Tried to amend my carnivorous habits.

I don’t like to brag, but . . . in my hometown there is a restaurant that serves the best cheeseburgers in North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer says so. I would link to the article, but, unfortunately, it’s not available online. Here’s a quote from the article on the best cheeseburgers in the state, written by Tony Brown and published July 18th, 1997:

Best in the Carolinas

Johnson’s Restaurant, U.S. 64 East, Siler City

Clyde Leonard Johnson built this unassuming little family restaurant on the Siler City bypass, about 20 miles east of Asheboro, and started making the best cheeseburgers in the Carolinas on July 19, 1946.

It’s now owned by his son, Claxton Johnson, who can be found most days in front of the grill, making the burgers the same way, from beef ground fresh on the premises every morning.

Balls of meat are squashed flat on a grill with a metal spatula. Velveeta cheese, cut on a specially made block of wood that is the same size as a Velveeta loaf, is allowed to melt through little holes in the meat so that it burns slightly on the grill. A dollop of hot dog chili, mustard, onions and toasted buns make this a crunchy-chewy piece of cheeseburger paradise.

The molten cheese seals the top bun to the blackened burger while the gooey chili adheres the charred meat to the bottom bun. The ingredients cease being individual components and an elemental change takes place, creating a unified whole. It’s a $2.20 act of transubstantiation.

Don’t wait until the next time you just happen to be in Siler City . This is worth a special trip.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. No phone.

I grew up eating Johnson’s cheeseburgers (and hamburgers). Not very often, but sometimes. As you can see, the hours are kind of strange. And when I was little, they didn’t even really have hours. The owner would make a bunch of patties, and when he got done cooking all the ones he made, he would stop serving. I like that. It sounds ornery. Like Luke Danes.

For whatever reason, I had never taken Mike there. So over spring break, we went by and had some of the delicious cheeseburgers. Except. He did not have a cheeseburger, even after I told him that’s what he should have. A cheeseburger all the way. That is how I ordered my cheeseburger. I let him have a bite of mine. Even though he had fries and I wasn’t having any fries! His punishment was that he had to listen to me explain that he was not having the Full Johnson’s Experience. And then we called my mom, so she could explain the same thing. Which she did. Using almost exactly the same words. Because that is how important Johnson’s is, and also that is how closely we are connected. These are some things that are important: Mom. And cheeseburgers.

Don’t worry. I will make sure that Mike receives the Full Johnson’s Experience next time. (There WILL be a next time. And next time, I will eat TWO.)

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