I’m in Lexington, Kentucky, when I text George Motz (author of Hamburger America) about another burger restaurant nearby. He responds that I’m not too far from Dovie’s and that I absolutely must hit it up.
Dovie’s is in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, and opened its doors in 1940. Dovie was the founder’s sister.
We were able to find parking right in front. We walk right into an old school horseshoe counter, so I make my way to the farthest end. There’s a lot of hustle & bustle with folks sitting down to eat and many grabbing bags of burgers to go.
George mentioned that I needed to get my burger unsquozed, sure I thought. So I strike up a conversation with Tina McIntyre, who happens to be the manager. She explained the unsquozed or squozed thing. The burgers sit on a flat top in about a half an inch of soybean oil. Squozed means that you’d like to have your patty drained of all the excessive oil via spatula and unsquozed with everything intact is the way to have it.
I also ordered a hot dog, which also received a nice crispy char from the oil bath.
The first thing I noticed on the patty was the crispy char it had on the outside. It is not burned in any way since I know that will be everyone’s first thoughts when looking at it. I removed the top bun, added the onions, a couple of pickles, and went to work. There’s a secret sauce lurking under the bottom patty and on the bottom bun. The texture is the next notable thing that told me this was not a full-on beef burger. It was more like a Slugburger.
If you’re not familiar with the term, it might turn you off. A Slugburger does have beef but also some extender like possibly flour or soybeans. The “Slug” part of the name references counterfeit coins sized as nickels that tricked vending machines back in the day.
It’s very soft and not like a regular ground patty you regularly eat. My friends in South Florida will understand when I say the consistency of the patty is like that of a croqueta. Hey, I love croquetas, so this was a match made in heaven.
Dovie’s has been around for over 70 years. They’re doing things their way, and you can only hope Dovie’s will never change.
107 W 4th St
Tompkinsville, Kentucky 42167