A customer walks in one door, decides what they want off the straightforward, limited menu, pays for their meal, and walks out the other door. There are no tables, and the friendly customer service combined with the intoxicating smell of grease and french fries makes for a one-of-a-kind experience at the local favorite, Burger Station.
Driving through Winfield, tourists who might be visiting the Walnut Valley Festival, or taking Highway 77 south, probably wouldn’t notice the small shack.
Some residents of Winfield even pass by the tiny structure without noticing. But to the people who know Burger Station, passing by without stopping would almost be a crime.
Located on Seventh Avenue, off Highway 77, Burger Station is a tiny establishment with no tables. The only option for customers is take-out. With barley enough standing room, customers are treated to a full view of the kitchen, where the magic takes place. The menu includes favorite classics such as hamburgers with mustard, pickles and fried onions.
The original owners, Elmer Van Hess and Bud Wiser, opened Burger Station on Jan. 1, 1952. Van Hess, who had been in the restaurant business for a few years, decided to start a business with his friend Wiser.
While much of the history of Burger Station has been lost, some of the traditions and the legacy still exist. The grease-stained floor and worn countertop are proof of the popularity and pride in the establishment.
Jeff Crow bought the business in 1992. He tries every day to keep up traditions started in the 50’s. “We still grind our meat every day. We use fresh product and we work with it every morning,” said Crow.
Burger Station has also kept “the fixings” the same as well, by providing customers with fried onions, pickles and mustard.
“The fixings” are just what Barbara Kaiser, finance office assistant, likes on her Burger Station burgers. Kaiser, who has lived in Winfield for almost 50 years, had her first experience at Burger Station when she was 14.
“I remember my first hamburger at the Burger Station when I was a freshman in high school,” said Kaiser, “I can’t eat it anymore because I’m on a diet where I can’t eat burgers and fries.”
Keith Zerger, psychology sophomore, said, “They are delicious. I like eating there at least once a week.”
That makes sense, because the hamburgers at Burger Station are the best sellers, said Crow. “We sell tons of hamburgers. We are continuing tradition, and it’s working because a lot of people like them.”
Stacy Townsley, registrar, has also been around Burger Station for much of her life, and continues eating there today. “I grew up here in Winfield, and then moved back in 2003. For me, Burger Station was always a different alternative than the normal fast food in high school.”
Marie Hart, secondary education sophomore, has also enjoyed Burger Station. “It was delicious. It’s the kind of place where the white bag the food is in is see-through from the grease,” said Hart, “It’s awesome.”
Burger Station is cheap and fast for college students and tourists looking for a quick bite to eat. However, some students, especially freshmen, haven’t experienced the food yet.
Joey Tran, music performance freshman, said, “I haven’t gotten to go yet, but I’ve heard so much about it,” said Tran, “I can’t wait to try it.”
Crow, who bought the restaurant from his dad, Darryl Crow, isn’t sure where the future of the Burger Station is headed. “I don’t think any of my kids want to take over, but I think the restaurant will probably stay in the family.”
Hannah Watkins is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.