Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Beefy Taste of Self-Loating: I Ate the 6 Dollar Thickburger at Hardee's (Milkshake Too)

So, when I was in Georgia last week I ended up getting stuck in the hotel for dinner while my associates went off with the rental car. Feeling a gurgle or two in the ol' belly, I noticed that across the road there was a Hardee's and decided to give her a whirl (any fastfood anthropologist worth his salt would have done the same).

The first thing that I noticed is they had "mello yello" soda. I have a vague childhood memory of this soda which reinforces my supposition that we used to have Hardee's around these parts (I remember someone singing the Mellow Yellow song at me).

First off, I like their advertising. Something that I have always wanted is for an ambiguous, Greek type god to summon me a hamburger from thin air. This cardboard standee gives me faith that this may or may not happen someday.

Perusing the menu, I decided to order the "6 Dollar Thickburger." I was a bit perplexed when it didn't actually end up costing six dollars... So I inquired of the young register lass as to why the "thickburger" didn't cost 6 bucks (this was in no small part due to the urge to work the term "thickburger" into conversation as many times as possible). The dutiful Hardee's employee replied with a seemingly canned response regarding the fact that the thickburger in question tastes like it should cost 6 bucks...

Anyhow, I don't know about the, "this bag doubles as an air freshener" claim of the bag. Most times bags of burgers sort of smell like farts.

I was, however, impressed by the height and heft of the burger container. The thing was like 4 inches tall.

Opening up the thickburger (that is supposedly worth the sum of 6 American dollars), I was a bit impressed by the appearance. It had that wax paper wrapping that I have been taught by numerous burger joints' marketing should imply quality.

But seriously folks, for a burger from an apparent "fast food" joint, this one is no joke. The vegetable toppings are fairly fresh looking (the pickles are especially nice) and the bun is a bit of a cut above the usual suspects.

The actual burger patty has a surprising amount of crustiness on it and the whole sandwich is a textural success. I am a vehement anti-mayonaise type, but the accompanying ketchup/mustard slather countered a bit of the mayonaise nastiness. All in all this burger is head and shoulders above a McD's/B-King's type offering (but falls well short of a Five Guy's or the like).

Have I mentioned the shakes? Hardee's has "hand dipped" shakes, i.e. it isn't some strange milkshake mix. They actually use an ingredient that approximates ice cream (it is, at the very least, scoopable). I had no problems with the milkshake, it was delicious.

Anyhow, I think I was a little bit impressed by Hardee's. I was expecting a standard fastfood experience but had something that hovered a bit above the norm. I guess if you absolutely have to have a drive thru meal, you could do a lot worse than Hardee's. In any event, I think that the experience made me a more well rounded fastfood anthropologist.


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  2. I love Hardees but haven't been there in years. Their marketing improved considerably when they merged with Carl's Jr. (they're known for their amusing commercials in the SW). I miss Hardee's for their awesome breakfasts (although I think they discontinued their raisin sad), roast beef and even fried chicken.

  3. I think Hardees borrowed the Fried Chicken and Roast Beef from Roy Rogers when they took it over. I think the chain improved a lot when Carls Jr took over. To be honest, from everythign I have heard, they were known for being particularly bad prior to incorporating the Roy Rogers menu and then being purchased by Carls Jr. I am definitely a fan of the food they serve today.

  4. i, too, am anti-mayo, in general. it must be mixed with enough other stuff in order to be palatable... but this may be the ketchup-addict in me, i prefer the tart sweetness to offset the fattiness of (even) a veg burger, rather than add to the fatty taste inherent of the burger itself, as unheretical as that may seem. then again the fact that i can suck on heinz ketchup packets sans Real Food Item may disqualify me from an unbiased opinion.


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