Historic Hamburgs at Wilson’s

. September 1, 2015.
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Wilson’s
600 S. Main St., Findlay
419-422-5051
Hours: Monday to Thursday 7am-10pm, Friday and Saturday 7am-11pm, Sunday 12 -7pm. Breakfast served 7-10:30am. Monday to Saturday.
Delivery service available for a charge.
Facebook: “Wilson’s Sandwich Shop.”

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Yes
To avoid wait: Busiest from 11am to 2pm and 5pm. to 7pm. Call ahead or consider coming at an off-time.
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom: Clean and adequate. For men’s restroom, enter a door outside.
High chairs: Yes
Got Milk? Yes
Kid’s menu? No, but hamburgs, cheese sandwiches, fries, hot dogs and more available.
Food allergies: Will try to accommodate. Vegetable oil used, not peanut oil.

Any place that breaks its menu into the categories of Good Eats, Good Vegetarian, Good Breakfast, Good Drinks, and Good Treats is already on my Good Side. Couple that with Wilson’s 79 years of Findlay tradition serving “Mity nice hamburgs and frosted malts,” (as they declare on their hamburg wrappers) and I’m a devoted fan.

Wilson’s opened on August 12, 1936. Manager Louise Sanchez said people fondly remember visiting as a kid, then end up bringing their own kids and grandkids back for the Good Eats and the memories. Wilson’s is best known, Sanchez said, for their hamburgs and frosted malts. The wrappers speak the truth.

Located right in the heart of downtown Findlay, a seat at Wilson’s is a great way to watch the world go by. There are tables and booths, with windows lining three of the four walls. Along those windows, you can find bar-style seating all the way around the eating area – with fun, twisty stools.

Easier Ordering

I have heard people say, “Oooo…you really have to know how to order when you go to Wilson’s.” So I found out why. There used to be a line of employee stations customers would move through as you ordered – grill, set-up, in-between, and cashier. While novel, if you didn’t know what you were doing, you could really slow things down, to the disdain of some. Sanchez said the ordering process changed this year and customers now simply step up to the cashier, order and wait for their food.

“Some of the older customers say they miss the old way, but I think it’s gone well,” Sanchez said.

In the 10-plus years I’ve lived in Findlay, somehow I had only been to Wilson’s a handful of times. When our family paid a visit, it was our kids’ first time eating the food and my first time eating inside. My husband, however, had experience, both inside and through the drive thru, on his own.

Perusing the menu, I admit I took great delight when I realized the kids would have no choice but to abandon their comfort zone of chicken strips and fries. Wilson’s does not have a kids menu, but pretty much everything they have could be considered kid-friendly with choices like hamburgs, french fries, hot dogs, or a cheese sandwich.

My 6-year-old daughter couldn’t choose between the cheese sandwich and a hot dog, so we got her both to try. My 10-year-old son ordered a hot dog and salad, and the kids shared an order of fries. My daughter enjoyed both of her main dishes, though I noticed she ate more of the all-beef Ballpark hot dog. My son devoured all of his food, announcing he had just eaten the best salad, best hotdog and best fries around. The fries were gone fastest of all.

I ordered fries and a cheeseburg “special,” which means add lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. The best way I can describe the cheeseburg is, “classic.” It was a thin patty with the lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a fresh, soft bun. With the emphasis on “more” and “bigger” in restaurant dining, I found the thin patty to really make the sandwich, as it was a nice proportion to really enjoy the meat along with the bun, fresh lettuce, tomato and mayo.

The fries were wonderful, some of my favorites ever. I would put them in the steak fry category, but as steak fries go they aren’t overly thick – they were just right. Lots of potato to enjoy, yet not greasy and perfectly salted. They were lovely.

My husband ordered a double chesseburg “special,” with fries and also found it enjoyable. For him, Wilson’s takes him back to a little slice of his own past. It reminds him of some of his favorite food as a kid in his own hometown, at a locally-owned restaurant that is, sadly, now closed.

Mouth-Watering Malts

We, of course, had to try some of Wilson’s Good Treats, so my husband ordered a slice of apple pie, I tried the blueberry pie and the kids each had a malt. The pie is baked at Wilson’s and was pretty good. The kids raved over their malts, which are made with mixed chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  My daughter said she’d like to have one every week and my son called his, “Amazing.”

Wilson’s does offer vegetarian fare, such as salad, a black bean burger, or a veggie sandwich. Other menu options include chili, a chili dog, onion rings, or a BLT. New this year, the eatery began serving breakfast, offering an egg sandwich on a bun or biscuit, biscuits and gravy, hash browns or the “old fashion”, which includes scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, hashbrowns and bacon or sausage for $5.35. Doughnuts and sweet rolls are also available.

As we gazed around the restaurant, we noticed things like a round metal coat rack, framed photos of Wilson’s many years ago, a sign with prices from 1936 (A hamburg was only 10 cents and a coffee 5 cents!), and that the windows are always painted on the outside. Sanchez said Wilson’s allows non-profit organizations to display their events in the windows for a week, free of charge. I think that’s a pretty nice way to support the community.

As we wrapped up and were ready to head out, an employee gave us two paper Wilson’s hats for the kids, like the workers wear. They had all kinds of fun modeling them in the car and wanted me to take pictures. I really enjoyed Wilson’s. It’s affordable like fast food, but so much better, sitting there soaking up the tradition. I look forward to making it a tradition of our own.