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Lawrence Welk thought about going into Squeezeburgers!

May 11, 2011

From Mister Music Maker: Lawrence Welk, by Mary Lewis Coakley. Doubleday & Company, Garden City, New York, 1958. pg 217. [This book’s not so good on dates. The following was in the late 40’s probably, or maybe 1950?]

[Lawrence Welk thought about going into hamburgers.]

“…renamed by Lawrence “squeezeburgers.”

“A squeezeburger was to be served on a rhythm roll with piccolo picles and fiddlestick fries, and packaged in an accordion-pleated box, sporting pictures of band members. Lawrence thought that he might lease his idea and recipe to restaurants under contract and thus build up a nationwide business. [[Wow.]]

“But first he bought a diner and began serving squeeze-burgers over the counter. The diner was at the juncture of two busy highways, U.S. 65 and 18, in Mason City, Iowa, a town through which he often traveled. He proceeded to give his new property a face-lifting.

““The maestro loves gimmicks,” says one of Lawrence’s publicity men, who should know, as he has had something to do with a few of them, including the radios shaped like a champagne bottle with the cap of the bottle the dial; with the paint sets for children with pictures of Lawrence Welk in color; with the “Drive Carefully” windshield stickers “and enjoy Lawrence Welk’s Champagne Music”; with the accordion shaped earrings, the tie clasps; the pencils with tiny champagne bottle heads, and so on. Lawrence has these gadgets made up to give to his fans.

“Naturally, then, he would set to work on his diner. He revamped the outside of the place so that it looked like an accordion, and he redecorated the inside from top to bottom with novelties shaped like musical instruments.

“Despite all this ingenuity, and gradiose plans of expansion, and despite the fact that diver profits were satisfactory, Lawrence didn not stay in “the food business” long. … “I couldn’t take care of it myself, unless I neglected the band. There wasn’t anything to do but sell it.”’

Thanks to Dinerhunter for pics of the Squeezeburger Diner!   Click on the image to learn more about this important culinary /musical landmark (gone these many years.)

[Added May, 2012]

While researching Accordion Patent Day (May 6th, happy day) I realize I first came across Welk’s burger-scheme way back in 2007.  Chris at the Let’s Polka blog reported on a patent for Squeezeburger serving trays.  I didn’t know at the time that there was a burger to go in the box, or a restaurant to order it in.   Comparing the two it looks like they eventually simplified the design (probably to be cheaper).  Wish I could order up a  Symphonic Squeezeburger on a Rhythm Roll with Fiddlestring Fries, and I’ll take a side of Piccolo Pickles and Vibrant Vegetables!  Enjoy.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. dinerman permalink
    April 15, 2012 8:40 pm

    Pictures of the diner.

  2. Dr. M.L. Glasser permalink
    September 26, 2015 4:30 pm

    I encountered Lawrence Welk’s squeezeburger back in the 1940’s outside of Chicago when I was 12 or 13. My Boy-Scout troop was on a camp-out at Caldwell Woods near the City. The Scout leader took me and several companions for a snack at a restaurant that featured this connection.

  3. September 26, 2015 4:53 pm

    Wow, an actual Squeezeburger customer! That’s great! You make one of my favourite stories even better. Thanks much.


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