Henry’s Hamburgers

12 02 2009
  • 1832 M-139
  • Benton Harbor, MI 49022
  • (269) 926-6757
  • Website
  • No Online Menu
The last remaining Henrys Hamburgers in Benton Harbor on a cold, rainy February night

The last remaining Henry's Hamburgers in Benton Harbor on a cold, rainy February night

Unfortunately, J and I had to make an unplanned trip home due to a family emergency.  After being back in Michigan for just three days, we loaded up and headed south again.  We left just before dinner, but at the time, weren’t even thinking about being hungry.  By the time we got to Kalamazoo, our belly’s started rumbling.  About a month ago, Corky left a message in comments about a place in Benton Harbor that we should try.  We were still about forty miles from Benton Harbor, but decided to stick it out and go in search of Henry’s Hamburgers.

Henry’s Hamburgers sits on M-139 not too far from the Orchard Mall.  According to this website, the Benton Harbor Henry’s is the last of a chain that was popular in the mid-20th century.  At one time, there were several locations in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Missouri and Wisconsin.  There were even locations in Lansing on South Cedar Street and East Lansing on Michigan Avenue in the 60’s.

We pulled into Henry’s right at 7:00.  Whenever we travel to Illinois, I set my clock’s back to Central time before leaving, so when we pulled in and the doors were locked, I was a little confused.  The counter closes at 7:00 during the winter but the drive-thru stays open until 9:30.  My clock said it was only 6:00.  Stupid me, I had already forgotten I set the clock back. 

No big deal, we drove around the building to find the drive thru menu.  Henry’s is, for all intensive purposes, a fast food restaurant.  There was nothing surprising on the menu, so we pulled ahead to the order speaker and waited.  It was storming really bad as we were driving through Benton Harbor and that made drive thru a little tough.  I thought I heard a little squeak from the speaker, but wasn’t sure.  I waited a minute or two until I heard it again and assumed it was the employee asking for my order.  I started shouting what I wanted hoping someone was listening.  There was a computer screen that displayed our order that was changing so I guess someone heard us.

Henrys Hamburgers on M-139 in Benton Harbor.

Henry's Hamburgers on M-139 in Benton Harbor.

We each ordered a double cheeseburger.  J got hers with no onions.  I ordered mine plain.  I also added an order of fries and a drink to mine which is something they call a “Brown Bag Special.”  J ordered corn nuggets and a Diet Pepsi to compliment her hamburger.

As we drove around, we noticed three windows.  They must be busy during the summer months to have three windows.  We pulled all the way forward where they employee took my eleven bucks and handed me the drinks.  A few minutes later, a white bag filled with our food followed. 

We started with the side items first.  J absolutely loved her corn nuggets.  She said it was like they took creamed corn and deep fried it.  You really could see little kernels of corn hanging out of the shell after she bit one in half.  I thought she was going to make me go back and get more.  The fries were a little better than typical fast food fries, but nothing special. 

The disappointing part of the meal was that they got both burgers wrong.  They both came with everything which is ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions.  I soldiered through.  It’s not my favorite, but I don’t hate it either.  We both agreed the burgers tasted identical to a McDonald’s cheeseburger.  For both of us, it was the condiments that drew the comparison.  I couldn’t taste the burger at all, so I don’t know if it was any better or any worse than it’s national competitor.

Other than the mistake with the burgers, we were both happy with Henry’s.  We had discussed just getting fast food anyway and it was nice to check out a piece of history.  I get the feeling not much has changed in fifty years.  The old neon sign still hangs out front and the white building is still adorned with a green and white pattern as well as neon tube light signs.   The price is right and the food is on par with the big boys.  Henry’s Hamburgers is worth the detour of I-96….even if it is just for a little nostalgia.

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2 responses

20 09 2011
Johanan

That’s not the original Benton Harbor location they moved there about 12-14 years ago if I recall correctly.It is a place of local history however.Next time you are in the area and just looking for a quick burger check out either Roxy’s on Lakeshore Dr or the Neon Grill on Niles Ave both in St Joseph

29 11 2013
Bruce

Henry’s has been there for at least 20+ years. Probably longer.

The best quick, simple, and inexpensive meal in the area is La Perla east of M-139 and Pipestone. Outstanding Mexican food. Tacos, burrits, tortas, and salsa/sauces are great. $6-8 per person.

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