While driving through Burlington, Wisconsin—a mid-sized town in southeastern Wisconsin with a impressive number of old buildings and old businesses—to visit a particular tavern (about which I will post another time), I chanced upon this lunch room, Fred's, in the center of town. Fred's, a single-story corner building which has evidently been added to over the years, boasts of having the "World's Best Burgers." I didn't have time to test that claim, but I can attest that it has one of the world's best storefronts. Take a look at that unique bit of neon on the front of a man chowing down on one of Fred's choice burgers.
The building began as the Parkview, a tavern, which explains the old look of the place and the narrow windows. Fred bought it in 1980 and quickly set to work on creating what he felt was a great burger. The burger and hand patties, grilled and sprinkled with Fred's "special seasoning." Fred (I have not been able to discover his surname anywhere) is also a woodworker, which explains the joint's very woody interior.
Fred's has a unique ordering situation, one worthy of quirky New York places like McSorley's and Katz's. You grab a menu from the wall, along with an order card, and seat yourself. You then write down what you want and bring it to the far end of the bar, where you place your order and pay. This system not only doubtless saves Fred tons of money on waitstaff salaries, but plays up to Wisconsites' general distaste for tipping.