Pomade, Styrofoam, & Boyd’s

The anatomy of the U Village Burgermaster.

When I think of the University Village Burgermaster, I think of my late grandfather—for two reasons: 1) His daughter, my mother, used to take my brothers and I there with astonishing regularity when we were younger, eschewing mighty McDonald's down the road, and 2) the elderly men who constitute the bulk of the restaurant's morning regulars generally sport an abundance of pomade in their hair—at least those who still have hair. And my grandpa, a former department-store manager who seemed most in love with the world when tending a charcoal grill surrounded by his enormous Irish-Catholic family, was a pomade fan.Pomade, like Burgermaster, might be dead were it not for survivors of my grandfather's generation, their offspring, and younger folk with a nostalgic bent. Styrofoam, meanwhile, is already an endangered species, what with an all-out assault on its very existence being waged by environmentally conscious companies and politicians nationwide. And Boyd's coffee, once a restaurant staple, has become ever more uncommon with the prevalence of designer blends.Rare is the establishment that features all three in abundance. And yet they're in flush supply at the U-Village Burgermaster, the first of five locations in a 56-year-old local chain founded by a gentleman named Phil Jensen. While offshoots in Bellevue and on Aurora all tout the "dine in your car" drive-in experience, the original is strictly a dine-in affair that inhabits a middle ground between the Lower Queen Anne Dick's and whatever occupies the rung just above fast food. Like Dick's, customers order at the register at Burgermaster. Unlike Dick's, they're given a plastic placard with a number on it and their orders are delivered to their tables. Like Dick's, customers bus their own remnants. But while Dick's serves its milkshakes in plastic cups, Burgermaster's come encased in Styrofoam. Take that, Richard Conlin.Another key difference: breadth of offerings. Dick's is open for lunch and dinner, and serves burgers, fries, soda, and ice cream. Burgermaster, meanwhile, has a marvelously diverse menu, and opens bright and early for breakfast. And while much of Burgermaster's food is merely above-average, it does one dish in town better than just about anyone else: Swedish pancakes.Garnished with powdered sugar, jelly, butter, and syrup, these crepe-like flapjacks are to the Bisquick variety as Daryl Hannah was to John Candy in Splash. That is to say, tastier and skinnier. Even a wrinkly guy with pomade in his hair can appreciate the splendor of that.mseely@seattleweekly.com

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