cream) and the salted caramel thick shake—you’ll need two straws to suck, it’s that thick!