Henry’s Hamburgers in Benton Harbor, Michigan

Henry's Hamburgers in Benton Harbor, Michigan
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On my All About The Burger book signing tour, the next stop was Henry’s Hamburgers (1832 M-139, Benton Harbor) in Michigan. Marcela and I left had just left Powers Hamburgers in Fort Wayne, Indiana,

Now, I’ve only seen Henry’s Hamburgers in pictures, so my excitement level rises as we approach.

I’m then humbled when I see the bottom half of the sign, which generally has specials, says “Sef Gonzalez Book Signing Today 2 to 4“. Wow, shoutout to them for that.

Henry's Hamburgers Sign on Benton Harbor, Michigan
Henry’s Hamburgers Sign

Henry’s Hamburger History

They had a couple of hundred restaurants at their peak in the early 1960s (including one in my hometown of Westchester, Florida, and another in Hialeah, Florida) when fast-food restaurants spread like wildfire. This Henry’s in Benton Harbor is the last of its kind.

Bresler’s Ice Cream Company founded Henry’s Hamburgers 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 only owner in 2006.

Dave and his son Mark Slavicek who runs the day-to-day operations at Henry’s, are hamburger heroes who have kept this landmark chugging along.

Henry’s Hamburgers Daydreams

Henry's Hamburger's Double Cheeseburger from Benton Harbor, Michigan
Double Cheeseburger
Double Cheeseburger money shot from Henry's Hamburger's in Benton Harbor, Michigan
Double Cheeseburger money shot
Onion Rings from Henry's Hamburger's in Benton Harbor, Michigan
Onion Rings
Apple Turnover from Henry's Hamburger's in Benton Harbor, Michigan
Apple Turnover

I had been dreaming about walking into Henry’s and ordering a Double Cheeseburger for what seemed like forever. Henry’s was strictly carry-out service until 1988 when a drive-thru was added to the restaurant.

BUT, it was surreal to be standing in there and placing an order at the counter. I love the look of this burger joint.

Order Counter at Henry's Hamburger's in Benton Harbor, Michigan
Order Counter

Before the signing started, I had some time, so I took a seat and enjoyed my Double Cheeseburger as I spoke to Mark about Henry’s Hamburgers. I was mid-Apple Turnover when he brought out Henry’s Hamburgers original operating manual.

Henry's Hamburgers Operating Manual
Henry’s Hamburgers Operating Manual

I was speechless. My first thought was to take it, run out the door, jump in my car, and drive back to Miami with it. But, after coming to my senses, I  became immersed in it; then, Dave Slavicek showed up.

Burger Beast with Henry's Hamburgers owners Dave & Mark Slavicek
Burger Beast with owners Dave & Mark Slavicek

We all had a great talk about Henry’s and hamburgers in general. It was a great day to be a hamburger fan.

What Happened to Henry’s Hamburgers?


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2 Comments

  1. I was at Henry’s today.
    I’m very very old school.
    I was very disappointed at what I found.

    I ordered a double hamburger, fries and onion rings. My order came quickly….
    But the price for the tiny portions left me cold. $11+ Hamburgers could not be seen outside the bun as in your publicity shot.
    Fries were good, but no salt? Onion rings were sparce and again no salt?

    The thing that really upset my experience was the type employees there. Loud boisterous laughter and the F word coming out of each and everyone’s mouth!
    This is unacceptable.

    I saw Dave Slavicek comment about great employees. If he thinks they’re great?

    He’s crazy!

    I won’t be back.

  2. There was a Henry’s on Harlem Avenue in Chicago and was my favorite. I was pretty young it was around 60 years ago. A hamburger was something like 12-15 cents.

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