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Joel F

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world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by Joel F » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:44 pm

He Could’ve Been a Colonel

The hamburgers at Ollie’s Trolley are among the best in the world. With all that flavor, why aren’t there Trolleys all over the South — all over the nation, even? Maybe the world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus.

Story by Keith Pandolfi | Photographs by Helen Rosner

http://bittersoutherner.com/ollies-trolley-worlds-greatest-hamburger
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Ed Vermillion

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Re: world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by Ed Vermillion » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:59 am

Joel F wrote:He Could’ve Been a Colonel

The hamburgers at Ollie’s Trolley are among the best in the world. With all that flavor, why aren’t there Trolleys all over the South — all over the nation, even? Maybe the world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus.

Story by Keith Pandolfi | Photographs by Helen Rosner

http://bittersoutherner.com/ollies-trolley-worlds-greatest-hamburger


Thanks for sharing that, Joel. I didn't realize how much I was missing an Ollieburger until you mentioned it. We used to make them a regular stop when I worked downtown. Today seems like a good day to wander down out of the OC for a quality Ollie!
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Gordon M Lowe

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Re: world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by Gordon M Lowe » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:14 pm

That is a great story. Thanks for sharing it! :) I knew a lot of the history in that story, but it was nice to read. I love nostalgic history stuff like that. Crazy thing is, I, Louisville man all my life, have never been to Ollie's Trolley. I will have to change that, very soon. :)
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BevP

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Re: world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by BevP » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:06 am

I remember going to the Ollie's on Main Street where the Humana building is now. We worked a couple of blocks down the street at a sewing factory, the big deal back then you could only get your burgers pink in the middle,medium to medium rare and in my family it was well done or nothing.I guess me and my sisters were rebels cause we tried them and love them til this day.
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Gordon M Lowe

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Re: world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by Gordon M Lowe » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:16 am

While I never patronized it, I do remember that 5th & Main location, now that you mention it. Wow. What a blast from the past!
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BevP

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Re: world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by BevP » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:44 pm

Gordon M Lowe wrote:While I never patronized it, I do remember that 5th & Main location, now that you mention it. Wow. What a blast from the past!

What is even wilder is the factory we worked in is now 21 C it was Derby Cap Co. My Mom worked there from like 63 til the mid 80's I was there only while I was in nursing school and both my sisters worked there as well. I have never gone into 21 C would love to but some things are best left to our memories.
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Gordon M Lowe

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Re: world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by Gordon M Lowe » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:37 pm

some things are best left to our memories.

I agree. Since I've never had the Ollie's Trolley experience, though, I think I should go while there's still time to make the memory.
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TimT

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Re: world wasn’t ready for a guy like Ollie Gleichenhaus

by TimT » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:49 am

Thanks for the link to the article, it brings back a lot of memories.
Yes forum readers, I was an Ollie's Trolley manager. In 1973 during the height of local expansion I trained at the Main Street Trolley and managed several others that summer and fall.

I remember 90+ hour workweeks. From before open to after closing 7 days a week for a salaried paycheck. 21 year olds can do anything - oh to have that level of energy again. The company was growing so fast they promoted my assistant managers as fast as I could train them.

I also remember they were the best burgers I have ever eaten. They were fatty. Every batch of ground beef was tested for fat content upon delivery. They had to be a minimum of 26% and a max of 34% fat if memory serves. They were juicy. The griddles seared them instantly, sealing in the yummy juices and they would plump up like footballs that were over inflated.They were cooked medium rare. Safe back then, less so today. I also loved the fries in the special seasoning. Best ever.

As Ollie himself said. Once you get hooked it's like a drug. You need it. That was me.

John Y. would visit our stores and always sampled our burgers from the warming tray. If they had been there too long, and overcooked we were, let's say, "chastised" to keep this post clean.The policy of rare burger was in my opinion one of the primary reasons the chain failed. The majority of people weren't ready for them. I had burgers with one bite taken thrown back at the trolley. I received perfectly cooked burgers returned "anonymously" or by children with obscene messages on the wrappers. The verbal complaints were non-stop. Everyone that complained was offered a replacement, cooked to their satisfaction of course but it didn't satisfy them, they were done with Ollie's Trolley.

I saw the handwriting on the wall. That and the overwhelming workload taught me I didn't want anything to do with the fast food industry. You had to work too hard for too little and it pushed me into another career path. It's one reason I have so much respect for food industry workers. They EARN their money. (Sorry for shouting the earn word)

Memory lane - what a trip.
"I dined at my favorite restaurant last night. It was like Heaven, only better. They let me in".

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