I have, in the last eighteen months, lived with the aim of making my own dreams come true. This has greatly increased the quality of my life, as well as the number of vintage football shirts that I own.
Recently I dreamt I was dining at Wimpy— or, as it used to be known, Wimpy Burger. I had not dined at that particular establishment for some considerable time. I would make a conservative estimate at around eight years. Why it came into my dreams I cannot say, but ever since I woke from that blissful culinary illusion I have craved all that Wimpy has to offer.
But what does Wimpy have to offer that other fast food eateries can’t provide? Well, cutlery, crockery, and table service. Wimpy is a cut above your McDonald’s and your Burger King’s… to experience Wimpy is to experience class— a level of unsurpassed sophistication.
You can only imagine my delight then as, whilst strolling through the provincial market town of King’s Lynnwith my good friend and fellow Fred contributor, the rage-fuelled sports commentator William Turner, we happened upon a Wimpy Burger location.
It was around lunch time, and we had worked up quite an appetite in our morning’s adventures. I no doubt suspect I would have been inclined to enter regardless of hunger— here, in tangible reality, sprung the gastronomic temple of my wistful subconscious!
On entering one is immediately struck by the magic in the air— the musical clanging of cutlery, the rhythmic shuffling in plastic chairs, and angelic chorus of ‘are you ready to order’; the seductive Siren call of the numerous waitresses, each an apron-clad Aphrodite.
It is difficult to truly describe the effervescent Eden within. What is a Wimpy? Is it a café? A fast food chain? Well, it’s part-American diner, part greasy spoon, and filtered through the sterilized atmosphere of a Little Chef. But whilst one need traverse motorway to reach a Little Chef, one need only ascend the very cusp of the Godly realm in order to enjoy the famous ‘bender in a bun.’
Not for Wimpy are the confusing, soul destroying queues. No my son! Wimpy welcomes you— take a seat! You will be offered a menu, much like a real restaurant. This is the first real sign that you are dealing with professionals at the top of their field. Who else but a Wimpy chef could cut a hot dog in such a fashion that it sits in a perfect circle around the bun?!
But perhaps circular sausages do not pique your interest— regardless of the layer of rich, processed cheese and generous dollop of ketchup. Perhaps you are more in the mood for a hamburger sandwich… and where else would one find such a selection. It could almost be described as a smorgasbord of culinary delights, but for the fact that a smorgasbord is a self-service buffet. You rest your weary legs hungry traveler… take your time and let that Venus in a covering of carded yarn wait to receive your demands, and deliver them to the freestyle genius that lies behind the sacred doors just behind the counter.
Perhaps you are in the mood for a Wimpy cheese burger? Add only an additional £1.75 for chips… Maybe a selection from the grill? Or the new Wimpy Club Sandwich. There really are so many delectable items it seems sacrilegious to list them all outside the confines of the exquisitely laminated Wimpy Menu.
I myself selected the Wimpy Cheese Burger, and willingly forked out the additional change for the chips— somewhere between a British chip and a French fry. I opted to wash down this feast with a chocolate milkshake. I do not think you need me to tell you that it very nearly tasted of chocolate!
Some naysayers may claim that by the time one has sat, perused the menu, exchanged flirty chit chat with the waitress, ordered, and waited for your meal to appear you could have finished your Big Mac, Whopper, or KFC family bucket. I do not disagree. However, what you get instead is ample time to choose your meal without panic— how many times have we been unexpectedly thrown to the forefront of the McDonalds queue with absolutely no idea what you wish to consume?! I put forth the opinion that the enduring popularity is not the culmination of decades of gastronomic perfection, but the flustered panic orders of the vast majority of the British public who only know two McDonalds products and are much too old to be ordering for Happy Meals.
To dine at Wimpy is to dine at leisure, and to dine with grace. Yes, you have to wait a while longer to be served your food— ah! But yes. Here at Wimpy your food is served to you, not thrown at you by a surly college student. Your meal will be served on a plate, just like that from which the aristocracy eat! And… what are these strange metal objects that accompany my dish? Can it really be that I am not expected to shovel the food into my mouth with my bare hands? Do these visions of protein proffering beauty expect each and every member of it’s clientele to act with a level of decorum several notches above that of ‘soil-tilling peasant’?! Well yes, they do indeed— and how refreshing it is to be entrusted, within a public establishment, with solid metal cutlery!
You may well question why, in fourteen paragraphs, I have neglected to describe the actual quality of the food. It is a tricky, almost insurmountable task. The food at Wimpy is somewhere between ‘perfectly adequate’ and ‘kissing each and every orifice of the Duchess of Cambridge.’
Actions often speak louder than words, and perhaps a description of my actions after dining at Wimpy will say more than any other adjective ever could. After I swallowed the last morsel of cheese burger, ponderously masticated on the last chip, and sucked down the last few chocolate-esque drops of milkshake I fell to my knees.
I fell to my knees and wept, for I had sat at the Formica table of the Gods, I had laughed with the angels, and I had tasted Heaven.