I am sat here watching TV and playing with my laptop, and must have seen something on television to make me remember The Wimpy Bar - although I think these days it is just called "Wimpy"
I am in my mid (ahem) 40's and can remember a time when MacDonalds and Burger King did not have the monopoly when it came to buying a burger.
I remember a time when it was possible to be shopping of a Saturday afternoon and decide to have burger and chips, and you could sit down at a table, a waiter/waitress would take your order and bring you a knife and fork to eat your burger and chips with. Yes, certainly you could get a takeaway if you wanted one, but generally people didn't - it was a very civilised way to have a Burger.
Then, I believe the early 1980's happened and our high streets became more Americanised.... small Cafe's like Wimpy became considered a poor relation to the large MacDonalds popping up everywhere - don't get me wrong, I have no problem with MacDonalds in the slightest, but it is a shame that Wimpy has been forgotten. They have gone from a fast food restaurant in most high streets, to small restaurants in quieter streets in, very often, quieter - less affluent towns.
Anyway, I am going back through memory lane now.. The Wimpy does still exist and should not be forgotten, a few weeks before Christmas I popped out for the afternoon to pick up some shopping and I went to Littlehampton in West Sussex, and there it was - a little Wimpy, off the main street, opposite a cheapie bargain store and also opposite Iceland food shop.
My hubby, daughter and myself decided to pop in for a bite of lunch, and although there are new things on the menu, also the menu had exactly the same things on there that used to be all those years back.
My hubby had a Quarter Pounder, Cheese and Chips... (Now I used to work in the Wimpy in Chichester about 26 years ago, and was there when it changed hands to an independant cafe, and the Quarter Pounder was the best burger the served back then, and to be honest it looks like it still is)
I had a cheese burger and chips and my veggie daughter had a jacket potatoe.. Now adding Jackets to the menu is something that never used to be there - so it is good that they have moved with the times..
Hubby and I both had a cappuccino - totally delicious and my daughter had a coke.
Our final bill was just a little shy of £18, which I suppose is a few pounds dearer than MacDonalds would have charged us, but what we did get from Wimpy was a pleasant, quiet 45 minutes, sat out of the cold, being waited on - being offered salt, vinegar and ketchup with our burger and chips !! We drank our coffee from cups and saucers.
Yes, the decor is a little dated and tired now, but the cafe was spotless and the service impeccable, I am not suggesting that you must give your waiter/waitress a tip, that is up to you, but the difference in going somewhere where the staff know that it makes a difference if they serve you with a smile and a pleasant word, rather than reading from a script, parrot fashion... "is that large?" "do you want fries with that?" is somewhat refreshing..
Altogether a much nicer experience!
If you ask someone what they think of Wimpy, you will usually get a blank stare. If you remind them that it is a Fast Food restaurant, you normally get a weird look and a "what? does that still exist?"
Yes folks, Wimpy does still exist. Perhaps they don't have anywhere near the number of restaurants they did in their hey-day but they continue to battle on. In the times of Macdonalds and Burger King dominating the fast food market, I can only imagine that Wimpy have hung on for nolstagias sake and nothing else.
I live in Lewisham, where a Wimpy continues to stand proudly on the high street, defiantly over the road from the busy Macdonalds. In comparison to the trendy looking Maccy D's, Wimpy looks like it hasn't moved on in style since the 1970s. In fact, the only thing you can say for it is that it looks clean and that it is quiet. In fact, it's so quiet, when I ventured in with a friend yesterday to investigate whether they still did the famous Brown Derby, there were more staff members than there were customers. In fact, we we the only customers, unless you count the old man with a cup of tea, but he looked like he'd been there so long he was probably part of the furniture.
So, what's it like in a Wimpy? Very much like your bog-standard greasy spoon type caff. Plastic laminated menus, plastic, hardbacked seats and all the furniture bolted to the floor. And very bad lighting. I will say though that despite this, one of the big pluses of a Wimpy is that while you can eat it, or takeaway, if you choose to eat in, it's waiter service! What WOULD Ronald say? Call me old fashioned, but I like the fact they have waiter service. Nothing like a strong cuppa in a greasy spoon or Wimpy.
