Twice a year we go down to Whitley City Kentucky to work with the underprivileged people of McCreary County. McCreary County Kentucky is one of the top five poorest counties in the US. Once it was a booming coal mining region, but the coal mines have closed and the state has bought much of the land leaving it poverty stricken. Work in the area is minimal and many of the jobs are more than 40 miles away. This means that most of the paycheck would go toward gas just to get to and from work. Summertime brings work crews from all over the country to help out families with much needed construction on their houses, or trailers, or cabins, or whatever type of habitation they can afford. Often times we're installing windows, or repairing a front porch. Sometimes it's putting up siding or drywall. There is much need there and every little bit helps.
We also go in December, bringing Christmas gifts to kids whose families can't afford to buy them themselves. Christmas gifts always include necessities such as clothing and shoes, but we don't forget that every kid loves to get a toy. Something they can play with. We then help host a Christmas party in one of the small communities (the Hills and Hollers are made up of small communities and not sprawling suburbs) where the gifts are distributed and everyone receives a hot meal and a chance to meet Santa Clause. We also take the opportunity to share the story about the birth of Jesus.
We look forward to all of these events, but the one thing we can't wait for it going to the Dairy Bar for dinner. The Dairy Bar is an old school '50's diner that still has curbside service. On a busy night cars will be stacked 4 deep in their parking lot with waitresses bringing out good old fashioned greasy diner food and super thick milkshakes. We pack ourselves in their small dining room (being that we usually have more than 10 people on this trip) and look over the menu that we already know so well.
"What can I get ya hon?" Everyone is "Hon" down there. Or sweetey, or dear, or honey... you get the idea. They really have a way of making you feel welcome. Some people go for the big dinners like the Manhattan, or fried shrimp. Some just get a milkshake. Did you know that they have 33 different flavors of milkshake? Everything from traditional chocolate to cotton candy. And if they don't have what you want, they'll try to make on for you. Legend has it that one of the summer team members ordered a dill pickle milkshake. They made it... and he drank it... one moment here while I block that out......... ok I'm good.
But I always look forward to their signature burger. The Dixie Whopper. Let's just look at the picture above for a moment.............................. MAN that looks good!
The Dixie Whopper uses 2 one third pounders (I think) that are cooked on a flattop grill giving them a great crust which is loaded with flavor from years of cooking on the grill. The patties are then put on a tripple split bun that is buttered and toasted on the same flattop. They then place shredded lettuce, raw onion, american cheese and a dill pickle (probably the same kind used in the milkshake). But what makes a Dixie Whopper a Dixie Whopper is the sauce. Tarter sauce. Yes that right, the same sauce you put on your fish sticks (unless you're 7 and you use ketchup). For the record it's a pretty mild tarter sauce, but it has much more flavor than plain mayo. The tarter sauce adds just a litte bit of zing to it that you don't get with mayo or ketchup. I guess it could be similar to thousand island dressing on a burger, but it has a much cleaner flavor.
What I really found though was that the bun really made the burger. I know I've said that before, but a soggy bun can really ruin the burger experience. You know how when you make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich the bread is golden brown and has the perfect crunch? That's what this bun was like. The combination of the bun, and the fresh toppings so very well complimented the creaminess of the tarter sauce.
So OK, I know. I'm blogging about a burger joint that is 9 hours away from home and most of you will never get to try it. But maybe it's a reason to go on one of the trips to help the poor of Kentucky.
Go for the burger, stay for the blessing.