When we asked readers to name the most life-changing burger joint in a poll, we kinda figured the honor would go to one of the bigger chains: Steak 'n Shake, In-N-Out, Five Guys. The others were just outnumbered. Instead, the winner by a huge margin, with 56% of the votes, was Seattle-based Dick's Drive-In, which inspired more vocal burger love than any other place, even from some guy in Florida. (Full results are at the bottom.)
As several commenters pointed out, there's nothing extravagant about Dick's, which has been around the northwest Washington area for 58 years. They serve a simple, cheap burger (a Deluxe double is an astoundingly low $2.70) that people just like. The secrets, according to a spokesperson for Dick's, aren't very secret: The beef patties are "fresh, never frozen, and delivered locally every day," and they use a sauce made of mayonnaise and spiced pickle relish.TOP CHEF SURVEY: The Best Fast Food in America
The people of Dick's said they were "humbled to be listed among these other burger legends," but they might be more humbled by their fans (almost 200,000, on Facebook), who are as voracious about Dick's the local institution as its burgers. The company has collected memories from customers over the years, some on their Web site, but our favorite might be this one from Carrie Clogston in Seattle, about Halloween night in 1987:
"It was 1:50 a.m., 10 minutes before Dick's closed, and my friends and I were in line to catch a late-night burger. A very drunk man came up to me and insisted that he be my boyfriend. Just then four attractive guys got in line behind us. My eyes fell on one in particular, so I grabbed him and said, 'This is my boyfriend!' The guy played right along and even put his arm around me. The drunk man got the message and left. My new 'boyfriend' David asked for my number. We were married in 1991."
Definitely life-changing. If you've got any memories, from Dick's or your own local burger joint, feel free to share them in the comments.(Dick's) Bjorn Giesenbauer/Flickr; (burger) jwalsh/Flickr
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