I know a lot of people turn their noses up at Wimpy, but I do think that their menu is vastly superior to their more popular competitors. They do all the typical burger type meal deals you'd expect and the prices seem to be fairly similar - maybe slightly more, varying at £4-6, but hey, it's plated and it comes with a knife and fork! They also do paninis, jacket potatoes, the Wimpy Bender, Quorn meals for veggies and toasted tea cakes for the OAPs. And me. I like toasted tea cakes. Mmmmm. Anyway, their menu is much more vast and I think the portion sizes are slightly bigger. Although I'm not a chip fan, so I don't feel qualified to comment, I would say that their burgers are also of good quality. I find most fast food burgers taste greasy and are quite flimsy in quality. Wimpy burgers are wonderful; they taste juicy and succulent and don't seem greasy at all. In fact, they taste like a good quality grilled burger and they have fresh, crispy lettuce in the bun, with lovely tomatoes - not limp rags like other places tend to favour.
The other thing I really like about Wimpy is the fact that if you say you don't want something on your food, they get the order right and bring it how you request. The menus are also good - everything is clearly described and calorie content is also listed, along with allergy advice. Handy if you have dietry requirements.
The desserts at Wimpy are the best and the Brown Derby was the real reason for my visit yesterday. I had a craving and I am pleased to note that the Brown Derby is as messy, unhealthy and delicious as ever. For the unaware, the Brown Derby is a ring doughnut, topped with vanilla ice-cream and smothered in nuts and chocolate sauce. It is a seventies classic and it is amazing. Wimpy also specialise in banana boats and the classic knickerbocker glory - nolstagia at it's best.
Ok, so it isn't fine dining. It's fast food. I don't even like fast food, but I like Wimpy. It looks forgotton about and like it's stuck in the seventies. The food isn't imaginative. The restaurant is nothing special. But somehow, visiting Wimpy is comforting and like going home. And if you choose to sit there with your paper for 6 hours with a pot of tea, no one will mind.
Its funny because when anyone initially thinks of wimpy your first impression is that its the failed fast food take away store that used to rival mcdonalds and yet in no means can it do so nowadays, however through personal reviews and experiences there people love wimpy and I am for sure one of those people.
Perhaps like for others wimpy is an incredibly nostalgic setting for me, as I used to go as a child and I remember so clearly the wimpy birthday parties that I used to go to and mr wimpy coming out with his bucket of badges. I used to absolutely love them and again going for a lunch with my family and being thrilled at the thought of the fast food but being delivered on a plate.
Nowadays all fast food is shunned and of course it should be, full of fat, grease, and processed food that is only bad for our bodies and souls, however there is just something quite endeering and old fashioned almost about wimpy, which cant be replaced and hence its somewhere we go to on occassion usually if we are travelling and its easy and ok to eat in.
I have never been treated badly in a wimpy restaurant and always had brilliant customer service so this is a plus in my books, of course its no ritz but its not meant to be so. I have fond memories of this restaurant when my aunt took me there to cheer me up as my grandfather was being treated at home whilst he was living his final days. I was a child and needed a comfort and for me at such a young age to have a treat of burger and chips was something great and hence I have fond memories ever since.
The food is reasonably priced and has a variety of options from burgers, all day breakfasts, fish, scampi and even steak. Of course classic chips and jacket potatoes are serviced but you can sit with your mum and eat a tea cake and a cup of tea if you wish, which is again a nice memory of childhood whilst a child sits eating their burger and chips. They do pretty good deals also such as toasted sandwiches and a tea for a cheap price or teacakes and meal deals.
Ok yes its bad food, its a fast food sit in and take away, but as one offs and a little treat for your little one or whilst travelling this is a nice place to go, and it shouldnt be downgraded below mcdonalds as its far nicer and great customer service.
There is only one Wimpy near me in the North of Scotland and it is so worthwhile travelling there just to get one of the Quarterpounders with cheese and a strawberry milkshake.
It made be classed as a fast food restaurant but it is so much better than he others with the burgers actually tasting like proper burgers. The burgers are lovely and thick. I always choose the Quarterpounder with cheese so can't really comment on any of the other burgers but this one is always made perfectly in a brown roll with cheese, lettuce, onion and a lovely tasty burger sauce. Yummy. I'm not to keen on the chips but hey you don't really chips to be brilliant when the burgers taste soooo good. The strawberry milkshake is also lovely made from ice cream and flavouring mixed together, it is definately a thick shake and the best I've ever tasted.
They still do parties in their restaurants as well which reminds me of my childhood and the best thing ever is they still have Mr Wimpy who comes in at the party...kids still love him!! I do think the restaurant does feel a bit like an American Diner but that's all part of it's charm
Ok now to the prices, for a Quarterpounder with Cheese meal it will cost you about £4.65 which is a wee bit expensive but definately worth it. The burger alone is £3.05. They do also have quite a lot of vegertarian options as well as healthy options and I noticed recently they do jacket potatoes and are now also doing panini's. And if the main meal wasn't enough for you they have desserts as well. Definately a place worth going to.
