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Wally's Burgers, Vancouver

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Posted by : Guest Blogger, Fri, Mar 28 2008

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Wally's Burgers is a Vancouver landmark. While it may not look like much of a happenin' joint today, back in its hey-day it was quite the hot spot. With its blinking kitschy neon sign, Wally's was a draw for teenagers and cruising and hot rods when it first opened its doors in 1962 and it remains one of the last vestiges of the drive-in culture that was so common on Kingsway (the old highway into Vancouver).

Ask anyone who grew up here and they'll tell you stories about eating a Deluxe Wagon Burger after softball practice and how their parents ate here as teenagers. But now the hulking neon sign that beaconed Vancouverites seems dwarfed by all the developments sweeping a construction-crazed city. Wally's Burgers is a leftover drive-in restaurant from a bygone era and at the end March, it closes its doors for good.

After reading this article in the Vancouver Sun, I decided that I had to visit Wally's Burgers one last time.

I didn't grow up in Vancouver, so I don't have those warm fuzzy memories of gravity-defying chocolate malteds or greasy cheeseburgers. I did go to Wally's a couple of years ago for a burger and fries. I don't remember the food being particularly memorable, but it was the experience of visiting a true slice of Vancouver history that I was seeking. You see, I'm a sucker for vintage kitch and Wally's is chock full.

The famous Wally's sign has faded and the small green shack that makes up the restaurant looks a bit worse for wear, however this isn't a place without charm. Inside are a couple of tables and there is only one counter window for ordering. While I swoon over the pink and blue tiled counter and all the old fixtures, this time, I remind myself, I've got to pay at least some attention to the food.

There is a veggie burger on the menu, but don't be a fool. At Wally's, a veggie burger is a fried egg on a bun with relish. Vegans, look the other way! My husband decides on the double-patty beast known as the Deluxe Wagon (the most expensive thing on the menu at $4.05), while I go for the single patty Bacon Burger ($3.10). We also order a box of fries and two Dr. Peppers. The meal is made to order so we sit down to wait. Despite arriving on a weekday in the middle of the afternoon and well after the lunch rush and before dinner begins, Wally's had a steady stream of customers. We're not the only ones in for one last taste. When we finally dig into our burgers, I'm surprised at just how tasty it is. The burger doesn't fall apart into one giant greasy mess and I'm especially taken with the quality of the bun: golden, flakey and tender all at once.

Our meal was a great value and the burgers were good. It's unfortunate that in the mad rush to put up more condos, this Vancouver landmark will bite the dust. Wally's, you will be missed.

Jeannette Ordas is a Vancouver-based Web Designer and Food Blogger who is probably right now thinking about what she'll make for dinner.

 


Posted: Fri, Mar 28 2008 by Guest Blogger

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