Wimpy's welcome return; MARTIN SHAW is glad the burger chain is back on the scene in huddersfield.
IThe burger restaurant had been a mainstay of the town centre for half a century until it closed suddenly last October.
In all that time - yes, I have been around for 50 years - I had never crossed its threshold.
Its demise was met with dismay and its return earlier this month was the best news some people had received in many a month.
Wimpy has lots of devotees in Huddersfield, but maybe it had become too much a relic of the past to compete with modern food outlets.
While it's retro, maybe it's not retro enough to be cool for today's diners? The place has had a smart makeover under its new ownership, and it looks the part all right. Looking at the menu it serves the classic burgers and fries, chicken, grills and the traditional bender (a circular pork sausage for those who don't know) but there's also an extensive breakfast selection, and an all-day breakfast.
The place struck me as a cross between the old, original Little Chef (remember that?) and a McDonald's, if I dare mention the big rivals.
I recall many happy family holidays as a kid stopping off for a big breakfast at Little Chef.
Nowhere did the great British fry-up like Little Chef, but it seems Wimpy has taken that crown.
Wimpy, of course, has table service, where it scores over McDonald's, though some McDs will bring your food over - after you've punched your order into a 'selfordering kiosk.'.
As you'd expect there's a great selection of burgers and Wimpy claims to be the "Home of the UK's Original Burger".
Wimpy started out in the USA, and came to the UK in the 1950s, opening its first restaurant in London in 1954.
There's traditional hamburgers, quarterpounders with cheese and a smoky BBQ burger.
But there's also Spicy Southern Fried Quorn and the Wimpy Spicy Bean Burger.
Wimpy became the first UK burger chain to launch a veggiebased burger in 1985 and the spicy bean burger has been a favourite ever since.
Wimpy is also about desserts, with many customers happy to leave the burgers and indulge in the classic Knickerbocker Glory, ice cream sundaes or hot pancakes.
On our Sunday afternoon visit the place was busier than we expected, which was good to see.
We were greeted at the door and seated in the back half of the restaurant, which is much bigger than it looks from the outside.
The young servers earned their money dashing backwards and forwards. I decided to go veggie and chose the Spicy Bean Burger (PS4.55) with regular chips (PS2.55).
The burger is made with a tasty combination of cannellini, red kidney, black turtle, haricot and pinto beans, blended with spices, and comes in a lightly toasted brown bun.
I liked the spicy kick and didn't miss the meat at all. If anything I found it a little dry. If we'd have been in McDonald's I'd have been dolloping extra BBQ sauce inside my bun. Here all we had on the table was tomato ketchup and that wouldn't have hit the spot.
My partner Sian went for the All Day Breakfast (PS7) with an extra hash brown (PS1.20).
After some little wait - fast food this certainly wasn't - the manager came over and apologised that they were out of benders. He offered to replace it with two nonbendy sausages instead.
The breakfast came with two rashes of lightly-cooked and quite thick bacon, an egg, the two sausages, chips, half a tomato and a pot of Heinz baked beans.
I like the fact the beans meanz Heinz and the bacon and the straight sausages tasted 'proper',' like good quality meat should.
The eggs are free-range and that was good, too. A good breakfast even in the afternoon.
The dessert for me had to be the Eskimo Waffle (PS3.30). It's an ice cream sandwich made of two hot waffles topped with whipped cream. I opted for chocolate sauce too.
The idea of it was better than the reality as there wasn't much ice cream in the middle and it melted so quickly I was only left with waffles and cream. Not that I didn't enjoy it, I was just expecting something else.
Sian had the Knickerbocker Glory (PS3.95), lovely layers of soft ice cream and fruit topped with cream and drizzled with strawberry sauce.
That did exactly what it said on the tin. A classic indeed.
welcome back, Wimpy! Where Wimpy 9 Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2DX Phone: 01484 917984 Website: www.wimpy.uk.com Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm and Sun 10.30am-5pm Children: Welcome The bill: PS29.80 including drinks