I like Wimpy!
I like being able to go in and sit down and browse their menu at leisure, in the full knowledge that I am going to order the same thing as I did last time. Frankfurter in a Bun with chips and a glass of coke. Their frankfurter is somewhat odd in that it is a sausage which manages to curl its way around the inner perimeter of the bun (or as we used to call it in the UK a 'roll'). So, I call it a 'bendyburger' because the sausage is bent, well not so much bent as they cut little slits in the sausage so that it will bend.
the 'bendyburger also has a slice of (processed?) cheese in it, tomato ketchup and very finely chopped onions.
Then the chips - they are always hot, soft on the inside and crisp on the outside and a delicious blonde colour.
And the coke, well coke is coke. They dont fill half your glass with ice though. Service is always good in Wimpys. It is not as cheap as Mcdonalds and maybe a little dearer than BK, but the food is nicer, you are not rushed, and sometimes it is nice to have someone serve you.
Wimpy is a fast food chain that is much different to Mcdonalds. For a start you don't have to queue up tp order - you just sit dwon and the waitor/waitress comes to your table. The food is served on a plate; the drinks are served in a glass and you get knives and forks.
Now to the most important part - the menu! Wimpy has a wide variety of burgers including vegetarian. You can have them with or without chips. They are really high quality. There is other items like fish and chips; hot dogs and fish bites. They do breakfasts; teacakes and grills.
The wimpy also does jacket potaoes with a choice of toppings; baguettes and salads. There is side orders of salads; onion rings; chips and baked beans. The wimpy also caters for kids with their kids meals that come with a choice of chips or salad.
The dessert menu is very mouthwatering. It has the brown derby (a doughnut topped with ice cream, chocolate sauce and nuts); apple pies; chocolate fudge cakes; sundaes; mr whippy ice creams and many other tempting desserts.
The drinks menu consists of thickshakes (chocolate; vanilla; strawberry and banana); smoothies; orange juice/squash; fizzy drinks; water; hot chocolate and tea and coffee.
The wimpy now has nutrition information on the back of it's menus; so if you are counting calories you can pick the right meals.
The Wimpy is more expensive than Mcdonalds!
Unlike the other review, I personally find that Wimpy offers a service that is reliable and above average. When entering the restaurant (at the top of Gabriels Hill, Maidstone), you are instantly greeted by the lower economic side of the town. Whilst these people look slightly degenerate and rough, their do great you with a gesture of goodwill and are quick to find you a seat. I found the restaurant to be clean and fresh, with little mess or dirt on the floor. The menu's were all laminated and I could tell that they were wiped over often. A good sign in any small chain restaurant I find. I immediatley ordered a cheese burger and banana milkshake (Wimpy's delicacy) and within 15 minutes, my meal was brought out to me. To my astonishment, the burger looked rich and full and I soon found that the taste was sensational. A great place to eat and a look cost to match!
The interior of the restaurant was painted a calming cream whilst the seats were extremely soft to sit on (always a bonus when you're eating a nice meal).
As far as the menu choice is concerned, what can I say. Everything from crunchy salad to tantalising meat was available with a large variety in side orders, desserts and soft drinks to choose from. Prices ranged from £3 for a salad to $5 for a large burger with cheese and other assorted attachments to make your meal just that little bit nicer.
