the Hinkleburger


I lost my debit card, Am Ex card, faculty i.d. and driver’s license last weekend.  My wallet had a ripped pocket and I think everything fell out somewhere in the farmer’s market.  I have enough faith in the friendly small-town experience that I kept waiting for someone to get in touch… but no dice.  To the 19 year-old who tries to use my i.d. to buy beer or get into clubs, TOO BAD FOR YOU that I’m a bald 40-year-old.  (Although if the truth be told, when I was 19 I had some 35 year old’s i.d. which did generally work to get me in to see bands… but of course, I was already starting to go bald: Q.E.D.)

Anyway, I had to drive to the West side to go to the B.M.V., which is really not too much of a pain here — it took me about 15 minutes and $10 to get the new license.  On the way home I realized that it was approaching noon and that I was going to drive by Hinkle’s Hamburgers, so I just had to stop.

Hinkle’s has been around since 1930:

Hinckle’s Hamburgers is a revered Bloomington eatery whose straightforward motto is “We Grind Our Meat Fresh Daily.” Famous for its burgers, Hinkle’s has grilled the “Hinkleburger”, a burger consisting of fresh ground chuck, fresh onions, pickles, salt and pepper, since opening in the 1930’s.

I try to eat only locally farmed/non-industrial meat, and I tend to doubt that describes what Hinkle offers, but I have to make an exception for the Hinkleburger.  They pop this little ball of meat on the grill and press sliced onions into the ball, so the onions get grilled into and with the meat.  Delicious!  Another trademark of the place is that they usually serve your food to you in little paper bags, even if you’re eating there.  (This is represented in the iconic “guy holding two paper bags full of burgers” on their t-shirts.)

A lady in her 70s or so was manning the counter.  Two dudes were ordering burgers.  “Onions and pickles?” she asked and the first guy said no apologetically.  “Weak, weak, weak,” she muttered, if I heard her correctly.  Then the next guy said “I’m going to be a wimp too,” and she said disapprovingly, “wimpy, wimpy wimpy.”  I was pleased to be able to be a man and get the onions and pickles.

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