Grab A Burger At The Sit Down Grab Joint
Long before McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s dotted the American landscape, the county fair was the “go to” place to get a nice, big,juicy hamburger. Unlike the big Indiana style Cookhouses that offered a wider menu of full course meals, these little ‘Sit Down Grab Joints’ offered only lunch items such as burgers, hot dogs, cold drinks, french fries and coffee.
Many had a rotating fan situated above the griddle blowing the delicious scents of the sizzling meat and frying onions out on the midway. The smell was guaranteed to make your mouth water. A secret grab joint ingredient was to add a half cup of coffee to the caramelizing onions to add to the scent and flavor.
Alas,fast food joints and convenience stores on the corner of every town and strict health department regulations that only affect carnivals have put an end to these wonderful canvas topped midway eateries of the past. Today modern, glassed in, air conditioned trailers costing $ 200,000 + and sporting colorful vinyl wrapped pictures and LED lights sit on fairgrounds selling every kind of fried food and confection imaginable.
Still, I would trade them all for a chance to sit once again at a stool under the canvas top of one of these old time carnival sit down grab joints and enjoy a 50 cent burger, a hot cup of coffee and a jackpot with the old guy in the soiled apron, white shirt and paper hat.