Wimpy Mega Burger an Endangered Classic in Fast-Food Design

The genius of the Wimpy Mega Burger may not by immediately apparent to those of you grew up with and later grew weary of that national chain of fast-food hamburger bars.

But to an American introduced to the uncertain charms of Wimpy 57 years after its launch on Coventry Street in London and decades past its sell-by date this Mega achievement stands out like yellow mustard on a white shirt collar. Behold a monument in modernist fast-food design: The cheeseburger hot dog cohabitation.This particular Mega, prepared at the Wimpy in Shadwell, one of London’s few surviving Wimpys, had its meats inverted. The notched bracelet of all-pork, hot dog-like sausage – famously known as the Bender – is meant to be positioned atop the beef burger, not beneath it.

Even so, the structural flip-flop did not diminish what enjoyment I experienced from eating this cheeseburger hot dog for the first and possibly the last time. After sampling the Wimpy Quarterpounder with only cheese, fresh lettuce and the “original delicious ‘Special Sauce'” the easy crunch of the Bender segments came as a welcome distraction from the unsucculence of the drab burger patty.

If you carefully examine the two photos below of the Wimpy at 28 Watney Market (near the Shadwell tube station) you may be able to detect a few subtle differences. The pic at left was snapped by me a few weeks ago. The pic at right was found today on the Wimpy website.


The website photo is slugged “awaiting store” and likely reflects Wimpy’s ongoing plans for a corporate rebrand with a more contemporary image. Sadly this facelift may wipe out the Mega Burger, which is no longer amongst the burger options on the company website. Indeed, the inverted appearance of my Mega might well have been interpreted as a cry for help.

 

About Daniel

Food critic and events leader Daniel Young is the "Young" behind young&foodish

Comments

  1. Chris Green says:

    We still have a Wimpy in Ruislip. It’s actually very nice, and the restaurant seems to get a complete refit about every 2 and a half years.

    Currently it’s a very nice place, more on a par with a Gourmet Burger Kitchen, with lots of booths, leather armchairs around free-standing tables, big screen TVs showing rolling news and always very clean.

    As everything is cooked to order from recognisable ingredients, it is still my preference over BK or McDs at the low end of the fast food market by a long way.

  2. Lady Vélo says:

    There used to be a Wimpy in Stratford shopping centre – absolutely loved going there at lunch time when I was in Secondary School & was heartbroken when it closed down. I revisited a Wimpy (the one by the Seafront in Portsmouth) – sadly it wasn’t as nice as I remembered…

  3. grobelaar says:

    When I were a lad (affects Northern accent)… I used to see those bendy, sliced up sausage buns on the Wimpy menu board, I think it might also have had one of those entirely too perfect looking plastic fried eggs on top too, and I wanted one, I always wanted to try it.

    But I grew up in an era when the trip to the big town and accompanying treat meal at McDonalds or Wimpy happened but once or twice a year and your choice was usually cheese or no cheese, and soda or milkshake. Mum and/or Dad would then go get the food.

    Perhaps I have to get in quick and try one before it becomes a cous cous bar or something.

  4. Marc says:

    A Seaside trip to Southend a couple of weeks ago triggered a nostalgic memory of Wimpy.
    Seeing a branch there but with no time to check it out then conversations of special burger sauce and knickerbocker glorys and bender sausages took me back to the 70’s when I was a kid.
    Apparently a branch still survives in Wembley, Middlesex though my childhood branch in Ealing, West London is no longer.
    I do fear my fond half-pounder memories will be shattered by a revisit but it still may have to be done…

  5. Ben says:

    Marc- there is indeed a Wimpy still in Wembley not too far from the station.

  6. Swedish Mike says:

    There’s also a Wimpy in Marlow. I have it from good source that you can eat from proper plates with proper cutlery there too.

    // Mike

  7. Mr Noodles says:

    I have a soft spot for Wimpy. Not so much for the burgers, but for the desserts. Knickerbocker glory, banana longboat and ice cream floats all bring back childhood memories of eating in Wimpy in Manchester’s Arndale Centre.

  8. Darth says:

    Wimpy was bought by Famous Brands the South African franchise holder.

    The new look stores look just like the 500 or so Wimpy stores here in SA.

    I presume the UK menu will follow suit.

    http://www.wimpy.co.za/newMenu/wimpy_menu/index.html

Speak Your Mind

*