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I’ve lived in Yakima nearly four years now and I had never had a Miner Burger — until now. It’s kind of embarrassing, really.

Of course I heard all the stories about how iconic it was and how huge the burgers were, but still, I probably drove by it on South First Street dozens of times without going in.

So I took the plunge. I ordered a Big Miner Burger with bacon and cheese, a small fry and a chocolate shake. The kitchen was swarming with workers in red uniforms, ping-ponging between sizzling grills and vats of hot oil. They gave me a number and I wandered back to the dining area. The two huge rooms were packed.

Each meal is made to order, but it took only a few minutes for mine to arrive. The locals are not kidding about how big the food is. The burger had to be at least seven inches across and the fries came in a container that seemed nearly as big as a laundry basket.

There’s nothing like a French fry fresh out the fryer, so hot it almost burns your tongue. Crisp and golden on the outside and soft and steaming inside. I used to order fries without salt at McDonald’s, because they had to make them to order that way, instead of serving the pre-salted ones sitting under the heat lamp. Then I’d sneak over to the condiment area and salt the heck out of them. Divine.

The fries at Miner’s were perfect. I nervously eyed the burger as I gobbled them down. How was I even going to fit that thing in my mouth? The bacon and cheese were on the bottom of the burger, which was topped with onions, lettuce, pickles, mayo, and a secret relish — all packed into a sesame-seed bun. I took a deep breath and dove in.

This is not a burger you want to eat on a first date. In short order my orange tray was strewn with bits of lettuce and onion and my chin was covered with sauce. I wiped down with the thoughtfully provided paper towels and took a sip of the chocolate shake. That thing was MONEY! Homemade the old-fashioned way with ice cream, milk and chocolate. Worth the trip all on its own.

But there was no way I could eat all that food. In the end, I managed about a third of the burger and a quarter of the fries. I could have sucked down the entire shake but felt I had to show some restraint and left a little at the bottom. Yes, this was the first time I went to Miner’s of Yakima, but it will definitely not be the last. And next time, I’m bringing a friend. It’s no wonder this place has been open since 1948.