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Hardee's - 5417 Forest Drive

Posted by The LunchMen Monday, August 10, 2009

... and the 2009 Reader's Choice "Best of Columbia" award for the best lunch in Columbia, and the best business lunch in Columbia, AND the best hamburger goes to...

Hardee's?

I must admit, when I read these results in The State newspaper on July 19, 2009, I was shocked. Hardee's is not a terrible option for a quick hamburger when you have no time and an uncontrollable craving, but the best lunch in Columbia? Hardly. I grabbed Mrs. Tank today for lunch and went over to Hardee's to investigate these outlandish claims. Why no Rabbit on this trip, you ask? Well, Mrs. Tank is certainly better-looking company than my herbivorous friend, and she had coupons!

As we approached the Hardee's on Forest Drive - which I have been boycotting for quite some time due to an unpleasant chicken sandwich incident that does not warrant rehashing here - we noticed that the windows were advertising some extreme lunch options. Certainly, if Hardee's believed that the bacon ranch fries were good enough to warrant a three-foot poster, then we were in no position to argue. Mrs. Tank and I did not order lunch off the menu - we ordered lunch off the window.

We both had a French Dip Thickburger, which contains none of the usual ingredients like lettuce, tomato, or onions. It is 1/3 pound of ground beef, topped with a pile of sliced roast beef, topped with a slice of white (?) cheese, and served with au jus as a side for dipping. Thank goodness for the au jus. Without it, the burger was so dry I doubtfully would have been able to swallow it down. We were pleasantly surprised by the side of bacon ranch fries we shared, however. Healthy, they were not - but they did hit the spot for my french fry cravings.

I would like to sincerely compliment the staff in Hardee's today. We had plenty of "service with a smile," and I appreciated the fact that an employee brought the food to the table so that the wife and I did not hover over the checkout counter in anticipation of our bacon ranch fries. I must also report that, thanks to Mrs. Tank's coupons, we did get out of lunch for under a total of $7. Although I fully disagree with the accolades given to Hardee's by my fellow readers of the State - because I believe that Columbia has many eateries that provide better lunch atmospheres and tastier burgers - that is a price that's hard to beat in times like these. However, Hardee's is far, far away from being the best lunch spot in Columbia.

- Tank

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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.

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