Burrowed Time

Back booth to the right. That’s where he sits every 3rd Sunday of the month and never misses a day. He orders the same thing too! Single burger, side of fries, a Dr. Pepper and a slice of pie at the end of every meal. He never finishes the fries tho. Or the pie. The pie is only part of his meal that changes. Sometimes it’s apple, custard, chocolate mousse, never the same one two months in a row.

He’s an agreeable man, very kind, quiet and simple. He never really says much. Just sits there every time, eats, takes his time, then eventually moves on. Even leaves a nice tip and waves at the cook goodbye and smiles as he walks out.

One day, a server decides to sit with him after taking his order. He stares at her and smiles slightly.

The server smiles back and says, “Hello sir,” she clasps her hands in front of her and lays them on the table, “I’ve been serving you practically the same meal for several months now and I wondered, why?”

The older man looks passed her and stares at the picture frame. He sighs heavily and places a hand under his chin and thinks about this.

The server turns around and looks at the photo with him. She is about to leave since the silence was so still and long, that she just felt uncomfortable.

“Have you met, your soulmate?” He says, while still looking at the photo on the wall.

“No, sadly I don’t think I have.” The server responds. She turns back to look at the man and sees that he looks a little distressed.

The older gentleman sighs heavily and looks back at the server, “I met my soulmate when I was 5 years old. She was this scrawny little thing with two pigtails and a book in her nose.” He laughs at this memory and looks at his hands, examining them and flexing his fingers.

“After the war when I was 22, I knew I’d come home and marry that girl. And I did. We lived happily ever after.” He now looks over at the cook and she can hear the ding of a new order ready. She is about to get up, but the other server gives her nod and takes over.

The older man looks back at her and cocks his head to the side and smiles at her. “She loved coming here all the time. We’d each get a burger, share some fries and a slice of pie.” He chuckles to himself, “She just loved sweets!’

“We used to guess which flavors you would have in stock before we came in. She was so lucky and would guess the pies almost perfectly!” He bursts out laughing and wipes a few tears from his eyes, “I was convinced she called before we came to ask what pies you had baked that day.”

He wipes a few more tears away, from laughing or the memory, she wasn’t sure. The server smiles back at him and offers him a refill for his drink.

Once she returns with his refill she also brings him the burger and fries he’d ordered. He thanks her and begins eating slowly. Even invites her to sit with him and she looks back at the other server who gives her a nod to say it’s okay.

She gets a cup of iced tea to join him.

The server listens to his stories and notices how he used past tense for his wife. She’s only been working there a year or so and never saw his wife.

At the end of their conversation, she serves him a slice of pumpkin pie with a chocolate crust and lets him enjoy it alone. Once he finishes, he pays and then slowly walks to leave. He looks back at the photo again and then waves at the cook as he walks out.

The server, still curious, goes to the cook at the end of her shift and asks him if he knew the older man. He smiles at her and says, “Oh yea! That’s Will. He comes every month and orders the same thing and sits at the same booth.”

“Yea, I noticed that much. But like, what’s his deal?” She asks while crossing her arms.

The cook stands with his spatula in his hand and thinks about this, “Will is a great guy. Loved his family: especially his wife. Yea, they’d come here all the time. She really liked my burgers.” he smiles at her and flips over some patties on the grill.

“Then she got sick. And he came here and picked up the burgers for a while.” He then looks at the sizzling parties and continues, “When she passed, Will didn’t come in for a while after that. It was a few months before he randomly started to come back. Orders the same thing and eats half; as if they were sharing still.”

The cook finishes up the last of the burgers and leaves them on the shelf and dings the working server.

“That’s them in that photo you know?” He points to booth in the far back , “I think that’s why he comes still, to remember her. Just for little bit.” He shakes his head and smiles sadly.

The server looks back at the painted photo and for the first time really looks at it.

They were two kids holding hands, not knowing a moment was being captured behind them. It was as if young love were truly a thing captured in a simple painting.

The next time Will comes in, the server smiles at him and serves him the same thing. She even sits with him for a while and talks about her son and how night school was going for her. In turn, Will tells her a story of his children or his wife. It became a friendship and something the server looked forward to.


My Personal Review

I love coming to Giant Hamburger! It feels like one of those mom and pop shops in a small town. The location is small, and not a lot of seating, but the food is just AMAZING! The burgers also live up to name; giant.

They are huge in diameter and have large cuts of pickles (if you ask for them) and all the fresh fixings you’re looking for in a homemade burger, but better!! Just be warned, it can get messy because it’s so big, but that’s what adds to it’s charm, I think. The meat is fresh and oh so tender!

The fries are also super tasty and always cooked to the perfect crisp!

I personally order the cheeseburger with pickles and bacon. I once got the grilled onions, and tho it was scrumptious, my hands just let everything slip out so I think I’m not ready for that step.

In the end tho, I think this is an all around good, old fashioned cheeseburger! Nothing fancy. Which is what’s so great about it! Now a days, you’re adding mac and cheese, BBQ sauce, onion rings, aioli etc. All of those things make for an interesting burger, but this place? They just a really, great burger in all its simplicity. Go, and you won’t be disappointed!

Giant Hamburger

2753 E Broadway Rd, Mesa, AZ 85204


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