Road Food

Jane and Michael Stern, Roadfood

Hires Big H is an eager-to-please fast-food restaurant the likes of which have virtually disappeared everywhere else in America. “If for any reason you are not satisfied with the food, drink, or service, please contact your server or the manager,” the menu says. We have not ever considered such a move, because the food, drinks, and service at the Big H have never failed to satisfy. For what it attempts to be and to do, this restaurant is perfect.

The menu is a drive-in bill of fair: a long list of hamburgers including a New York H (garnished with grilled onions), a Danish H (with a slice of ham), a Roquefort H, a Pastrami H, and a Big H, which is garnished with lettuce, tomato, special sauce, and cheese. There is even a Harvest H, a patty made entirely of vegetables for meat-frowners. The bun on which Big H burgers are served is gentle-tempered sourdough with a floury top (as opposed to what the combative menu describes as “some preservative-enhanced, wilted crust studded with obnoxious seeds”). Extra-cost options include bacon, grilled onions, a side of pickles, a side of mayonnaise, or the deluxe treatment (lettuce and tomato, if your sandwich of choice doesn’t already have them).

Beyond burgers, the Big H menu has a variety of choices that are expertly made. The grilled cheese sandwich is a jim-dandy (and we are real fussbudgets about grilled cheese sandwiches!); the BLT is an unassuming masterpiece; and the country club with cranberries is worthy of a tea room kitchen: white turkey meat with crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cranberry sauce on good toast. Also noteworthy is the grilled lemon chicken sandwich, another dish that is a cut above the drive-in setting in which it is served.

On the side of whatever H hamburger or sandwich suits your fancy, you want French fries or onion rings. Both are available with dipping sauce reminiscent of French dressing; the potatoes can be ordered with a mantle of homemade chili and melted cheese.

To drink, we recommend root beer, which comes in five sizes, from “baby” to “large.” Of course there are root beer floats, milk shakes, and freezes; or you can sip a limeade or a marshmallow-chocolate malt.

Jane and Michael Stern, Roadfood, June 28, 2007.

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