Thursday, June 7, 2007


by Xani

So a few months ago I stumbled across this list: Esquire Magazine's 60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For. Now, as soon as I saw this list I was intrigued. Right away I saw some things I could already check off (#s 14, 38, and... um, 33, among others), some I knew I would NEVER check off (#12, #30), and some that I would try my best to get to in this lifetime. As it turns out, for #44, someday was yesterday.

From Esquire:

44-48. The Five Most Decadent Burgers in the United States of America:
#44 The cheeseburger at Shady Glen Dairy Stores in Manchester, Connecticut. Four carefully arranged pieces of cheese extending far beyond the border of the patty melt directly on the grill, creating a chewy crust that is as difficult to describe as it is to digest. $4.95.

My latest business trip took me to Agawam, Mass, just a short drive from Manchester, CT. Manchester is also the hometown of BCD Dad, and we've been visiting family there regularly for my entire life, but yet I have never been to Shady Glen! Dad said he remembered the place from his childhood, but couldn't remember this decadent burger they had-- I knew I had to get there and see for myself.

After work one day I kidnapped my two co-workers (Mike and Catie) and dragged them to Shady Glen for a late lunch. The place has been open since 1948, and it definitely had an old-timey feel. We sat down and the waitress gave us tiny Dixie cups of water (ok, I don't know if that was as much old-timey as it was just weird, but whatever). Then came these doilies-- so far, I'm not impressed. But it was about to get much, much better:

REAL cherry Coke. As in, fountain Coke with the actual cherry syrup in it. So delicious. Mike got vanilla Coke and he loved it so much he giggled like a little girl. Also, free refills.

Catie and Mike knew full well why I insisted on driving 25 miles away for lunch: the cheeseburgers. We each ordered one (off the menus posted on the wall, also old-timey), plus an order of fries.

Lunch arrived promptly and, behold:

They are not kidding about the cheese on these things! Between the 3 of us there were TWELVE pieces of cheese on the table. Yum. The burgers themselves were really delicious; the cheese hanging off was chewy and crunchy, and had a great flavor. I topped mine with pickle, onion, and mustard.

The fries were classic-crinkly cut, and perfectly cooked. Just needed a sprinkle of salt. Yum.

Now since Shady Glen is a dairy store, that means its the kind of place that probably has great, homemade ice cream, and lots of it.

We couldn't resist.

Mike got the blueberry sundae with blueberry ice cream, blueberry sauce, blueberries and whipped cream. I got a scoop of chocolate caramel crunch and a scoop of cookies and cream, and Catie got the same. The ice cream was really rich and just sweet enough, and tasted homemade. We thought about buying a pint or two to bring back to the hotel (for dinner!) but we had a long drive back and we thought it would melt.

And now, I can officially cross #44 off my list. I am not sure how much this decadent lunch actually shortened my life-- But probably not THAT much so I think it was worth it.

So, which numbers have you done? Which should I do next??



  1. Great post, Xan! I'm jealous you got to cross one off the list! There are a few more we've both done: #8, and #35 (there's even a post (sort of) about that one!). How about for our next post we recreate #34??

  2. #8, #9, #33, #42, #43

    Funny - none of mine are food related!

  3. Wow Shady Glen. Even if your Dad can't remember, this was THE place for us growing up. We would go to a swimming place just east of there to and always stop on the way back. All those pictures - it's amazing, the place has literally not changed one iota. I am very happy to hear that the cheese burgers are just as they were (I never good figure out how they got the cheese to firm up) and I also have great memories of the blueberry sundae.

  4. Xani! As crazy as it sounds, I've been to shady glen as well. My grandparents who live in CT tooks us there once to experience the burgers and the icecream!! SO worth the trip!


Blog Archive