Being a teacher, sometimes there were days that were harder than most. This happens when I teach too much theoretical concepts and not practical chemistry. Too many theories to put in my head and when my students ask for me to explain harder concepts, it really can get your head pounding. Days like that, I tend to spend my lunch walking. On days I need a pick-me-up to get me enthusiastic and exuberant to go on another hour and a half of teaching, I go seek a good burger close to the school. I always go to Johnny’s Hamburger.
Johnny’s Hamburgers have been in operation for decades. This place did not cower despite having two major hamburger franchises within walking distance. Quite impressive feat in my opinion. Its façade of orange-painted building screamed retro. The restaurant, although spacious and wider than most, was setup in a to-go fashion. It would not be unusual to see people eating in their cars (which I sometimes do) or take a quick stop by the few picnic tables at the back of the building. Inside, one would be greeted by an ordering counter and an open-concept kitchen. A bench lined the floor-to-ceiling glass windows letting people wait for charbroiled hamburgers. Faded signs, the kind with letters slipped in holders adorned atop the ordering counter, reminding me of franchise chains back in my Manila when I was a teenager. To someone else, the faded sign might be begging for a makeover. I tend to disagree with that sentiment as I find it does add to the testament that they have lasted a long time.
I ordered my hamburger with a side of onion rings and a large Diet Coke (which by present standards might be sized as small elsewhere). It was amazing that the package just cost me $7 after taxes. If I ordered fries, I might have chipped a loonie off my bill. The same quality of a burger would cost more than $10 just for the burger. If you plan to check it out, factor in a few minutes. Each time I go there, no matter what the time, there were always about 5 – 10 people ahead of me. The service was always efficient and swift. But it would be prudent not to treat it like a small business. This place have generations of loyal patrons.
Just like old times I topped my burger with tomatoes, pickles, relish, fried onions and a good dollop of ketchup and mayonnaise. And just like old times, each bite pacified and guaranteed me a smile. Moist with the aroma of fresh grilled hamburger, I enjoyed another burger yet again. Never fails to pick me up. Just the kind of comfort I need to go back and grill my brain for another round of geek and chemistry.