BRUNSWICK — It’s that time of year again where I get to wander around the Midcoast in search of signature examples of some particular food item and give you my take on it.

The hardest part of the entire endeavor always seems to be picking out what food item I’ll stick to in the coming season. So far, I’ve done food trucks and stands, Whoopie pies, and sandwiches.

Now, it’s burger time.

Practically every restaurant in existence offers a burger. The burger, to me, is as American as apple pie. With just burgers alone, the U.S. has created economic juggernauts that span the globe, with brands recognized in the farthest reaches of pretty much every continent.

Serving a good burger is a great indicator of overall food quality at a restaurant. If they can’t get a burger right, how can you expect anything else to be good?
Determining which burger to start with didn’t take me long. When I think simple, no-nonsense burgers, I think of Fat Boy Drive-in in Brunswick.

Located on Bath Road, Fat Boy is a gem that has stood the test of time. Opened in 1955, the drive-in is a great way to get a blast from the past. Sitting in their parking lot, you can almost imagine being surrounded by big, American V8 cars with tail-fins, filled with people grabbing a bite to eat.

The Fat Boy menu hasn’t changed a lot in the over 50 years its been open, and it hasn’t needed to. Staff photo by Chris Chase

For those who haven’t been, Fat Boy is old-school. It’s not a drive-thru as there’s no window to pull up to. You pull in, sit in your car, and turn your lights on when you’re ready to order something. A staff member comes to your car door and takes your order, then a short time later they bring out a tray that’ll sit on your window filled with burgery goodness.

They do have a lot more than burgers, of course. But if you’re heading there, you should do yourself a favor and get a “Whoper Burger.” It is, to me, a burger in its purest form with lettuce, tomato, and Fat Boy’s own sauce. For 25 cents you can add some cheese. Grand total: $4.40.

On the occasion I visited, I was with my girlfriend. She got a Whoper Burger, as well. I got a regular cheeseburger on the side, an order of fries, and a black raspberry frappe.

First off: Getting that much food was a dumb idea. Why I thought a side of cheeseburger was going to fit comfortably in my stomach, on top of the hefty frappe, I don’t know. If you go, don’t get a frappe and two burgers. Or do, I suppose, since even with enough food to stuff both my girlfriend and I silly, the bill was just $23.
It’s hard to explain what makes a Fat Boy burger so good. They aren’t fancy, grass-fed beef affairs with a fried egg and kimchi on top. It’s a regular patty, with regular vegetables, with a pretty run-of-the-mill bun on top.

But to me, a Fat Boy burger is simply a GOOD burger. It’s the genesis of all those fancy foodie burgers, the platform that all other burgers are built on. Sure, having a Fat Boy burger isn’t going to change your life or make you weep, but it’ll satisfy a deep-seated part of you that remembers the cookouts of your childhood.
The simple, no-nonsense cheeseburger at Fat Boy makes you wonder why anyone would go to a chain restaurant. It practically melts in your mouth, and the flavor of it always hits my nostalgia and takes me back to Little League games and camping as a kid.

Fat Boy is something everyone should try, at least once. If you’re interested, head to 111 Bath Road. They’re open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every other day of the week during the summer. For more information, visit fatboydrivein.com.

Also, if you have suggestions for where I should head for another burger, email at:
[email protected]