Kewpee Hamburgers is the 2nd oldest Burger Chain in the United States after White Castle. Founded in 1923, and there are currently 3 Kewpees in Lima, Ohio (pronounced “Lie-Ma”) and another couple (Lansing, Michigan & Racine, Wisconsin) owned by different folks. The particular KewPee (111 N Elizabeth) we stopped in at was in Downtown Lima and has been there since 1928. They serve burgers made from locally raised beef; in other words, just perfect.
Long drive but it was worth it
The drive was close to two hours but well worth it.; I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I walked in and just stood around, taking in the place. I had dreamed of one day eating here, and here I was, at last. It’s my turn, and without skipping a beat, I ask for a double w/cheese, chili, and a Coke. The guys’ orders include singles, fries, and pies. My one regret is not getting a malt.
Historically, Kewpee is important since Dave Thomas’ (founder of Wendy’s) inspiration for opening a burger joint came from frequenting a Kewpee in Michigan. You can notice the similarities in the burger patty shape and thick malts (which, again, I didn’t have).
The burgers are freshly ground and pattied daily in-house, which adds to the beef’s slightly crumbly nature, something I love. I took my time eating my double w/cheese and taking in this experience. We were 18 driving hours away from our home in South Florida and wanted to make sure I made the most of this visit.
I never made it to the chili as it had cooled off when I was done with my burger; yes, I took that long. The Kewpee burger was a classic example of simplicity at its finest. You can keep your fancy dressed up burgers with tons of toppings. Me? I’ll take a Kewpee Burger over all of them.
Plus, you gotta agree with Kewpee Hamburgers’ famous saying: “Hamburg with pickle on top, Makes your heart go flippity-flop” I certainly do, and it did.