Burger Master: Last Hurrah

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Burger Master Shuts Down I know that I said earlier that I wasn’t crazy about Burger Master, but even I can recognize a true classic. Especially when my girlfriend says that we HAVE to go grab some Flying Cheeseburgers before it’s too late. So off we go to Burger Master on 10th Avenue South last night. The iconic Burger Master sign read simply, “Thank You.” As expected, the drive-thru was long. LONG. When we arrived at 7:17 pm, there were 27 cars in the drive-thru lane. We took our place and settled in for a long wait…
Folks who wanted to skip the long drive-thru were met with a printed sign on the door telling them that the lobby was closed. One young couple, baby in tow, took the news in stride: the husband and baby jumped in the car and took their position at the end of the drive-thru lane, while the Missus walked over to Taco Treat and brought back a few snacks to nibble on during the adventure.

The line moved slowly…the clock ticked 7:41…7:55…8:12…8:23…as we inched closer to the speaker and menu, we heard the Burger Master staffer greet one car with, “Welcome to Burger Master, sorry about the wait.” An understatement. It was clear, however, that everyone was taking it in stride; people arrived expecting to wait and seemed only too happy to idle in their cars.

Loooong Line Finally we arrived at the speaker, and were greeted by a happy voice. The order: three Flying Cheeseburgers, a Flying Grilled Cheese Sandwich, french fries, and a Green River. Oops…we were told that they were out of fries, so we opted for onion rings.

Then we inched towards the window, and when we arrived, we were greeted with a smile by Anna. She said it had been busy like this all day, but the Burger Master crew was keeping up. We asked if people were OK with the long line, and she said that only one person had been upset…so angry at having to wait, in fact, that she had ordered her passenger to get out of the car, move the picnic table, and maneuvered her car around it in order to drive off in a huff. Other than that, though, Anna said that everyone had been happy, but most had been nostalgic.

Flying Cheeseburgers!And then we approached the second window, picked up our order, and headed out. The time: 8:43 pm. Total wait: 1 hour, 26 minutes. The line had shortened by this time – only about a dozen cars. Victorious, we went home, unwrapped the greasy goodness, and feasted upon flying meats and huge rings. Delicious! And those rings are crazy-huge!
Somehow, in between my first experience at Burger Master back in 2002 and my experience last night, my taste buds had somehow undergone some sort of metamorphasis, thereby enabling me to finally appreciate Burger Master.

And that’s the report. It was well worth the long wait. Thanks, Burger Master!

UPDATE, Saturday:
we drove by Burger Master around 6:00 pm and it was closed. I figure they sold out of just about everything and had to close up before 10:00 pm, the scheduled time. RIP, Burger Master.



  1. Abigail with the gravy pipe on

    So… the meat and cheese and secret sauce is pressed and sealed inside the bread and then cut out – in the shape of a UFO, hence the “flying” burger? Like cow Uncrustables?

    I hope everyone turned their engine off while waiting for an hour and a half 😉 Cap’n GreenPath wants to remind you that idling for more than 30 seconds is bad, if you’re getting zero miles per gallon. (Part of the propaganda we’re fed at work every day)

  2. So, Great Falls has succumbed to the McDonaldsWendysBurgerKing virus like the rest of the so-called “civilized” world. The local burger joints usually had the best tasting burgers (in my case, Sandy’s and the Frostop in Billings in the ’70s), while the national chains weren’t bad, but not all that great, either.

    Of course, around here (Mesa, AZ), the chains are staffed with high school kids to whom English is a second language (and that’s the Anglos — never mind the Mexican kids). I’ve had my orders screwed up so many times in the drive-throughs, I’ve taken to going inside hoping that somebody in management is on one of the order stations. (For the record, I take my cheeburgers with ketchup and mustard only. But I’ve been getting them with ketchup and Onions, or even worse, with mayo. It’s gotten to the point where I order them plain; it’s hard to screw that up — although they try.) It’s that, or go to Arby’s (and while roast beef sandwiches are good, it gets old in a hurry).

  3. I grew up less than a mile from the Burgermaster near Smelter. The ramp burger is still the greatest fast food item to ever be created. We make rough approximations at home to this day.
    I haven’t been back to Great Falls in over a decade and ow.. with Burgermaster gone, I may never go back.

  4. I have not been to Great Falls in a couple of decades but if there were two dining places I would visit while passing thru, one was Burger Master and the other is Taco Treat. I have told my son many times of the legendary Flying Cheeseburgers and the enormous onion rings that were the size of donuts! Thankfully Taco Treat is also in Billings and Missoula. So long Burger Master….another ICON bites the dust in Great Falls. Casinos continue to be the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  5. My dad (GF resident since 1965) is still good friends with Mordy Boyd so very glad to see that folks still remember the Burgermaster! My favorite sandwich was the Bob’s Special (we’re talkin’ 70s now) which was a nice thick burger topped with a quick-grilled, book-cover thickness piece of ham. You wouldn’t think that would work, but the sauce used (definite mustard accent) just totally worked. Mordy also handled most of our bag luches for basketball roadtrips and would pile huge stacks of meat into those sandwiches! (Moth is watering thinking of the roast beef). Quality guy, quality place, and many good memories. Ironic — or not? — that specialty handcrafted burgers are back in vogue now. Thanks David for a great, homey website…made my day!

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