For Little Holland fans, the wait is over. The iconic burger restaurant reopened Monday. The new location, with a sign out front that reads Mikie Burgers, is across the street from where the Little Holland drive-in burger stand operated on Center Street until last summer when it closed and was torn down.
The simmering question for Little Holland fans: Is the food the same? On first bite, the food looked and tasted darn near close, if not identical. My dining partners noshed on a double deluxe ($3.75), a cheeseburger ($2.95), and fries ($1.35). I ordered a Mikie Burger ($3.75) with onion rings ($2.10).
The Mikie Burger, my favorite burger on the menu, was as I remembered: a crunchy, grilled sesame seed bun, thin and juicy burger patty, a smear of Mikie sauce, a slice of Canadian bacon, a layer of melted Swiss cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, a thick tomato slice and large diced onions. The onion rings were coated in a light and airy batter with just a hint of sweetness, and fried crispy golden brown.
As for the rest of the menu, it's completely identical to the old Little Holland menu – right down to the Mikie burgers, frozen custard, the sandwiches, hot dogs and corn dogs. The pork sandwich is on the menu, as is the BLT sandwich. And, get this: the prices are exactly the same.
Locals have reported long lines since the restaurant opened Monday. About 15 people were in line ahead of us during our visit. Even with those numbers, we still got our food in about 30 minutes (which regulars know to be a better than average wait when Little Holland was busy). The crew looked like an efficient machine, and we could hear workers being trained on the fryers in the kitchen.
Long-time regulars and fans may lament that the kitschy feel of the drive-in burger joint is gone. The restaurant has preserved some of the feel of Little Holland, including the familiar red and white color motif, but the restaurant has the undeniable feel of a strip-mall eatery. The walk-in restaurant has two long, red counters with nine white bar stools for dining. However, it was too packed for eat-in dining on my visit. Most of the bar area was taken up with people waiting around for their orders. Like the previous restaurant, 50s-era music was piped in. Even though the sign out front now reads Mikie Burgers, I wonder if everyone will continue to call the restaurant Little Holland.
Mikie Burgers is now owned by Chi Baek, with husband Soungwon “Tony” Hong. The couple bought the equipment and recipes of Little Holland from previous owners Dave and Dorothy Viskup. TNT Diner reader snarl2 posted here that the Viskups were helping at the restaurant Monday. Baek also said in December that she expected the Viskups to help out at the restaurant through the first few weeks.
Have you been yet? Please post and let TNT Diner readers know what you thought.
Mikie Burgers/The Little Holland Drive-InAddress: 4915 Center St. Space C, TacomaPhone: 564-8661A previous review of the burgers at Little Holland can be found here.