The hamburger is America’s classic comfort food and everyone usually has their favorite place to go when they are feeling the urge to indulge themselves with a burger and fries. These favorite places might be a large fast food chain such as Mickey D’s or a more local chain such as California’s In-N-Out Burger. Or it could be a burger crafted from Kobe beef and sold at an expensive restaurant such as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.
For my family (parents,sister and brothers and our respective spouses), there has always been only one hamburger stand that has been near and dear to our hearts as well as our stomachs and that is Pete’s Hamburgers in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. You could say that Pete’s specializes in burgers because well…it is the only thing on the menu. Their burgers are the only thing that you can purchase there other than a bag of chips or a can of “pop” as it is referred to back in the Midwest. You won’t see a french fry or hot dog anywhere near the stand. And that is just A- Ok with all of us because you really don’t need anything else. They are just that good!
I am not quite sure what it is about these burgers. It could be the quality of beef that they buy, the fresh bakery buns or the fact that they are cooked with extremely high heat simmered in water and onions. And this is a warning, you will not be satisfied with just one. So you better order two and order them at the same time. Pete’s operates out of a small stand and has only one large cooking surface. The hamburgers are cooked 48 at a time and once they are gone, you will have to stand there and wait for them to cook the next batch. They are well worth the wait.
Pete’s Hamburger Stand has been open for over 100 years and its history is well documented on their website. They have existed at their current location since before I was born and our family has been enjoying their famous burgers since the 1950’s. We love to meet at the stand when they first open at 11 a.m. (there are really long lines as the day progresses) get our burgers and go down to the local park on the Mississippi. In addition to the burgers, my sister usually brings her famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and we have the closest thing to a family picnic with out the hard work and cleanup that you can have!
Due to Wisconsin’s cold winters, Pete’s is opened May through the beginning of October. They are also only opened Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
My family is not the only ones that are fond of these burgers. On this Sunday night, September 2nd, the Travel Channel will be featuring Pete’s Hamburger Stand on the Burger Land: Wisconsin’s Burger Belt. If you have a chance, check it out.
In the meantime, what is your favorite burger place?