Tiny Jefferson hamburger stand has huge following

JEFFERSON, Wis. — Downtown Jefferson is filled with small, locally owned businesses, and perhaps the smallest of them all can be found on the corner of Racine and Center streets. At just eight feet by eight feet, Wedl’s Hamburger Stand is 64 square feet of hamburger heaven.

The stand was first opened in 1916 by Agustus Berkholtz.

The Wedl family is the seventh owner and operator of the stand. They bought it in 2007, continuing the 106-year hometown tradition.

“People will go 50 miles out of their way just to come here if they’re on a trip. I call it an attraction, a destination,” son Robby Wedl said.

So what makes a Wedl hamburger so special? Robby said there are secret spices that are ground into the meat on-site and fresh every day. They grind about a hundred pounds a day, translating into some 800 burgers a day.

In a season, that comes to over 17,000 pounds of meat and more than 100,000 hamburgers.  The stand is only open from the end of March to the end of October.

The current stand was built in 1999 after an 80-year-old motorist hit the old stand and demolished it.

The only thing that survived was the cast iron griddle. It got lodged in the car and ended up a block away.  That original 106-year-old griddle is still in use today.

By the way, these burgers aren’t for those worried about cholesterol. “We start with lard in the morning and then smash them flat,” Robby said.

The burger joint has been recognized by the Food Network, served.com and Trip Advisor and has customers from literally around the world. There’s usually a line and wait times; when it’s really busy, it can take two hours.