Editor's note: Burgermeisters! Here's another excerpt from George Motz's book Hamburger America. George and his publisher were kind enough to allow us to run them here, along with George's beautiful photos. Eat up!
"It's a special cheese, but that's all I can tell you," Michael the manager smiled. Michael started working at the Shady Glen over two decades ago as a dishwasher. “At twenty-two years, I’m still the new kid on the block.”
I stood by the grill and watched closely—the cheese, which looked like a house-sliced mild cheddar, really does not stick. One of the grill men offered some shaky science, "The carbon, uh, buildup on the griddle over the years acts sort of like Teflon." I think he’s right.
I had a hard time trying to figure out what do with my cheese wings once I had my burger in front of me. Two guys sitting near us at the counter had opposing views. One told me, "Fold the crisps onto the burger and eat it that way." "Not me,” said the other, "I like to break them off and eat them separately."
At first I was concerned about the large mural that spans the entire West end of the restaurant. It depicts strange elves having a picnic of burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream. As I left the restaurant I looked again at the mural and fully understood its significance—the Shady Glen is a necessary fantasy. I hope it never goes away.
840 East Middle Turnpike, Manchester CT 06040 860-649-4245 Mon. to Thurs., 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Fri. to Sat., 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Hamburger America is available at Amazon and comes with a DVD of George's movie of the same title.
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