Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bob Mac

  • all beef patty
  • special sauce
  • lettuce
  • cheese
  • pickles
  • onions
  • sesame seed bun

Start singing stupid song repeatedly while grilling hamburger patty to desired doneness. Use yellow American cheese, shredded lettuce, finely diced white onion (not typical yellow), and dill pickles. Assemble sandwich in following order; bun, sauce, onion, patty, cheese, pickle, lettuce, bun.

The dish: When it all boils down, Ray Kroc isn't known for much else other than his persistence. Failing at a number of jobs from paper cup salesman to jazz pianist, he was a quasi-successful milkshake maker rep when he met the hamburger selling McDonald brothers. He had nothing to do with establishing the popular restaurant, but did recognize a good thing in it. Kroc inked a deal with the brothers allowing him rights to franchise their concept and began working tirelessly and sometimes ruthlessly (he's quoted as saying that if he saw his competition drowning he'd stick a hose in their mouth) at building Mickey Dee's into the largest restaurant chain on the globe. Eventually the namesake brothers asked to be bought out and return to running their own independent place. There was enough bad blood in the situation that Kroc forbade them from using their own name in conjuncture with their restaurant, and when the brothers were established Ray opened a McDonald's directly across the street from them and put them out of business. Kroc had such a relentless commitment to quality customer service that when he owned the San Diego Padres, he once apologized mid-game to the crowd for the team's "stupid" playing and refunded everyone the price of their tickets. For someone with such business acumen, he certainly didn't recognize opportunity when a Pittsburgh McDonald's owner came to him with the idea of selling a double decker burger for $.49, a full $.09 more than two individual sandwiches. Kroc wasn't keen on the idea, but did give the franchisee permission to sell the Big Mac at only one of his restaurants, and without the middle bun. After only a few days the enterprising franchisee realized two things; 1. without a double cut bun, eating the sandwich proved to be a mess and 2. the burger was a hit. Defying his bosses orders, he began selling the Big Mac with a middle bun at all 9 of his McDonald's. Normally going against Kroc would be enough to be kicked out of the McDonald's family, but the owner ushered in what would become the iconic hallmark of the McDonald's menu, and all was forgiven. The kicker of it is, that franchisee didn't even invent the sandwich. As a matter of fact, he wasn't shy about copying it, ingredient by ingredient from its original creator, Bob's Big Boy. Years later, you can't find a spot on the globe to hide from the glow of the arches, yet Big Boy is at best a smaller regional chain. Naming this take on the famous burger the "Bob Mac" wasn't done as an act of narcissism, but rather a nod to its rightful creator.


  1. How about "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce. Special orders don't upset us..."? Get that stuck in your cranium for a few minutes.