Day Five: Adrian, Mich. to Home.
Repeating the same stretch of the road is hard, but there’s something special about knowing you’re on the journey home. I’m from Fort Wayne, Indiana – the same place that serves as Aunt Millie’s hometown and the place where I started my quest for the perfect burger. Today’s ride wasn’t broken up by multiple burgers or opportunities to get side tracked. Today was the home stretch.
It’s a little hard to figure out how to write about the last day of this quest. How do you bring it to a close without making it sound too… much? I don’t really want to wrap it up with a big, dramatic homecoming story. It’s not my style, and I don’t think it fits.
So, here are the facts. By the time I rode up to Henry’s in Fort Wayne, ready for my last burger of the trip, I’d ridden 385.3 miles. I tried a total of ten burgers on the trip, stopped in as many restaurants, recorded more than a half hour of GoPro footage, shot more than 100 pictures along the way, got caught in two storms, almost gave up once, and received countless messages from friends, family, and co-workers along the way.
It’s easy to forget that food makes a journey, too. Spending a week on the road has made me appreciate how the burgers, pickles, onions, and buns that make up our favorite burgers make it to the restaurants and then our plates.
Of course, once the ingredients make it, there are people there to put it all together. Everywhere I went, I met people. Whether they were restauranteurs, chefs, or regular customers at the local diner or dive bar, the midwest is full of good people who appreciate a good story as much as a good burger.
And at Henry’s I had my own people there. Co-workers, friends, and family met me as I rolled up. They were happy enough to see me back that I realized they must have been more worried about me going on this quest than they let on. To be honest, having those people there made that last burger just a little more perfect than any other.
But I won’t factor that into my last review. Thanks to Henry’s for being the perfect last stop on this journey. Thanks to my people for welcoming me back, and thanks to Aunt Millie’s for making this whole thing possible. It was literally the hardest thing I’ve every done… and I’m already thinking about where I can bike to next.
Check back next week when I’ll announce what my perfect burger is. Let me know what yours is – and who you share it with.
Henry's Burger at Henry's Restaurant in Fort Wayne, IN.
Overall taste: Four Stars.
The Henry’s Burger is another entry in that “great basic burger” category. Nothing fancy, nothing innovative, but this burger nails the fundamentals.
Use of Bun: Five Stars.
An Onion Bun from Aunt Millie’s differentiates the Henry’s Burger from the basic burger pack. The bun doesn’t overpower the rest of the flavors, but it makes its presence known enough to earn a spot at the table.
Extras: Three and a half Stars.
Great basic burgers don’t need to pile on the extras, but it’s worth mentioning again how well the onion bun rounds out the flavor profile for this sandwich.
Gram-ability: Four Stars.
Most people who love onion buns got on board for the flavor, but their unique appearance gives your Gram photos some texture and pop they wouldn’t have otherwise.