When you go on vacation, you expect to find things you don’t expect to find, things that you’ll forever associate with the place you’ve visited. Maybe an experience or the place you stayed or the people you met.
Last week, I found a cheeseburger.
Not just any cheeseburger mind you. A CHEESEBURGER.
Now, in my life, I’ve consumed hundreds of cheeseburgers. Maybe thousands. I don’t know. I should’ve kept a running chart or something. But let’s just say I’ve eaten a LOT. And there are many that have been memorable. There is a small chain here in the DFW area called Jake’s that does an amazing cheeseburger on a poppy seed bun. Delish. There is a small chain in Colorado Springs named Conway’s Red Top that was featured in Fast Food Nation and it is terrific. The growing by the day Five Guys is pretty darn good. And my old standby, which recently arrived in Texas, has always been the Double Double at In-N-Out.
But while in Florida the past few days, I discovered something called Tops.
I almost missed it. Because it’s attached to a car wash. That’s right. A car wash. A tiny sliver of a building attached to a do it yourself car wash.
We joked about it as we drove by, but then decided we had to stop on our way back because, really, how many times in life do you get to eat a cheeseburger at the same time that you shop vac your car???
The menu is pretty simple. We just ordered one because our expectations were pretty low. Because it was attached to a car wash. Cheeseburger with ketchup, mayo and pickles. Some tots and a drink. Would make for a nice laugh later on to say we ate a burger at a car wash. Did I mention it’s at a car wash? (CLARIFICATION: Tops and the car wash are not affiliated to my knowledge. They just share space. I didn’t use the car wash, so it’s quite possible that the car wash might be just as awesome as Tops, but I’m unqualified to make that judgement.)
It came wrapped in plain white paper, kind of greasy, but not overly so. Cheese melted, bun toasted, condiments oozing out of the sides. So I took a bite.
And, uh, HOLYCRAPTHATISAMAZINGCHEESEBURGERPLACEATACARWASH!
Seriously. If you’d put a bow and a arrow to my head (I hate guns) at that moment, I would’ve told you it had moved to #1 on my list of cheeseburgers and that is no small feat. It comes with a certificate and a trophy and a picture of me. Perfectly cooked, just the right size, great taste, in my gut too fast. We drove back in silence, stunned by the exquisiteness of the Tops cheeseburger. It was, in fact, tops. (HAHA SEE WHAT I DID THERE??? BECAUSE ITS CALLED TOPS!!! HAHA)
We went back two days later and got two more. Just to be sure.
So what’s the moral of our story?
Never dismiss a cheeseburger simply because it might be cooked next to a place where you wash the bird crap off your car.