10 fast food burgers you will never eat again
Take a beefy bite out of the past.
Image: Sandy's / YouTube
Who doesn't love a burger? We'll be honest with you — making this list set off a craving. We had to stop midway through and grill up a patty for lunch.
Alas, that Beyond Burger could not quite capture the feeling of biting into these burgers from the past. Some of them we had. Some of them we can now only dream about.
Which was your favorite? What other burgers do you miss?
1. The Big Shef
We begin at Burger Chef, the chain that decided to curiously call its namesake burger the "Shef." Two all-beef patties, golden melted cheese, garden-fresh lettuce, special sauce on a toasted triple-decker bun. The description sounded a good deal like the Big Mac jingle. Those who ate both settle the debate — which was better?
2. Druther's Burger
"I'd ruther go to Druther's," the commercial campaigns declared. The franchise that began as Burger Queen — no relation to the King — rebranded itself nationally in 1981, the year this here burger was shown in a TV ad. Like any self-respecting burger chain, Druther's had a mascot, Andy Dandytale, a banjo-plucking vagabond with a feather in his cap.
3. The Big Barney
Mayberry and Flintstone fans might have flocked to bite into the "Big Barney," Red Barn's version of the Big Mac. Actually, the pioneering, farm-themed chain introduced the Big Barney a few years before the Big Mac. Likewise, Burger Chef introduced its "Fun Meal" before McDonald's came up with its Happy Meal. Remember the innovators!
4. The Ollieburger
Lum's was best known for its hot dog cooked in beer, a nostalgic meal so fondly remembered it got its own scene in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman. The Florida-based chain had more unique flavors. The Ollieburger, a recipe whipped up by Ollie Gleichenhaus, who was pitched as sort of the Colonel Sanders of hamburgers, mixed "23 herbs and spices from all over the world" into its patty. The stuff was so intoxicating, there are websites today offering the seasoning for sale.
5. The Big Scot
Sandy's, "home of the plaid beret," carried a Scottish highlands theme, much like the fictional McDowell's in Coming to America. The Big Scot, like the Big Barney and the Big Shef, was a Big Mac–like triple-bunned beheamoth.
6. The Hi-Lo
We're doubling up on Sandy's, the star of our image at the top of this post, as the Midwestern favorite served up another burger that continues to linger in our tastebud memories. Speaking of doubling up, the "Mighty" Hi-Lo lured customers with its two patties, cheese oozing in between. "Come as you are…hungry," the slogan proclaimed… perhaps influencing Nirvana?
Image: Eastern Iowa
7. Wetson's Superburger
"2 Big W's for 79¢!" Two Superburgers! That's a full pound of hamburger for less than a buck. Ah, the day of buying meals with change…
Image: Long Island '70s Kid
8. The Little Boy Blue
With its sherbet orange and teal color scheme, "HoJo's" holds a place as perhaps the most beloved bygone restaurant in Americana. It helped that the hotel chain's restaurant served up 28 flavors of ice cream — and not ones you might expect. We're talking Burgundy Cherry, Buttercrunch, Frozen Pudding, Fruit Salad, Lemon Stick and Pineapple, just to name a few. Anyway… this is a burger list, right. The "Little Boy Blue," the namesake dish of the chain's kid mascot, was a deconstructed burger for future Atkin's dieters. It was a grilled hamburger patty served with mashed potatoes and vegetable (peas, often). Okay, there was roll, too. And that ice cream on the side! Bonus: the menu turned into a basecall cap!
9. The Samburger Jr.
The most unique burger on this list comes courtesy of Sambo's. It's hard for this image to do justice to the scale of this tiny little treat. The fact that it cost a mere quarter in 1980 gives away its diminutive size. Check out the commercial for a better look. The bun has the circumference of a squash ball.
10. The Mr. Steak Burger
This child actor is going to town on this Mr. Steak burger in a 1981 commercial. You can't teach acting like that. He's in heaven. The ad for the steakhouse chain had some spiel about offering "burgers for the kids," but c'mon, adults love burgers, too, Mr. Steak.
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The Hulaburger (McDonald's)
The McFeast (McDonald's)
Arch Deluxe (McDonald's)
And it wasn't.
Maybe the words hork, spew or blow chunks paint a better picture.
From my perspective as someone who drives third-party food delivery, I'll let you in on a little secret: Jack in the Box has some pretty decent egg rolls. They're sold by the each, or in a three-pack, the three-pack costs less than buying two at the single price, and although the menu considers them "sides", three of those egg rolls is enough food to count as a full meal.
I think Wetsons got bought out by another burger chain.
Brown has been brought by a friend to Ollie's Restaurant on 23rd Street near Liberty Avenue (also on Miami Beach) and he was smitten by the unique taste of an Ollieburger.
According to Ollie Gleichenhaus [whom I used to chat with on numerous occasions until his passing], the "million dollar contract" he'd signed with Brown never came to any real fruition, but he had a ball traveling around as the company spokesperson.
Brown eventually sold Lums to an Austrian entrpreneur who introduced his Weinerwald roaster chicken, but poor management eventually spelled the demise of the chain. Former franchise holders were allowed to keep the Lums name, but one restaurant near downtown Miami had actually reversed the name an called itself "Smul"... Sadly, there are no more Lums left.
For the uninformed, Neba's was a South Florida chain that emulated Arby's. The very first one [I believe] was located on Hollywood Circle. The roast beef sandwiches were bland and tasteless, but their potato tots were great... hadn't thought about them in YEARS!