On Tuesday, as part of our road-trip across America’s western states, we had cause to stop at a quintessentially American establishment – a hamburger stand.
This particular one was in Buena Vista, Colorado – and has been there since 1955.
The burger I had was good, the fish-and-chips Shirley had was also not bad – but the ambience was the thing.
Unlike Starbucks, which asks your name with your order, at Ks they allocate you a name.
I was given Leonard Nimoy on my order – the woman behind was Steve Martin.
But the guy behind her seemed a little flummoxed when told his order would be ready when they called out Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He looked as if he would have been more comfortable with Hank Williams Junior.
I had to wait in a queue for about five minutes to get served by the single harried clerk behind the counter – and then another 10 minutes to get the food, prepared by the single harried cook on duty.
But we were told by a regular customer that its not unusual for the queue to stretch along the street and around the corner, so popular is this place.
So here’s a question: If I was to ask you who invented the hamburger stand, as we know it today, most people would say McDonalds .. but they’d be wrong.
In fact, that honour probably belongs to the White Castle chain – who predated the McDonald brothers by a decade or more.
Of course, with the success of White Castle and McDonalds came imitators – like Big Boy, and White Tower, and Kewpies.
But it was in the 50s – with the rise of an increasingly mobile teenage population – that burger stands became synonymous with Middle America.
So powerful is the icon that movies like American Graffiti (set in and around a burger joint) seem almost like documentary rather than fiction.
And so, today’s #travel pic – a random Buena Vista Burger Joint that sums up small-town america to a tea, That’s iced tea, one of the many drinks it had on offer 🙂