The Chickenburger – July 26th, 2007
The Chickenburger was founded in 1940 and claims to be the oldest drive-in diner in Canada! It was a very lively place on Thursday night – people were swarming for their grease fixings. The acclaimed chickenburger is a small bun with fried chicken on it. No mayo, no mustard, just chicken and bun. Some customers rave about the chickenburger (Vinny ordered two!) while others turn their noses up at the sloppy mélange of dark and white meat and gristle and grease (Shannon). The milkshake is rated number one in Halifax by the Coast, however we found them to be a bit on the thin side – more like flavoured milk. The onion rings are spectacular. Several of us ordered cheeseburgers, the patties are homemade, with a texture a bit looser and greasier than what one would expect, but not bad. In fact it must have been good because there was no opportunity to photograph the food before it was inhaled.
The décor confirms that this is indeed a landmark diner, complete with juke box, neon lights, bar stools and lots of chrome. There are also picnic tables set up outside. The extra seating is welcome because it is such a popular place. One of the downsides of the popularity of the Chickenburger is the marketing machine that lines the entryway with “Chick Gear” ie hats, hoodies and t-shirts with the Chickenburger logo on them.
Another marvel of the Chickenburger is how the teenage staff manages to unite the diners with their orders. Patrons order their meal at one of the tills on the long horseshoe-shaped counter and have to watch carefully for their order to arrive at the other end of the counter a few minutes later. At one point there was a line of disposable cups on the end of the counter. An exasperated young woman hollered to Lise, pointing at the cups “Your drinks!”…It is a chaotic system, but it seems to work fairly efficiently.
It was worth the drive to Bedford because it was fun to see such a hive of activity around mediocre food. In Diner Tuesdays’ opinion the prices were not on par with quality and portion size. In a way, it is more about the theatre and nostalgia than the good eating.