A downtown Miamisburg business with more than a century of savory service recently made some much-needed structural upgrades.
Hamburger Wagon owner Jack Sperry owns several wagons, using some of them for private events, fairs and festivals, but the star attraction is a wooden wagon he parks on the side of the Market Square building every day.
Used strictly for the downtown crowd that lines up for the famous burger-pickle-onion combo, that wagon underwent a month-long renovation.
“We roll it across the street from my building every day to the Square and back at night,” he said. “It gets beat to hell with the elements over time. I’ve owned the wagon for 15 years and this is the third time I’ve had to renovate it.
“There’s a lot of structural changes that we’re doing to hopefully provide some longevity to the wagon.”
The work was carried out by Dennis Moore and John Good, two 1973 Miamisburg High School graduates and longtime Miamisburg residents, Sperry said.
“They do everything,” he said. “They forge metal. They make their own parts. It’s expensive, but it needs it.”
Good and Moore refurbished the wagon’s wheels and installed new floor joists to reinforce flooring that was coming apart, Sperry said.
One of the biggest things the renovation accomplished was building from scratch a new grill system that the Hamburger Wagon skillet sits on, allowing for easier access for cleaning, he said.
“Part of the issue that we’ve had is it was hard to get under the grill,” Sperry said. “We deep fry these hamburgers and it was hard to get the area below the burner clean.”
Sperry also saw to it that the wagon’s axles and leaf springs, which he believes are original, were sandblasted and repainted.
He acquired Hamburger Wagon in 2008, but the business got its start in 1913. Sperry said many customers feel a kinship to the wagon, fondly recalling when a grandparent or parent took them there for a meal in their youth.
“I think our product is great and a very, very good value, but I think a lot of what the Hamburger Wagon brings to the table is nostalgia,” Sperry said. “It’s a nostalgic business, for sure, so I try not to do anything different down here. I try and keep it the same.”
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