The Original Hamburger Stand is the place to go for food-pocalypse
With fast-food burger giants like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Carl's Jr. hogging so much attention, chains like the Original Hamburger Stand are often shrugged off or ignored altogether -- even when paired with Tastee-Freez. I was definitely guilty of driving by -- until I saw a banner outside the location at 3100 South Broadway in Englewood (one of five in Denver) advertising something called a "Junkyard Burger." The giant photo on that banner showed a hamburger oozing chili, cheese, onions and what I thought might be french fries, and that got my full attention. And the Original Hamburger Stand kept it until I realized that eating there more than once might actually kill me.
J. Wohletz Staring death in the face.
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The Original Hamburger Stand started as an offshoot of Wienerschnitzel, the hot dog chain founded by John Galardi in Los Angeles in 1961. When that became a success, Galardi brought the Original Hamburger Stand -- a stripped-down, no-frills, fast-food hamburger joint -- to states in the Southwest in the early '80s, and began to replace underperforming Wienerschnitzel stores (in those signature A-frame buildings) with the new burger concept.
This concept did well in the generic 1980s, with black-and-white buildings, uniforms and even food wrappers, but customers lost interest in the '90s. That's when the Galardi Group -- parent company of Wienerschnitzel, Tastee-Freez and the Original Hamburger Stand -- embarked on rebranding efforts for the burger joint, including a new logo and actual colors. The company figured out that TOHS's customer base was 18-to-34-year-old males, and marketed directly to them with big, colorful outdoor banners on the stores featuring menu specials -- like the new Junkyard burger.
I'm not exactly the target demographic, but it definitely worked for me: I parked and walked in. Most of the business is clearly drive-thru, since the inside dining room is tiny, but there's also a larger patio area off to the side that was half-filled with moms, dads and some happy, loud, ketchup-smeared kids.
J. Wohletz The chocolate shake was a black-and-white.
The menu seems almost state-fair-ish -- or at the very least carnival-like -- with all the greasy, sugary, salty, don't-eat-this-every-day-or-you-will-die faves like burgers, fries, milkshakes, corn dogs, jalapeno poppers, chili dogs, sodas and banana splits. This is not a place to go for any kind of health food whatsoever; the most nutritious thing you could eat here is a tomato slice on a burger or a bite of pickle relish on a hot dog. But when in hell, you should get a good suntan, so I ordered a gut-buffet of a green chile burger with fries, a jalapeno cheese corn dog, a chocolate shake, strawberry lemonade and the Junkyard burger.