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The Olive Burger

The Olive Burger
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  • The Olive Burger

    Post #1 - September 6th, 2012, 3:20 pm
    Post #1 - September 6th, 2012, 3:20 pm Post #1 - September 6th, 2012, 3:20 pm
    The Olive Burger

    One of my earliest restaurant memories is having an olive burger at the long-shuttered Village Lantern in Elmhurst. We didn’t go out to restaurants a lot when I was a kid, but a few times when my parents took me house-hunting in Elmhurst in the early 60s, we’d sometimes stop at this small nondescript restaurant for dinner. I’d always get the olive burger. That was a long time ago, and I’m not sure I’ve actually had one since.

    Recently, though, I ordered an olive burger at George’s Family Restaurant in Oak Park, and I was reminded of all the reasons I think this is a great way to enjoy the all-American burger. My dining companions seemed unaware of this variation on the standard burger, and if you share that innocence, an olive burger is simply a hamburger with sliced green olives on top. Never black olives. You might even want to check before ordering to make sure the olives are, indeed, green. Black ones won’t work.

    Here’s why the olive burger is such a great combination of flavors: The vegetal character of the olives plays a pleasing green note without the additional wateriness that comes from lettuce, and the salinity of the olive provides the only condiment I usually require with beef: salt.

    Also, unlike lettuce and tomato, sliced olives provide better traction between bun and burger, so there’s no messy slippage: everything holds together well.

    Image
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - September 6th, 2012, 3:39 pm
    Post #2 - September 6th, 2012, 3:39 pm Post #2 - September 6th, 2012, 3:39 pm
    Subject: whatever happened to...

    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    My Mom is a big olive burger fan. I can't tell you how often she comments she cannot find them anymore. I can't tell how often she orders them, which is several times a year. They are frequently available at Greek family restaurants by our experience.

    My Mom continues to get super excited when an olive burger is on the menu. It reminds her of her youth.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - September 6th, 2012, 3:43 pm
    Post #3 - September 6th, 2012, 3:43 pm Post #3 - September 6th, 2012, 3:43 pm
    one of my dads favorites when I was growing up, didnt understand it then, love the combo now.

    Sometimes he would also do a pork sausage patty the size of a burger topped with the green olives if ground beef wasnt in the house.
    Last edited by jimswside on September 6th, 2012, 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #4 - September 6th, 2012, 3:47 pm
    Post #4 - September 6th, 2012, 3:47 pm Post #4 - September 6th, 2012, 3:47 pm
    I'm getting the sense from these responses that olive burgers are a 60s thing (or earlier). I think of them more as eternal, but perhaps they do reflect a time.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - September 6th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    Post #5 - September 6th, 2012, 3:49 pm Post #5 - September 6th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    An olive burger at an old style Greek owned "coffee shop" is one of the Chow Poodle's favorite things. In my experience it is never necessary to ask if the olives are black or green, unless you want a funny look from the server. They are always green.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - September 6th, 2012, 3:53 pm
    Post #6 - September 6th, 2012, 3:53 pm Post #6 - September 6th, 2012, 3:53 pm
    stevez wrote:An olive burger at an old style Greek owned "coffee shop" is one of the Chow Poodle's favorite things. In my experience it is never necessary to ask if the olives are black or green, unless you want a funny look from the server. They are always green.


    Been my experience, too, but one of my tablemates asked if the olives on my burger would be one or the other, which opened up to me the possibility that, yeah, I guess some places could substitute black olives for the standard olive, which would be a tragedy beyond words.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #7 - September 6th, 2012, 3:54 pm
    Post #7 - September 6th, 2012, 3:54 pm Post #7 - September 6th, 2012, 3:54 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    stevez wrote:An olive burger at an old style Greek owned "coffee shop" is one of the Chow Poodle's favorite things. In my experience it is never necessary to ask if the olives are black or green, unless you want a funny look from the server. They are always green.


    Been my experience, too, but one of my tablemates asked if the olives on my burger would be one or the other, which opened up to me the possibility that, yeah, I guess some places could substitute black olives for the standard olive, which would be a tragedy beyond words.


