Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jiffy Burger - Manchester, TN

Although our holiday trip to Chicago was slightly truncated due to illness, we had a fun time visiting with friends and family (plus, our fears of nasty winter weather never materialized). Still, the brood was anxious to return to Florida and its warm sunshine, so back we went, running into traffic delays through both Kentucky and Tennessee. By the time we'd almost reached our overnight stop in Chattanooga, everyone in the minivan was starving - luckily, our friend Yelp directed us a short distance off I-24 to an old-fashioned burger diner in Manchester, TN (now mostly known for being the host town of the annual Bonnaroo Music Festival). Jiffy Burger has been serving up greasy spoon fare to local residents since 1960 and doesn't appear to have changed much in the interim. From the outside, it resembles the kind of drive-in our parents would have cruised up to in their teenage years, while the interior (which is a little on the cramped side) is chock full of old advertising signs, black and white pictures of bygone high school basketball teams, and weathered tile, sort of like Cracker Barrel's eccentric aunt.

The ambiance alone should indicate that this would be the home of a world-class burger, and you'd be correct in thinking that. I chose the bacon cheeseburger with a side of Frito pie (something I haven't frequently encountered outside of a dorm cafeteria) and was presented not 1, not 2, but 4 strips of bacon (cooked to order, no less, not pre-made - I saw it on the flattop with my own two eyes) underneath a terrific, sizzling beef patty, all cradled by a grilled bun and a couple of bread and butter pickles.  Even the Frito pie was outstanding (there are some corn chips nestled below that cheese and beans) and didn't generate nearly the late-night heartburn I expected it would.

Mrs. Hackknife ordered the pork tenderloin special and was presented with a giant slab of unbreaded pork (apparently, that's how they do tenderloin around here) that was actually quite juicy and tasty.  Even the kiddos weren't totally dissatisfied with their chicken fingers and fries.  All of this great food and atmosphere cost us less than $40 (cash only, by the way), cheaper than if we'd gone to one of the chain restaurants right off the expressway.  I'm now contemplating ways to justify attendance at Bonnaroo this year just so I can return for another Jiffy cheeseburger...

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