The scenery is magnificent as you look round at the South Lakeland hills. The lake at Killington is calm and blue. A group of wind surfers skit too and fro as you look from the car park towards the restaurant. The Killington Lake Service area on the M6 has a reasonably priced restaurant with fast service and the magnificent view is yours to enjoy, totally free of charge. However, the Wimpy Restaurant that has recently appeared inside the same building is a different matter all together. We left the car in the car park and noticed that four coaches had just pulled up near the doors. I hurried inside hoping to beat the ravenous tourists to the counter, but I was too slow. However, I immediately saw the solution. A new Wimpy Restaurant had recently opened on the site. There was nobody at the counter. Infact the place was empty so I marched up to the counter feeling pleased with myself. I didn't look at the menu and I didn't even bother to ask myself why it was empty when the other restaurant was full. I ordered two burgers in buns and two teas. The burgers were very small and came wrapped in thin paper napkins that refused to be parted from the burgers. The tea puzzled me. It was light brown in colour and came complete with milk and one sugar but it tasted like nothing I've ever tasted before. We concluded that this was because it had been made with lake water which, I believe, gets a little brown coloured after heavy rain. (This negates the need for teabags and cut down on overheads for the restaurant.) The burgers inside the buns resembled those leather elbow pads you sometimes see stiched to hacking and riding jackets. Cups of lake water tea and burgers were no hotter than the air temperature in the restaurant. Posters on the wall extolled the virtues of 'Wimpy' hotdogs at three pounds (um, that's the price for a hotdog sausage in a finger roll w
ith a squirt of mustard.) Special all in meals at 5.75p looked appetising in the picture but I did catch sight of another unsuspecting customer scowling at the rather cool, meagre contents of his roll and inspecting a cup of something that only slightly resembled coffee. He tasted the drink, licked his lips, sugared it again, tasted, stirred, tasted, scrutinised, and promptly threw the cup plus contents into the bin. He did eat the fries though. It was cold and we couldn't wait to get back into the car for some warmth. The cost of this Wimpy Restaurant feast was just a penny under ten pounds. My advice if you are travelling in this area is don't bother with this Wimpy Restaurant. If you do stop at Killington Lake use the regular services restaurant which is warm, clean and certainly no more expensive. Even if its busy don't be tempted like I was!
If you ask my friend Alex to name three things that I like he most likely will say bins, rocks and cutlery. Why cutlery well we got on to the conversation of fast food places and he said he liked Mc Donald’s while I said I like wimpy because you got cutlery. But its not just cutlery that makes wimpy my favourite fast food place to eat. It’s the whole atmosphere and the fact that it really isn’t that fast at all. So go back to a time in your mind when there was no Mc Donald’s, no Burger King and the most popular place to go was wimpy. I can just about remember it. I was very young and everyone’s birthday parties at school were at wimpy when today they wouldn’t even be considered. Do 5 year olds even know wimpy exists? The birthday parties would be where you all went in and sat down. Ordered you meal from your seat with waiter service and then would play games. A man would always be dressed up as the little wimpy man and the whole party was just fun. What happened to those days? I’m 16 now and me and my boyfriend of the time last year decided to go round all the restaurants in Chelmsford (where he lived) and eat in them. This would take a long time to do and we noticed that next to the bus station was a wimpy. I didn’t know they were even there anymore, I mean who eats at wimpy right? We went round as few fast food places, fish and chips and pie and mash and then it came to the turn of wimpy. I could remember the parties but not the food. Not the service and not the cutlery. We went in and it was almost empty. We sat down at the little tables and looked at the menu. There were two menus and on the wall were the desserts – mainly ice cream. I ordered a bacon burger and a glass of coke. They also serve tea, milkshakes and many other fizzy drinks. The waitress then gave us paper napkins and cutlery. She brought over our drinks in glasses and gave us straws. Then we could h
ear the sound of the fresh burgers being cooked – not micro waved like places such Mc Donald’s and Burger King does. Our burgers and chips were then brought over to us on a plate and the waitress gave us a bottle of ketchup, salt and vinegar – no chips are good without all of the three together – yum. We ate all our food and then decided to splash out on an ice cream Sundae. It was lovely. Three flavours of ice cream, chocolate sauce and cream, lovely. There is a special menu for students that are kept on the wall. You can order from this and it is a lot cheaper than the menus, although I cant say that they are very expensive either. You have to go up to the counter to pay. They except Luncheon vouchers as payment as well as cash. They don’t take a tip for service but there is a little pot on the counter and you can tip if you want to. So how does wimpy rate along side a busy competitive world? Well I can’t say wimpy is what it used to be, its no way as busy but it is apart from that the same. Ok so there is no man dressed up as the wimpy man but hey, is that really needed. So wimpy cooks food fresh, Mc Donald’s and Burger King microwave. One point to Wimpy. Wimpy waits on you at your table. Mc Donald’s has lots of queues and you join them and order then make your way to your seat. I have to say being waited on is nicer but can be longer than joining a queue. So it’s a tie. One point each. Wimpy serves on a plate and gives drinks in proper glasses. Mc Donald’s and Burger King serve on cardboard and similar items, which are less environmentally friendly and litter the streets. One point to wimpy. Wimpy is a lot less busy while I can never find a seat when I’m in McDonalds. One point to wimpy. At the end of round one… Mc Donald’s, Burger King and other similar chains – 1 Wimpy - 4
I hope I’ve reminded you or told you about wimpy positively. I think it’s a great place to eat and try to go there over other fast food places. It’s cheap and really nice inside. I only wish there was more than there are. Sara