    If that happened to me, I'd be suspicious of the burger itself as well.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #8 - September 6th, 2012, 3:58 pm
    Post #8 - September 6th, 2012, 3:58 pm Post #8 - September 6th, 2012, 3:58 pm
    stevez wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:
    stevez wrote:An olive burger at an old style Greek owned "coffee shop" is one of the Chow Poodle's favorite things. In my experience it is never necessary to ask if the olives are black or green, unless you want a funny look from the server. They are always green.


    Been my experience, too, but one of my tablemates asked if the olives on my burger would be one or the other, which opened up to me the possibility that, yeah, I guess some places could substitute black olives for the standard olive, which would be a tragedy beyond words.


    If that happened to me, I'd be suspicious of the burger itself as well.


    It would shake my faith in humanity, which is tenuous already. God save us from such horrors!
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #9 - September 6th, 2012, 6:31 pm
    Post #9 - September 6th, 2012, 6:31 pm Post #9 - September 6th, 2012, 6:31 pm
    Hi,

    You can date this at least to the 1950's and perhaps earlier, because they were Mom's favorite as a teenager.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - September 6th, 2012, 6:44 pm
    Post #10 - September 6th, 2012, 6:44 pm Post #10 - September 6th, 2012, 6:44 pm
    David Hammond wrote:One of my earliest restaurant memories is having an olive burger at the long-shuttered Village Lantern in Elmhurst.


    If you're ever in Elmhurst again and the memories trigger an itch, they still serve an olive burger at Jim's Hamburger Heaven at the corner of North and York. Although you might have to wait until next Spring as they're a walk up seasonal operation stand. These are more in the style of your typical Drive in burger. I'd describe it as a better version of a Big Mac with olives. It wouldn't hurt if they lost the middle bun but that's their burger style. I like to have one with some straight from the barrel Richardson Root Beer which they still brew to the original recipe.

    Image
    Olive Burger

    Jim's Hamburger Heaven
    281 North York Street
    Elmhurst, IL 60126
    (630) 832-3535
  • Post #11 - September 6th, 2012, 6:56 pm
    Post #11 - September 6th, 2012, 6:56 pm Post #11 - September 6th, 2012, 6:56 pm
    I love olive cheeseburgers and used to order them all the time. The olives would stick into the melty cheese and they would not fall out much. They were generally served almost everywhere in old style Chicago diner type restaurants. If it was not on the menu you could just ask for one and generally it would be served. I would go with my grandma to Estelles in Oak Park now shuttered and we would have them there. I will look into the place in Oak Park the next time I am there. I would wash it down with a real cherry coke and french fries dipped in catsup. Actually last week I vacationed in South Haven, MI and I went to dinner at Clementines and ordered the olive cheeseburger off the menu. Delicious.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #12 - September 6th, 2012, 7:12 pm
    Post #12 - September 6th, 2012, 7:12 pm Post #12 - September 6th, 2012, 7:12 pm
    I am not ashamed to admit that if I wanted an olive burger, I would proudly ask that black olives be subbed, if possible.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #13 - September 6th, 2012, 7:15 pm
    Post #13 - September 6th, 2012, 7:15 pm Post #13 - September 6th, 2012, 7:15 pm
    It looks like there is a Connies Family Restaurant in Berwyn where you can order an olive burger as well as others. Do not know if its any good as I have not been there. Around where I live best bets for finding an olive burger would be the Verdict, or Snow white and the
    Seven Dwarfs on Roosevelt in Wheaton as these are the only greek diners we have in town.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #14 - September 7th, 2012, 2:38 am
    Post #14 - September 7th, 2012, 2:38 am Post #14 - September 7th, 2012, 2:38 am
    seebee wrote:I am not ashamed to admit that if I wanted an olive burger, I would proudly ask that black olives be subbed, if possible.


