Mary's Burger & A Shake
By Bill Eagle

"Ohmygawd, ohmygawd!" I gushed as Mary Mathers set a pound Santa Fe Burger on my table.  "This burger is huge!"

The burger arrived in a plastic basket covered with deep fried onion rings.
It had lettuce, tomato, onions, pepper jack cheese, slices of avocado, pico de gallo and chipotle mayo. The onion rings were easy to eat, but the burger was a challenge. It was too big to fit into my mouth. I pushed it down, the best I could forcing avocado and melted cheese to drop out the sides. I finally ended up using a steak knife and a fork.
My wife, Claudia, was much more conservative than me. She ordered a pound Aloha burger. Her Aloha burger arrived in a basket covered with crisp tasty fries. In addition to the normal condiments it was topped with a grilled pineapple ring and seasoned with Teriyaki sauce.

My wife also cut her burger in half and then remarked to me. "These fries are really crisp and they don't seem greasy at all."

My wife sipped on a mango flavored lemonade and I had coffee. The drinks, fries and onion rings, were included in the price of our burgers.  My Santa Fe Burger was $9.95, while Claudia's Aloha was $8.95.  We didn't order shakes, but Mary's shakes are made from real Ice Cream (not shake mix) and run about $3.50

Mary's Burger & A shake is located in the Mount Solo Plaza at 4503 Ocean Beach Highway in West Longview.  It can be an easy place to miss, if you don't know it's there. The restaurant is situated at the end of the Plaza well away from the highway.

It was my first time there and I asked Mary how long she had been doing business at this location.

Mary Replied: "We first opened on November 11th of last year. My husband and I have always wanted to have our own place. I've worked in the restaurant business since I was 12 years old. I worked at Elmer's Pancake house (which is now Stuffies II) for about 20 years and then I moved to the Monticello Hotel. When I discovered that they were going to close, my husband (Warren) and I thought that this would be a good time for us to go into business on our own. We were looking for a place and we think we found the perfect spot here in West Longview.

We have just expanded. We originally had only 6 tables; but we now can comfortably seat 42 people.

"Will that be big enough for you?" I asked

Mary grinned, "I don't know, we seem to be getting an abundance of business. People like our burgers. Everything that we have is fresh. All our burgers come in three sizes , , and pounds. We use certified Angus Beef and we grind a little bit of brisket into it for added flavor. Our burgers are hand pressed and charbroiled. Are you enjoying your burgers?"

Both my wife and I agreed. Mary's burgers tasted wonderful.

"How many people work here?"

Mary refilled my coffee cup. "We have 9 employees and believe me, we need them all."
I noticed a sign on their wall that read "Mountain Burger Challenge $24.95.

"What is your Mountain Burger Challenge?"

Mary looked at us very seriously. "Our Mountain Burger consists of 2 pounds of beef, ham, turkey and bacon, two types of cheeses, lettuce, onions and tomatoes, 1 pounds of onion rings and 1 pounds of fries. If you finish eating it in 45 minutes you get your meal free, a Mountain Burger Challenge Tee Shirt, and your picture posted on our "Wall of Shame.""

"How many people have taken you up on the challenge," I asked.

Mary replied: "24 people have taken the challenge, but only one succeeded."   

I chuckled, "I would think that one Mountain Burger would be able to feed an entire family."

"I like feeding people" replied Mary, "and that's why I'm in the restaurant business. My restaurant is open seven days a week, and starting June 2nd I will be serving breakfasts every day."

If you're hungry and happen to be in West Longview, I know a place where you can find yourself a great burger; Mary's Burger & A Shake.

Treat yourself to one. I think you will be pleased.

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