The Roanoke Times
September 27, 2007
By Larry Bly
(Portion taken from full article titled, "Al Pollard's Memory Lives on Through Scholarship Fund")
Finally, I've been on the trail of the famous local Kenny Burger for months now. There's a place in Salem that claims to sell them, but they're never open and most recently looked like they may never be again, so I gave up on them.
Then an old friend, Ray, tells me that someone serves Kenny Burgers in Buena Vista. It still carries the Kenny's name, original location and original recipes, on Magnolia Avenue.
For those of you who grew up in the Roanoke Valley -- and even for those of us who came along in the early 70s, Kenny's was a local chain that had great food. Their chicken was deep fried pleasure. Even the little bread roll was deep fried and very crunchy (Hey! It wasn't as sinful as today's deep fried Twinkie!).
But the star of the menu was always the Kenny Burger.
What made it different from all other burgers? The sauce.
Mr. Kenny's homemade red sauce went on every order. Most places just dipped the burger in the sauce once it was fried. My friend Ray claims that some of them, including the one in Beuna Vista, had some fancy device for squirting or rubbing the sauce onto the burger.
No matter, the sauce was king. And the recipe survives. Mr. Kenny himself bottled the stuff for years.
Well, at last, I've located a Kenny Burger within blocks of my ad agency at the Roanoke City Market Food Court.
Burger in the Square now offer's Mr. Kenny's burgers. The sauce is about the same, though the beef patties at Burger in the Square are fat, fresh, juicy, and hand patted -- something the Kenny Burgers never were. They were smallish and pre-formed frozen, but we loved them anyway.
How does it stand up against the original? Thirty-plus years dims the memory, if not the taste buds. I was always crazy about the originals. This one's pretty good, but it's so sloppy that it should be served with a straw. The sauce tastes just as I remembered it: piquant but a perfect match for a beef burger. I got mine without condiments, not wanting anything to skew my taste buds for the basic burger and sauce. I'd give it an A-plus.
As with all burgers at Burger in the Square, it's a bargain at $3. You have to order a double bacon cheeseburger to reach the $4.68 charge, but be prepared to stand in line. It's not for nothing that this Burger does one heck of a business.
Bly for now!
Copyright © September 27, 2007
The Roanoke Times