For some reason I didn’t understand that Oly Burgers is inside a gas station. As in, inside-inside.
I suppose this is a normal thing to many now, but I’m not sure my brain is capable of processing this many primary colors in conjunction with food. Even when I’m at the gas station to buy gas I often become distracted and leave with a single tube of Necco Wafers instead. Also: I genuinely believed that Washingtonians used the word soda instead of pop to describe a soft drink, but apparently we most assuredly do not. I say soda, I’m pretty sure everyone in my family does. I feel like I’ve had a false memory inserted, like there’s a glitch in the matrix.
So, Oly Burgers. My dad financed a reconnaissance mission after reading that Oly Burgers had fish and chips on their menu, and I was blissfully unaware of any details aside from the word ‘burgers’. Great! I love burgers. Let’s go.
But I’m still having a difficult time with the whole gas station thing. It’s really a gas station, it’s busy and people are buying cigarettes and diesel about 10 feet away from where my tummy rumbles thinking about tater tots. I don’t know what to make of it, to be honest.
There is only one woman working the shop, and she makes my dad anxious by being slightly harried in a good-natured, pleasant but frantic way as she makes burgers, hotdogs and milkshakes for the few people waiting in front of us. I should also add that this isn’t a normal gas station – this is a gas station inside a massive automall. So the other customers, so far, have been car salesmen. I think we can vote out any ambiance appeal, but you know, fuck it. How are the burgers?
Mike the Viking ordered off the South of the Border off the “Specialty Burgers” menu, and –
Wait. The South of the Border includes onion straws, pepperjack cheese and BBQ sauce among the usual other burger flotsam. I call shenanigans. Since when is BBQ sauce a Mexican flavor? Or onion straws? Or pepperjack cheese? Shouldn’t this burger be like jalapenos and nacho cheese? Closer inspection reveals further tomfoolery: the Hawaiian burger has pineapple, yes, but again onion straws, pepperjack cheese and BBQ sauce. The TexMex burger? Onion straws. Pepperjack cheese. Oh, and chili.
I’m just going to let all this slide for the time being.
The Viking’s burger is massive! I’m actually impressed that the ratios of toppings to meat to bun are all pretty solid, if a little regionally challenged. There isn’t too much of any one component. He takes a few big bites and grunts enthusiastically. It is, as he says, a pretty solid “messy burger,” which is the category of burgers that have a lot of shit going on with them.
(Stranger’s zombie hands reaching for the Viking’s brains on the right hand side of the photo.)
My regular ol’ Oly Burger starts off looking promising, but is soon revealed to have a few flaws. The bun is lovely and soft and eggy, and well buttered and crisped on the inside. The pickles are nice. The “Oly Sauce” is a direct rip-off of the local favorite Goop, a sauce trademarked by Eastside Big Tom, the inarguable and still-reigning local burger champs. Oly Sauce is similar but not quite right – it’s lacking something. But sadder, so is the patty itself. It’s a faux-hand-formed patty, I suspect — the rustic shape of it seems eerily similar to the rustic shape of the patty in Mike’s burger — and has the peculiar sponginess of some burgers that I just can’t entirely abide by. But it’s cooked well, and if I weren’t in Olympia I would be pleased that I had something almost-but-not-quite-like a Big Tom’s ‘regular burger’.
My dad’s fish fared the least well. They came out hot and initially tasty, but quickly cooled to a dense, unpleasant texture. They weren’t cooked wrong, exactly, but I’m left to assume they were fried from frozen, which you know, is not a crime. It’s a burger joint inside a gas station, after all. If everything tastes a little Sysco, it’s probably because it is all a little Sysco.
But the food was prepared quickly, my dad’s strawberry milkshake was made from real ice cream, and the total (which included tater tots not pictured) was just over $20. Not bad. As my dad said, “I’m not disappointed.” It was a fun food adventure, and if we’d also needed 2 for the price of 1 tins of snuff, a tank of gas and some Funyuns, this would have been a highly successful mission.