    Now, I'm not saying that doing so would be like requesting Miracle Whip instead of mayo, but I'm just saying...
  • Post #15 - September 7th, 2012, 6:42 am
    Post #15 - September 7th, 2012, 6:42 am Post #15 - September 7th, 2012, 6:42 am
    This reminds me of the past as well. Here in MI we used to have a place called Mr. Fables. The signiture burger (Burg as they would say) was the Mr. Fabulous. One of my all time favorites... griddle fried double burger with american cheese, green olives, and mayo, deluxe if you like. What I wouldn't give for just one more of those! They also had some pretty amazing onion rings but I digress. Some Chicagoans may know of this place but I'm pretty sure this was a west MI "chain".

    Thanks for the memories!!
  • Post #16 - September 7th, 2012, 7:13 am
    Post #16 - September 7th, 2012, 7:13 am Post #16 - September 7th, 2012, 7:13 am
    A few years ago Salt Creek BBQ of Glendale Heights had a location in Batavia about a mile from my house. I never had their BBQ but I completely enjoyed their one burger that was blue cheese and green olives. I do miss that.
  • Post #17 - September 7th, 2012, 8:47 am
    Post #17 - September 7th, 2012, 8:47 am Post #17 - September 7th, 2012, 8:47 am
    Yeah a black olive burger would not be the same. Its the taste of the green olives mingling with the meat and cheese and condiment that gives the thrill. But to each their own. After looking at a few menus, it seems that olive burgers have been crowded out by other types of burgers....the ubiquitous bacon burger, or a blue cheese burger, mushroom burger, feta or greek burger, and a jalapeno burger. Back in the day, blue cheese and jalepenos were not exactly house hold names.....so they generally were not on the menu. I see in my town none of the diners have olive burgers on the menu...I just may have to go to Oak Park or Berwyn to get the fix...the old inner ring suburbs with the traditional diners may be the last vestige..........
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #18 - September 7th, 2012, 12:36 pm
    Post #18 - September 7th, 2012, 12:36 pm Post #18 - September 7th, 2012, 12:36 pm
    jaholbrook wrote:This reminds me of the past as well. Here in MI we used to have a place called Mr. Fables. The signiture burger (Burg as they would say) was the Mr. Fabulous. One of my all time favorites... griddle fried double burger with american cheese, green olives, and mayo, deluxe if you like...


    Now that you mention that it seems as though the olive burger is indeed a Michigan thing. Either that or they still live on throughout the state. I thought I had posted on Roxy's Hamburgers in St. Joseph somewhere on here but the search engine tells me otherwise. They have a popular olive burger. Also I still have yet to ever get to Flint but when I do I plan to check out Halo Burger (The original) for one of their famous olive burgers followed with a trip to the Coney shops. A quick google of "olive burgers michigan" reveals more info on them out there.
  • Post #19 - September 7th, 2012, 1:16 pm
    Post #19 - September 7th, 2012, 1:16 pm Post #19 - September 7th, 2012, 1:16 pm
    A childhood favorite of mine, too. Loved them at Kings & Queens in Berwyn, and Jonathan's in Lombard. Both long since closed.

    The rich beef with the sharp acid/salt of the olives is just wonderful.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #20 - September 7th, 2012, 3:12 pm
    Post #20 - September 7th, 2012, 3:12 pm Post #20 - September 7th, 2012, 3:12 pm
    Goldyburger also makes a good one. If I recall it's olives and mayo but I'm sure thay's leave off the mayo or add cheese if you ask.
  • Post #21 - September 8th, 2012, 11:17 am
    Post #21 - September 8th, 2012, 11:17 am Post #21 - September 8th, 2012, 11:17 am
    I have started the Society for Preserving and Promoting Olive Burgers In Chicagoland (SPPOBIC). Anybody who loves oliveburgers can become a member. You just need to pledge to preserve and promote olive burgers by ordering one often when you go out to eat. If a restaurant you frequent does not serve them, request that they be put on the menu. Black olive burger lovers cannot join but they can become "friends" of SPPOBIC. Hopefully in time to come oliveburgers will be on menus everywhere and life will be good.
    Last edited by toria on September 10th, 2012, 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #22 - September 8th, 2012, 4:58 pm
    Post #22 - September 8th, 2012, 4:58 pm Post #22 - September 8th, 2012, 4:58 pm
    toria wrote:I have started the Society for Preserving and Promoting Olive Burgers In Chicagoland SPPOBIC). Anybody who loves oliveburgers can become a member. Black olive burger lovers cannot join but they can become "friends" of SPPOBIC..

