Growing up in Eastern Illinois, one of the fast food restaurants in our regular rotation was Hardee’s. Over time and after a sale, Hardee’s started to disappear from our area to the point that there aren’t actually any in the area I grew up in. In fact, Hardee’s seem to be few and far between now. In the whole state of Michigan, there are only nine left at Wendy’s and Tim Horton’s bought out most of the restaurants in 1998. Five in the U.P. and four in the L.P.
The four Lower Peninsula stores are kind of spread out yet two are in Southwest Michigan. One is Niles. The other, right off I-94 at the Love’s Travel Stop in Marshall.
I was sent over to far eastern Calhoun County for work and on my way home at 10:00 at night, I was hungry. We’ve passed this exit several times on the way to Detroit or Ann Arbor and even stopped for gas, but never food. I always want to, but it seems like we’ve always just come back from a big meal somewhere.
So once again, I pull off on the Partello Road exit to get gas and notice the Hardee’s is open 24 hours. Score.
Hardee’s has undergone several transformation over the years. My first memory of Hardee’s is getting a roast beef sandwich similar to what you would get at Arby’s. After that, they tried chicken. It was good, but I still thought of Hardee’s as a roast beef place.
After getting bought by CKE in 1997, the went to a more heavy fast food place with burgers and menu items from the Carl’s Jr. franchise…..but not just any burgers, Thick Burgers.
The Marshall location is connected to the Love’s Travel Plaza and you can move freely between the two spaces. Hardee’s also has it’s own entrance on the north side of the building and a drive thru.
Since it has been quite a while since I’ve actually eaten at a Hardee’s I had to get reacquainted with their menu. I remember the sandwich I liked is the Monster Thickburger. This behemoth of a sandwich has two Angus beef patties with two layers of cheese and two layers on bacon plus mayo on a sesame seed bun. The damage is almost 1500 calories….before you add on fries and a drink.
I cut out the mayo to save me a few calories….oh and I just really dislike mayo…but still…every calorie counts, right :) I went with the medium combo which comes natural cut fries and a drink. The price is a little high coming in at just under $10, but you really do get a ton of food.
After swiping my credit card, I was handed a laminated number and went to get my Sprite while I waited for my food.
A few minutes later, my number was called, I grabbed my bag and headed home. As much as I wanted to dive in right away, I also wanted to get home, so I grabbed my fries and started driving. The deliciousny goodness of the Monster was going to have to wait.
The fries were what I’m starting to expect from fast food fries that don’t come from McDonalds. They were salty and delicious and most importantly, didn’t taste like McDonalds. The medium was larger than I expected and they held me over until I was able to get my hands around the burger.
Once I finally made it home, I threw the bag down on the table and tore it open. Before I even unloaded my car…but after I said hi to J, I popped open the cardboard box to get to the burger.
Lucky for me, the burger is exactly what I remembered. 2/3 of a pound plus a few for the bacon of meaty goodness. A recently liking burgers for some reason J asked for a bite. This burger is much bigger than what she usually eats so I had my doubts that she would like all that meat. She ashamedly admitted that it was very tasty.
Hardee’s is exactly what I remembered it to be. It’s fast food, but it’s just enough different from the other places and much rarer which makes it appealing when I do actually see one.