August 22, 2008
Tuesday night I was driving to meet some friends after work, and because a bridge is out over the freeway I took a different route than I otherwise would have, which meant I came out onto the state highway a block farther north than usual. No big deal, really, except at that intersection I’m rarely at I saw a Culver’s I didn’t even know existed. A Culver’s three blocks from my office. How could I have missed such an important development? Are my fried cheese detectors malfunctioning? Through sheer force of will I managed to make myself drive by this wonderful discovery, but there was no question I was going there for lunch on Wednesday. Today I got around to putting up a picture of my Culver’s cup from that meal as part of the 365+1 project I’m doing on Flickr and thought I might link to an entry here which covers my love for Culver’s, except when I tried to do that, I couldn’t find any such entry. So now I am writing this one to fix that.
So, Culver’s. Best burger restaurant ever. I first saw and ate at one when I was working as a consultant in Portage, Wisconsin in 1998. One visit and I was hooked. The burgers (called ButterBurgers) are juicy and delicious and remind me so much of the ones my dad used to make me when I was growing up. The fact that one can get fried cheese curds as a side sealed the dealâ€”I love me some cheese curds (they sold them at the airport in Madison and many a trip back from Portage found me with a bag in my carryon). And I haven’t even gotten to dessertâ€”they have frozen custard that is so very, very tasty even when it isn’t topped with anything (though of course they’ll do that, tooâ€”turtle sundae, anyone?)
Maybe it’s the Wisconsin in my gene pool that draws me to Culver’s; the chain started there and I did, too (I was conceived in Milwaukee). I stopped working in Portage in early 1999 and for some time I didn’t get to eat any more ButterBurgers, but then I started seeing Culver’s outside of Wisconsin more and more. For a long time, the closest one to me in Michigan was in Jackson, too far to go for just a meal but a must stop whenever I was coming back from visiting my mom in Illinois. (My pre-race dinners before my first two 4Ks were both at that Culver’s.) Then a few opened up in metro Detroit, but very near my usual haunts so I wasn’t tempted constantly. But now that’s changed. Now I know I could hop in my car and have custard in hand in about five minutes. That makes it harder to resist, but I will, at least six days a week, because much as I love Culver’s, I love fitting into my clothes and airline seats, too.