    I'm calling Jesse, and the good Rev. Sharpton. This is just ludicrous.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #23 - September 8th, 2012, 8:00 pm
    Post #23 - September 8th, 2012, 8:00 pm Post #23 - September 8th, 2012, 8:00 pm
    ha ha ha good one. All in jest and fun.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #24 - September 8th, 2012, 8:03 pm
    Post #24 - September 8th, 2012, 8:03 pm Post #24 - September 8th, 2012, 8:03 pm
    Shame olive burgers are so hard to find, I've a fondness for them myself. I think its the contrast of the acidic bite with the beef that I find appealing.

    One of my favorite really delicious, but not exactly a classic olive burger was a blue cheese, bacon & green olive burger I ate at the Pepper Canister here. The bacon was maybe a bit of overkill for me, but I really liked the blue cheese & olive combo on the burger. Its been a while since I stopped in there, this thread reminds me I should pay them a visit sometime soon.
  • Post #25 - September 9th, 2012, 8:33 am
    Post #25 - September 9th, 2012, 8:33 am Post #25 - September 9th, 2012, 8:33 am
    Here in MI we used to have a place called Mr. Fables. The signiture burger (Burg as they would say) was the Mr. Fabulous.


    My first job (outside of babysitting and delivering papers) was at Mr. Fables. I, unfortunately, hated olives at the time, but I remember making this burger quite often. Unlike some of the photos here, our olives were chopped to the point of almost being a relish. It was only green olives though...and lots of them. The onion rings were made to order and hand dipped, they are still (in my memory) some of my favorite rings too.
    FIG Catering, For Intimate Gatherings
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  • Post #26 - September 9th, 2012, 4:14 pm
    Post #26 - September 9th, 2012, 4:14 pm Post #26 - September 9th, 2012, 4:14 pm
    The parents tell me that the burger of the month at Burger Boss in Elmwood Park is an olive burger for September.
  • Post #27 - September 9th, 2012, 8:04 pm
    Post #27 - September 9th, 2012, 8:04 pm Post #27 - September 9th, 2012, 8:04 pm
    Wow. I have never heard of such a thing (well, it's possible I've seen it as a kid on a Greek diner menu, but I hated olives then), and now it just sounds like the best thing ever and am craving one.
  • Post #28 - September 9th, 2012, 8:36 pm
    Post #28 - September 9th, 2012, 8:36 pm Post #28 - September 9th, 2012, 8:36 pm
    ucjames wrote:The parents tell me that the burger of the month at Burger Boss in Elmwood Park is an olive burger for September.


    Interesting...
    If you look on their site here they appear to use some kind of green and maybe black olive salad.
  • Post #29 - September 15th, 2012, 5:31 pm
    Post #29 - September 15th, 2012, 5:31 pm Post #29 - September 15th, 2012, 5:31 pm
    I truly miss the corner Greek diner. As a teen my go to was across from the train station
    on the south west corner of York road in Elmhurst. I believe the name was Paradise. Always
    had the Olive Burger except when I had the Francheezie, always a tough decision.
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #30 - September 16th, 2012, 4:42 am
    Post #30 - September 16th, 2012, 4:42 am Post #30 - September 16th, 2012, 4:42 am
    Inspired by the thread I fashioned a homemade olive burger last night and it was awesome. I sacrificed future martinis by using the last six jalapeno-stuffed Queen olives I had left in the jar and rough chopped them. They looked wonderful atop my 8 oz burger of high-quality ground beef as it cooked on the grill, and the double layer of swiss cheese and dollop of Sweet Baby Rays completed the umami-bomb I devoured thereafter. The other Davoodas at table were mortified. So be it - all the more for me!

    Thank you Mr. Hammond for prompting me to reprise a childhood fave that had been lost to my memory.

    Davooda
    Life is a garden, Dude - DIG IT!
    -- anonymous Colorado snowboarder whizzing past me March 2010

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