So, when I was in Georgia last week I ended up getting stuck in the hotel for dinner while my associates went off with the rental car. Feeling a gurgle or two in the ol' belly, I noticed that across the road there was a Hardee's and decided to give her a whirl (any fastfood anthropologist worth his salt would have done the same).
The first thing that I noticed is they had "mello yello" soda. I have a vague childhood memory of this soda which reinforces my supposition that we used to have Hardee's around these parts (I remember someone singing the Mellow Yellow song at me).
First off, I like their advertising. Something that I have always wanted is for an ambiguous, Greek type god to summon me a hamburger from thin air. This cardboard standee gives me faith that this may or may not happen someday.
Perusing the menu, I decided to order the "6 Dollar Thickburger." I was a bit perplexed when it didn't actually end up costing six dollars... So I inquired of the young register lass as to why the "thickburger" didn't cost 6 bucks (this was in no small part due to the urge to work the term "thickburger" into conversation as many times as possible). The dutiful Hardee's employee replied with a seemingly canned response regarding the fact that the thickburger in question tastes like it should cost 6 bucks...
Anyhow, I don't know about the, "this bag doubles as an air freshener" claim of the bag. Most times bags of burgers sort of smell like farts.
I was, however, impressed by the height and heft of the burger container. The thing was like 4 inches tall.
Opening up the thickburger (that is supposedly worth the sum of 6 American dollars), I was a bit impressed by the appearance. It had that wax paper wrapping that I have been taught by numerous burger joints' marketing should imply quality.
But seriously folks, for a burger from an apparent "fast food" joint, this one is no joke. The vegetable toppings are fairly fresh looking (the pickles are especially nice) and the bun is a bit of a cut above the usual suspects.
The actual burger patty has a surprising amount of crustiness on it and the whole sandwich is a textural success. I am a vehement anti-mayonaise type, but the accompanying ketchup/mustard slather countered a bit of the mayonaise nastiness. All in all this burger is head and shoulders above a McD's/B-King's type offering (but falls well short of a Five Guy's or the like).
Have I mentioned the shakes? Hardee's has "hand dipped" shakes, i.e. it isn't some strange milkshake mix. They actually use an ingredient that approximates ice cream (it is, at the very least, scoopable). I had no problems with the milkshake, it was delicious.
Anyhow, I think I was a little bit impressed by Hardee's. I was expecting a standard fastfood experience but had something that hovered a bit above the norm. I guess if you absolutely have to have a drive thru meal, you could do a lot worse than Hardee's. In any event, I think that the experience made me a more well rounded fastfood anthropologist.