Jack’s North Hi Carryout
603 West 13th St. N.
Kids these days.
They just don’t know how good they’ve got it.
I slipped into grumpy old man mode as I glanced out the window of Jack’s North Hi Carryout and saw Wichita North High School directly across the street.
How I’d kill to have some greasy burger joint adjacent to my school when I was growing up!
Nope. Peanut butter and jelly on wheat in a brown paper bag. Every single day for eight years of grade school.
High school wasn’t much better.
Oh sure, we had a real cafeteria with lunch ladies slinging unidentified slop in various shapes and sizes.
I almost always opted for the “pizza.”
I put the word in quotes because it really was stale dough, a paper thin smear of tomato sauce, and one or two sprinkles of industrial cheese.
That was my lunch every day for four years.
Is it any wonder I developed such an obsession with roadside junk food, considering the culinary depravity I suffered during my most vulnerable years?
So obviously, Jack’s North Hi Carryout has been mobbed by hungry Wichita North High School students every day during the lunch bell for the better part of 70 years.
That’s why I wisely chose to get here early.
What I want to know is, where do these kids get the dough for such luxuries?
Heck, I was lucky if I saved enough allowance up to afford a McDonald’s cheeseburger or a piece of fried dough during our occasional excursions to the beach.
It was either that or endure my mother’s sand-filled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the beach blanket.
Uh, no thanks, mom. I’ll buy my own lunch.
But if I had a place like Jack’s nearby, I might’ve gotten a second part-time job. Or put my bike up for collateral and gotten a payday loan.
Jack’s has undergone several ownership changes in recent years.
This latest reincarnation is bright and clean with an industrial – dare I say – school cafeteria atmosphere.
The only tie to the past is the old hand-painted menu board behind the counter with 1950s era prices. Unfortunately, it’s merely a decoration.
The décor could definitely use a touch more nostalgia befitting of a seven decade-old burger joint.
But the kids don’t care. Most business here is carryout anyway. Hence the name.
My quarter pound burger came with bacon, grilled onions, an unmelted slice of American cheese, lettuce, and a slather of mustard (even though I asked for ketchup instead).
The standard issue bun was livened up a bit by being toasted on the grease-infused burger griddle.
It was a good burger.
Not great. But good.
It would need to be a bit juicier for great.
The thick bacon piled on top was the real highlight. There’s nothing like the combination of dead cow and pig on a bun.
But it still beats the heck out of mom’s peanut butter and jelly – any day of the week.
Not that the kids at Wichita North High would know anything about that.
Kids these days.
Rating: Would Wear a Free Shirt.