When George Macsas opened for business in 1927, his Hamburger King sold large hamburgers for 5 cents apiece, extra-large for 10 cents. Today’s prices are higher, but still a bargain. While hamburgers star at this vintage hash house, the menu also includes catfish dinners, Fritos pie, stew, chili, or “redtop stew,” which is stew topped with chili.
About the burgers: They are lunch counter classics: thicker than a slider but thinner than the softball burgers you find in modern pubs. The beef used is fatty enough that the patties glisten; and by the time you have eaten most of the burger, its bun will have very nearly disintegrated.
We love the look of this old lunchroom with its tall ceiling and long rows of tables, each equipped with a direct phone line to the open kitchen. The menu refers to this as the “electronic order system.” On the walls are pictures that show the history of Oklahoma in general and Hamburger King in particular, the showstopper being a blown-up photo of George Macsas flanked by King of Western Swing Bob Wills and movie star Jack Hoxie. Wills once wrote a jingle to celebrate his favorite eatery, its lyrics reading:
When you’re feelin’ blue, and hungry too
Here’s a tip to make you sing.
Pick up your hat, close your flat
Go down to the Hamburger King.