I have a sudden urge to yell, “Oh my God! There’s a hole in your restaurant,” as I walk into the Oasis Drive Thru. Why am I walking through the drive thru? Because I’ve made a rookie mistake and parked my car outside Oasis and strolled in on my own two feet. From the surprised look on owner LeAnn Koert’s face and the steady stream of pick up trucks rolling in and out, I gather that walking is simply not done here.
It’s too late to get back into my car, so a friend and I shuffle around the Oasis awkwardly. It’s a simple place really, a snack shop built into the front piece of one of those hollow, metal industrial park buildings. Auto repair shops and other nondescript businesses fill out the rest of the structure.
Inside, the Oasis is split right down the middle. Along either wall stand-up commercial coolers hold six packs, cases of beer and sodas, and a register on the left is surrounded by salty or sweet snack options: packaged cookies, bags of chips, roasted nuts. A large empty tracks runs down the center between two open garage doors, and one by one, trucks filled with men who make a living with their hands pull in to stock up on cigarettes and maybe a few icy cans of beer to help beat the midday swelter.
The menu at the Oasis Drive Thru is limited: a breakfast sandwich, a few varieties of pastry, a bbq pork sandwich, chili, chili dog, pizza, hot dogs and brats. Under the brief list the Oasis’ slogan is written in big red letters: “ice cold BEER, it’s not just for BREAKFAST any more.”
Although I gather quickly that food is not what draws people to this funny little store, my friend and I are hungry and decide to eat anyway. Koert prepares our orders, scooping a generous helping of bbq pulled pork onto a hamburger bun ($2.00) for me and grabbing a tin foil wrapped brat ($2.50) and a cup of chili ($2.00) for my friend.
Koert, her husband, Bob, and brother in law, Ed, bought the Oasis just a few months ago from its original owner. Altogether it’s been hidden away of Airport Pulling Road for almost 11 years.
The convenience of the drive thru is double, I realize, when I look around for somewhere to eat. As virtually all the customers buy without even turning off the engine, there are no picnic tables, benches or chairs at the Oasis. We grab a shady patch of grass on the edge of the parking lot and sit down to lunch.
The food itself is more or less what we expect. The bbq pork is effortlessly moist, drenched in a sweet, tangy bbq sauce that finishes with a kick of heat. The store bought bun, doesn’t add any flavor, but does soak up the sauce, and I lick my fingers with the last bite. My friend says his chili and brat are both unremarkable but good, especially for $5, he adds enthusiastically.
Everything included, our food and two bottles of Arizona green tea sets us back just $10.50. We’ve come in under our $15 per person budget and fed two people.
The beauty of Oasis Drive Thru doesn’t end with the prices, though. It’s in the endearingly low cost decorations, the hand written signs and taped on prices. This is one old school joint that’s not bending to the gourmet trends. But if you want to pick up a few cold ones, fill your cooler for free and grab a snack without leaving the comfort of your vehicle’s air conditioned interior, the Oasis may be just what you’ve been looking for.
Want to go? Oasis Drive Thru, 3406 Enterprise Ave., Naples. 239.403.9898