Monday, May 19, 2008

A treasure found between here and there

Clyde's Drive-In in St. Ignace, Mich., has a hand-painted sign on its outer walls that say "Quality since 1949," and the place looks like it may have in the Fifties. Big windows on three sides, a big awning where people can park and be served in their cars (the waitresses don't roller-skate, though, sorry), and a counter where a dozen or so people can sit and watch their hamburgers sizzle on the grill.

Where I'm going can be reached in a number of ways. One way is to drive through the Chicago area; another is to go through Michigan, crossing the Mackinac Bridge along the way. The Michigan route is a little longer, but it is preferable in every other way, topped by stress level. Battle a madcap bunch of maniacs who drive their $40,000 BMWs like they're bumper cars, or cruise through the woods, only occasionally seeing another vehicle, and breathe air free of diesel fumes and steel-mill exhaust?

(Oh yes, or you can submit to a humiliating and unconstitutional search of your person and property, get on a plane, and miss hundreds and thousands of nifty experiences between here and there. Believe me, you'd rather drive.)

Clyde's is one of those treasures along the way. Its quarter-pound hamburger seems to have three times the beef of any other "quarter-pound" hamburger, it's shaped and grilled from scratch, and "the works" is the works. It's a trip back in time and a wonderfully filling meal.

That part of the world is already worth seeing for the mighty Mackinac Bridge, a five-mile-long architectural and engineering marvel. But you know, you can't eat a bridge. Clyde's hamburgers are much more delicious and nourishing. Don't go near St. Ignace without stopping at Clyde's.



Anonymous sunni said...

That's one of my favorite places in the world—the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Thank you for enabling a flood of very happy memories!

10:25 AM  

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