On a warm spring day, men in ties sit at picnic benches by the side of Providence Road, carefully eating burgers outside of Wimpy’s “Original” Restaurant. Inside, a mother orders burgers as the son plays a video game.
When I meet owner David Palandrini, he holds up a wrapped burger. “I’ve got a gift for you when you leave.” He places it back in a warm spot and joins me a few moments later to chat.
Palandrini purchased the popular burger spot in June 2010, after working in the mortgage business for years.
“It’s a fun burger place. People can come in and get an excellent meal at a good value,” he told me. “It’s a ⅓ pound burger to begin with, so for starters it’s a bigger burger. We put it on a brioche style bun from Le Bus. We toast the bun, and we’ll prepare it any way you want. We build it to order.”
Of course, I already knew this. I have been making occasional trips to Wimpy’s for years. They are located on Providence Road, just south of the Route 1 interchange. For me, this is the halfway point between West Chester and South Philly, and a perfect place to stop for an excellent burger before heading to the see the Phillies or the Flyers crush their opponents.
Although they offer hoagies and steaks, with the name of Wimpy’s, they are first and foremost a burger place. “The Bacon Cheeseburger is our most popular – two large slices of bacon on it,” Palandrini said. “We put two slices of cheese – American, Swiss, blue, or pepperjack. We also make kick-ass shakes!”
Their most unique specialty burger is called the Volcano Burger. “This is a pepper jack burger with hot sauce, our specialty spice Whimpy WAM!, on a bed of lettuce with two fried jalapeno poppers placed on top. It’s fairly popular but it’s for a certain clientele. Some people like the spice!”
Palandrini has been developing plans to open a second Wimpy’s in West Chester. He’s working to update the space where Stadium Grill used to be, though he’s run into a few construction delays.
“It’s slow progress in West Chester, but we hope to open in June. We’re excited about what we’re doing out there, and hope to offer a different feel.” He notes the West Chester location is four times the size of the Media spot.
Wimpy’s has also recently started fundraiser nights and is encouraging local non-profit sports teams and clubs to participate. Interested parties can call and reserve a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night. “If you rally your team to come out for a burger, Wimpy’s will donate 15% from the night. It’s a win-win for us. People support their cause. I’m happy to do it.”
I finally get to ask him, “what’s with the wrapped burger?”
He grins. “When I first bought the business, for some reason I placed an order for a double mushroom swiss burger,” he explained. “When I got home I decided to eat it. It was beautiful looking. When I cut it in half it looked like a cake. I swear it’s a better burger if you let it sit and meld in it’s own juices.” About half his business is take-out, so it makes sense that he wants his burgers to withstand being wrapped.
Palandrini suggested I take the burger with me, but I was going to be running errands, so I convinced him to let me eat it at the restaurant.
I unwrapped the double burger. It was built. I could see why he is proud of it. It’s a solid burger, and it was still hot, just the whiff reminded me why I had skipped breakfast that morning. I don’t usually order a double burger – especially when the burgers patties are this huge. Each mouthful consisted of gooey Swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms, which had coalesced with the two beef patties. Having been wrapped for a short time, the soft bun still held together nicely.
David brought out some fries with his special Wimpy WAM seasoning, which is his own special mix of cajun spices, which provides a nice kick. They were crisp fries of different lengths and widths, hot right out of the basket.
Wimpy’s Original is located at 1015 North Providence Road, Media, PA. They’re reachable by phone at 610-565-3910. They are open Monday, 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; and Sunday, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.