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Swensons

18 S. Hawkin Ave., Akron, OH - (330) 864-8416
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/28/2009 8:51:00 PM
There are a bunch of Swensons around Akron. The original one (since 1934) was razed not too long ago. A modern, retro-designed place was erected in its place. Akron burger connoisseurs told us they miss the well-aged charm of the old place; but there is no denying that the hamburgers served here are something special. And service is a blast from the past.

Pull into a space and flash your lights. Out sprints a curb boy to take your order. Apparently, most customers know the kitchen's repertoire so well that menus are superfluous – we didn't get one until we requested it. And besides, the vast majority of customers get what Swenson's is famous for: hamburgers.

And oh, what a selection of burgers, on nice butter-toasted buns, with or without cheese: doubles, triples, quarter-pounders, half-pounders and the house specialty, a Galley Boy, which is a double cheeseburger dressed with two sauces, one mayonnaise-style with bits of onion added, the other zesty barbecue. Beyond these fundamentals the menu lists a quarter-pound all beef bologna sandwich, salads, soups, fried chicken and shrimp. Among the beverages are milk shakes and malts, something called a California (reminded us of Kool-Ade), and half-and-half (tea and lemonade). French fries, which we didn't try, are listed as "Only Idaho's," the dubious apostrophe apparently having migrated from the restaurant name, Swensons, which doesn't contain one on the outdoor sign or menu.

There are no indoor seats, but meals to be eaten here are presented on sturdy trays that clip onto the inside of car windows in such a way that it's possible to dine in comfort even when it's raining. These good burgers in this classic setting are a Roadfood paradigm.

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4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
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Swenson's signature dish, the Galley Boy, is two modest-size patties of beef, cheese, mayo-onion sauce and barbecue sauce on a buttered and toasted bun. Optional condiments include ketchup, relish, sweet pickles, horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco, cocktail, honey mustard, tartar and Cajun spice. Garnish choices are tomato, lettuce, olives, grilled onions, hot peppers, bacon, Coney sauce and cole slaw.
"Swenson's signature dish, the Galley Boy, is two modest-size patties of beef, cheese, mayo-onion sauce and barbecue sauce on a buttered and toasted bun. Optional condiments include ketchup, relish, sweet pickles, horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco, cocktail, honey mustard, tartar and Cajun spice. Garnish choices are tomato, lettuce, olives, grilled onions, hot peppers, bacon, Coney sauce and cole slaw."
Michael Stern





The delicious, brittle, crunchy exterior to the onion rings makes them Swensons' 'must eat' side order.
"The delicious, brittle, crunchy exterior to the onion rings makes them Swensons' 'must eat' side order."
Cliff Strutz


Swensons offers several dipping sauce options for your fried zucchini, but they are tasty enough to stand on their own.
"Swensons offers several dipping sauce options for your fried zucchini, but they are tasty enough to stand on their own."
Cliff Strutz


This Galley Boy, ordered 'to go' is identified as something special by a Spanish olive stuck on top.
"This Galley Boy, ordered 'to go' is identified as something special by a Spanish olive stuck on top."
Michael Stern


Swenson's offers a large roster of creamy milk shakes to choose from. That is cherry on the left and pomegranate, an occasional special, on the right.
"Swenson's offers a large roster of creamy milk shakes to choose from. That is cherry on the left and pomegranate, an occasional special, on the right."
Cliff Strutz


Although it is not overly large, Swenson's sloppy Joe is meaty, full of flavor and a real bargain at $2.00.
"Although it is not overly large, Swenson's sloppy Joe is meaty, full of flavor and a real bargain at $2.00."
Cliff Strutz


The day we visited, Swensons was offering a 32-ounce drink for the price of a 16-ounce drink. At the right of this photo is a 32-ounce California, sided by a 12-ounce root beer for comparison's sake.
"The day we visited, Swensons was offering a 32-ounce drink for the price of a 16-ounce drink. At the right of this photo is a 32-ounce California, sided by a 12-ounce root beer for comparison's sake."
Michael Stern


All of the burgers, like this triple-pattied beauty, come with mustard, pickle, and onion.
"All of the burgers, like this triple-pattied beauty, come with mustard, pickle, and onion."
Cliff Strutz


Expect great service at Swenson's.  The young carhops are always cheerful and literally run from car to car to take orders.
"Expect great service at Swenson's. The young carhops are always cheerful and literally run from car to car to take orders."
Cliff Strutz


Galley Boys are available in a basket with French fries and cole slaw or apple sauce for $2 extra.
"Galley Boys are available in a basket with French fries and cole slaw or apple sauce for $2 extra."
Michael Stern


Akron's Hamburger Heaven for over seventy years. The cornerstone of this new building reads 1934, which is when the first Swensons opened just yards away from here. It's a small building because there is no seating inside. All service is via speeding car hops who, when they take your order, tell you how many minutes it will be until it arrives at the car.
"Akron's Hamburger Heaven for over seventy years. The cornerstone of this new building reads 1934, which is when the first Swensons opened just yards away from here. It's a small building because there is no seating inside. All service is via speeding car hops who, when they take your order, tell you how many minutes it will be until it arrives at the car."
Michael Stern



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