Writers’ Workshop: My Favorite Restaurant

I know it’s hard to believe, but my favorite restaurant while growing up was Burger Chef.

Image via fortunecity.com

My dad was a teacher (one of those corrupt union-card-waving, pension-grabbing, non-Social Security-receiving evil citizens who has ruined the American economy with their greed). Twice a month my dad got paid, and we went grocery shopping and had a romantic family dinner. At Burger Chef.

Despite my current frustration with the anti-teacher rhetoric — really, do you want me to take another job and let YOU take care of your fourteen-year-old monster for eight hours a day?– I respected my dad’s job. In fact, I wanted to be just like him, and most days, I try to be as good of a teacher as he was.

There was something special about not having to cook on payday Fridays. I know my mom enjoyed it and so did we. The succulent grease of the hamburger in the buttery bun was intoxicating, and the crispy French fries hot from the deep-fryer practically made my knees give way. It was a far cry from the frozen or canned peas and green beans out of our stash from the luxurious garden-fresh summer months. Every chicken we ate in the winter I had known personally. Burger Chef was a release from the drudgery of trying to feed five hungry mouths on a salary that wasn’t enough to comfortably maintain our household. I didn’t really understand how poor we were in monetary terms until I become an adult.

Image credit: Got My Reservations

Yet, we didn’t feel poor. My brothers and I shared a warm and rich family structure that allows us now as adults to remain good friends. I don’t even know if they remember Burger Chef Fridays, but for me, the foray into the world of fast food on occasion is a cherished memory of family fun.

This post is linked up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. Take a little trip over there to read a few more stories, and don’t forget to give some comment love while you’re there!

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10 responses

  1. The anti-teacher rhetoric drives me batty, too. Sorry folks, but my daughter’s underpaid teachers are who make her a functional human being. My issues with public schools have nothing to do with teachers and everything to do with a screwball system. I love that your favorite restaurant was BK! Even at fast food prices it was probably a stretch to feed five people on a teacher’s salary, though.

    1. Thanks for commenting! We teachers keep hearing about our system that everyone seems to think has problems, but we’re unconvinced that breaking the union is the solution to the problems. I’d like to start with realistic testing that actually makes sense for both the student and the teacher. Linking a teacher’s evaluation to how a student does on a standardized test goes against all scientific principles. Once in the privacy of their testing booklet, students forget much of what they learned recently and revert to older, more ingrained habits. Thus we are testing and evaluating on old news with too many variables. I think it will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few years. Remember when we taught phonics, and then we didn’t, and now we do again…

  2. I remember that chain! I always thought my town had the only one…LOL!

    1. I didn’t do much research on Burger Chef, but the one we went to wasn’t the only one in Dayton. Thanks for commenting, and I hope you’ll come back to visit again!

  3. We didn’t have any chains in our little town – but we did frequent the Roe-Ann Drive-In, and just like you I cherish those memories.

    I am waiting for my Alcott bio’s to arrive – hopefully this week – they will be the first thing I read.

    1. I did the Alcott video this weekend. I’ll be writing about that soon. We had a Dairy Queen in my small town where everyone met on summer evenings. I heard recently that it was closing and that the new owners were not going to sell ice cream. Boo.

  4. Jennie, I love reading about family memories and pieces of Americana that are part of a bygone era. I enjoyed learning something new about you that I had never known before. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Kelly. I know where you grew up…

  5. […] from Mama Kat’s coming by to visit. My eight line post with photos was popular, as was my story about going to Burger Chef for our family night out. Given the bundle that I just spent for a fantastic family dinner in downtown Chicago, it […]

  6. […] father was a man ahead of his time. I’ve talked about him here and here and here. Sadly, he passed away in 2009, and got rid of his computer about 2004 when he could no longer see […]

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