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Hamburger Choo-Choo and Eddie's Pizza

  • j

The only other human being who remembers both these pillars of my Long Island youth is chowhound regular Barry Strugatz. But Barry--due to some unimagineable lapse of taste--wasn't enamored of the burgers at the latter (though he did, of course, adore the Sicilian pizza at Eddie's...which was in Ft. Salonga, by the way).

Anyone else out there remember (and properly worship) both these places? If it weren't for my wide-eyed discovery of the potential for chow greatness at Eddie's and the Choo-Choo during my childhood, I might never have become a chowhound.

ciao

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  1. There was a great little Hamburger Choo-Choo located
    in Hewlett, Long Island, they also made a great coffe
    freeze, are you familiar with that location?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Renee

      No!!! I'm talking about the Huntington one, but I had NO IDEA there were other
      Hamburger Choo Choos! (if "choos" is indeed the plural of "choo").

      were the hamburgers ambrosial, the fries crisp?

      Just think...there might still be a Hamburger Choo Choo out there somewhere, with loose-packed
      beefy burgers and great malts....

      1. re: Jim Leff

        Yes, there was more than one Choo Choo Burger, the
        burgers were splendid, the malts, thick and creamy.
        Ah, I feel young again, I can just see that little
        sizzler coming around the track, it sure exceeded
        McDonald's.

        1. re: Renee

          Hamburger Choo Choo was my favorite place when I was little too, But you had to sit at the counter. Otherwise, it was just like any other hamburger joint. My mom, used to take me after my ballet lessons.

          1. re: Amy D

            y'all make it sound sooo good-nostalgialicious
            I wish that train had stopped in my life too-

            1. re: tony

              This is YEARS late in coming, but the place referred to in the earliest post was called the "Hamburger Local" run by an African-American gentleman, Mr. Wilson, in Hewlett, N.Y.
              Your burgers and fries arrived in front of you on a toy railroad track that wound around the dining room. They were awesome, with a very steaky taste that was curiously light rather than dense, and the only similar tasting burgers I've ever had since then (the 1960s) are made by the Wisconsin-based Culver's chain called "butterburgers" (the roll is buttered, there's no butter in the burger itself).
              But what I most remember about the Hamburger Local were those delicious "orangeades" the Wilson family used to serve. The owners had a huge, glass-front bin of oranges in front, and they would cut and pulp them fresh for each "ade," always putting a marischino cherry in.
              To this day, whenever I order a screwdriver, I ask the bartender to put a cherry in it, my silly but sincere homage to a truly cherished childhood restaurant memory.
              God bless you and keep you, Mr. Wilson.

        2. re: Jim Leff

          Hamburger Choo Choo was the consolation prize for
          behaving on a trip to get dress up clothing at Marsh's
          when I was young. The choo choo made more of an
          impression than the burgers, though.

          My seminal chowhound experience was Hong Wah on the
          Bowery -- esp. the snails, the noodles, and the sweet
          and sour deep fried fish. I may not choose this
          particular type of Cantonesse eating nowadays, but many
          of my attitudes towards food, life and politics emerged
          from deep fat along with that fish.

      2. there's an eddies pizza, I believe its hillside ave, near marcus ave, probably not the same as your eddies, but its packed-round the clock-famous for their thin crust pies. I think its in the town of herricks??

        6 Replies
        1. re: stephen kaye

          There is also one in syosset, which tends to be less
          crowded

          1. re: ppace

            er, guys, thanks but I don't have some strange obsession with any pizzeria with "Eddie's" in the name!

            Eddie's pizza was a legendary place in Fort Salonga that made Sicilian pies that tasted like nowhere else. We're all eating such crappy slice pizza these days that it's nearly impossible to conceive that cheese, sauce, and crust could taste so good, but no one plumbed the potential of square pies as deeply as Eddie.

            Funny story...long after Eddie's closed, I became a regular patron at Trotta's Pizza in Dix Hills (in the Pathmark Shopping Center at Park Avenue and Jericho Tpk). Their Sicilian pie wasn't great, but the round one somehow reminded me of the late lamented Eddie's. One day, after I'd been going there for years, they put up a photo board showing, pictorially, the history of Trotta's Pizza. There was a snapshot of Eddie's Pizza. I asked the owner about it, and he turned out to be Eddie's son. Amazing.

            Trotta's is now under new ownership, and I have no idea where the scion of Eddie is these days...alas.

            1. re: Jim Leff

              I spent my misspent youth in California, but I have to
              say that "Hamburger Choo-Choo" has to be one of the
              greatest names for an eating establishment I've ever
              heard. Is it possible to be nostalgic for a place
              you've never eaten at?

              1. re: Dave Feldman

                "Is it possible to be nostalgic for a place
                you've never eaten at?"

                Absolutely. In fact, I've thought for some time that English lacks a word meaning "nostalgia for something one has never experienced".

                "Yearning" comes close, but it implies that the thing is actually attainable, and it's a bit melodramatic...

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  s
                  stephanie schandler

                  i loved hamburger choo-choo. my mother owned sweet
                  temptation which was 2 doors away and i ate there all
                  the time. it was really sad when it burned. my
                  mother sold her candy store (which was the BEST!)and
                  we havent been back to town since. too bad

              2. re: Jim Leff

                We used to go to Trotta's on Smithtown Bypass in the late 70s. I wonder if they moved? I didn't know they had a location in Dix Hills.

          2. Grew up in Halesite. Hamburger Choo-Choo was a great place. Just being on the sidewalk outside and smelling the place was great.

            And I had Eddie's every weekend in golf season. Both parents golfed, and it was on the way home from the course. They stopped and picked one up one afternoon, and the rest is history. For years, every weekend, whenever anybody golfed, Eddie's. I LOVED that pizza, out of the box, leftover, cold, hot, didn't matter. I even ate it for breakfast. In fact you'd pray for good weather so your Eddie's wouldn't get rained out.

            I thought it was the best around...though up the street from Choo-Choo was an Italian bakery, Marretta's I think it was, across from the library...and he made "Sicilian" one day a week that was pretty darned good.

            All many moons ago, but thanks for the memories.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bill, jr.

              Other than Barry Strugatz (who uncharacteristically didn't properly appreciate what he was eating at the time), you're the only person I've ever met who remembers both places.

              Funny, growing up I figured everyone had their Eddie's and Hamburger Choo Choo analogues. And they do...only for most people it's places like Swenson's. Who knew that the chow we were ecstatic over as kids truly was world class?

              ciao

            2. My son has already told you about the Pisarras and Eddie`s Pizza but I simply must add my two cents which in my Eddie`s pizza days bought a helluva lot more than it does now. We were so fortunate to have Eddie`s whether the goling was good or bad. I`m 78 looking back and still loving it. I must say about Eddies what I always say about my mother in laws cooking i.e.after all these years I realize why I had five by passes and believe me it was worth it! Thanks for the memory.

              1. I remember a Choo-Choo Hamburger in Huntington, Long Island. I went there in the mid-sixties.

                1 Reply
                1. re: robert bowe

                  Bingo!

                  Fond memories, I bet, right?

                  The best hamburgers. And fries, too. And malts. I've got to stop, I'm gonna get bummed out...

                  ciao

                  ps--you also remember Eddie's Pizza over in Ft. Salonga? Sicilian square pies only? Unique herbal tang and incredible crunchy tender crust?