My wife Marcela and I left had just left Powers Hamburgers in Fort Wayne, Indiana with the next stop on my All About The Burger book signing tour being Henry’s Hamburgers in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Now, I’ve only seen Henry’s Hamburgers in pictures so my excitement level is rising as we approach. I’m then humbled when I see the bottom half of the sign normally reserved for specials etc. says “Sef Gonzalez Book Signing Today 2 to 4“. Wow, shoutout to Henry’s Hamburgers for that.
Henry’s had a couple of hundred restaurants at its peak in the early 1960s (including a one in my hometown of Westchester, Florida and another in Hialeah, Florida) when fast food restaurants were spreading like wildfire. This one in Benton Harbor is the last of its kind. The company was founded by Bresler’s Ice Cream Company in 1954 and this particular location opened up shop in April of 1959. Dave Slavicek and a business partner purchased it in 1983 and he became the full owner in 2006. Dave along with his son Mark Slavicek who runs the day to day operations of Henry’s are hamburger heroes who have kept this landmark chugging along.
I had been dreaming about walking into Henry’s and ordering a Double Cheeseburger. This is not the original structure, heck they only starting doing drive-thru in 1988 after having carryout service only until then. BUT, it was surreal to be standing in there and placing an order at the counter. I just love the look of this burger joint.
I had some time before the signing started so I took a seat and was able to enjoy my Double Cheeseburger as I spoke to Mark about Henry’s Hamburgers. I was mid-Apple Turnover when he brought out the original operating manual for Henry’s Hamburgers. I was peechless. My first thought was to take it, run out the door, jump in my car and drive back to Miami with it. After coming to my senses, I became totally immersed in it then Dave Slavicek showed up. We all had a great talk about Henry’s and hamburgers in general. What a great day to be a hamburger fan that was for me.