Viking Drive-In - Go Meet Eric and the Hendersons
Like most burgershacks, the Viking Drive-In has at least one burger named after a person. In this case, their menu features the Eric 1, the Eric 2, the Henderson, and the Baby Henderson. After discovering this, your only quandary is deciding which one of them you absolutely must have.
"Who's Eric?" I asked the gal working the window.
"Eric? You mean the burger? I don't really know. I've only been working here for a couple of weeks."
Thankful for her honesty but disappointed that they didn't cover such important facts in the new employee training, I looked over at the big wooden menu for clues or perhaps divine guidance. That was when the other gal inside the shack tried to save the day.
"He was a guy who liked to eat here and so they named a burger after him, I think," she said.
"Since nobody knows for sure," I said, "is it OK if I make up a story about Eric? Do you think anyone would care?"
"Oh, definitely not," said the first girl.
So here it is. Eric was a second-generation Norwegian-American homebrewer who used to trade a gallon of his homemade mead for a 12-pack of Viking double hamburgers. Over the years he digested so many of the burgers (the Viking owner had many creative ways to dispose of mead, not the least of which was drinking it) that they named the burger after him. Today that burger is known as the Eric 1. Occasionally Eric would bring in some of his special moonshine in gallon jugs marked "Michigan Maple Syrup", and on those days the Viking gals heaped some ham on each burger. Today that burger is known as the Eric 2.
I've discussed my predilection for pig in a previous Burgershackin' article, so for me the Eric 2 was the way to go. If there's one thing that's almost as good as bacon, it's ham. So I ordered the Eric 2, fries, and a chocolate milkshake. Then I waited right at the window for the two nice gals to cook it up.
At this point I must mention something about the Viking: it has a double drive-thru. So before I even got the chance to agonize over which dedicated foodstuff to order, I had to figure out which drive-thru lane to use. Should I go with the one on the right to make it easier to talk to the gal taking the order, or should I go to the one on the left and make my ugly wife do all the work? This is a daily dilemma most men face. In the end, after countless minutes of internal debate, I chose the lane on the right so I could do the talking. After all, there are some things you should never trust your wife with, and one of them is being really nice to female employees so you can maybe get a little extra pig for free.
I must say that the Eric 2 failed to deliver the extra punch I was hoping for. I think I'd add bacon to it next time just to give it that one-two fried pig punch. Overall, the fries were salted nicely and the chocolate milkshake was deliciously suckable, so I was a happy man.
Next time I think I shall summon the courage to inquire about and partake in the Henderson or the Baby Henderson. But this time, even though the menu screamed that both burgers offered ham and bacon, I kept seeing images of Bigfoot when contemplating such a burger. I think it had something to do with the movie Harry and the Hendersons. Think about it. What exactly would Bigfoot bacon taste like? And would Bigfoot ham taste like Jack Link's jerky?
I'll tell you one thing. If the gal at the window can't explain to my satisfaction how the Henderson got its name, John Lithgow's best movie might just find its way into burgershack lore, just like Eric the mead maker.
View Larger Map
|Famous for:||The Eric and the Henderson|
|Is it cheap?||Absolutely|
|Drive thru:||Yep, two of them|
|Outside seating:||A few picnic tables|
|Our rating:||4 pacemakers out of 5|