Herfy's was a chain of fast food burger places in the 1960s and early '70s. Founded in Everett, Washington, Herfy's had locations scattered around the Pacific Northwest.

The only Herfy's I was privy to was in N.W. Portland, Oregon. It stood on the southwest corner of Burnside and N.W. Trinity Place, just a few blocks from the stadium. The building was set on one of those weirdly shaped blocks that seem like a civil engineer's after-thought; Tetris-spackle. On the other side of Herfy's parking lot sat a Chevron filling station with a ride-through carwash (which sounds boring, but to be fair, as a kid, was heaps more exciting with its swirling brushes than Disneyland's PeopleMover.)

As I recall, Herfy's was just your standard burger joint fare... burgers, cheeseburgers, fries, the inescapable "orange drink". There was nothing too special about it; no drive-thru, no getting served in your car with those clip-on window trays like at A&W.

Perhaps one of the biggest things I remember about Herfy's was its sign out front. It was this enormous rectangular portrait of a cow's face. And not a small cow mind you, but one of those huge whacked-out-pedigree cows they breed special in the back-waters of Wales to kick the asses of other cows. Yeah, one of them. I've heard that the mascot's name was "Hefty" but "Bartok the Destroyer" would've been just as fitting.

It always surprises me that restaurants hadn't figured out that customers get a little freaked out by the mascot and the food being one and the same.

As I was just a wee sprout at the time, I always ordered the marketing-geniusly named "Wacky Burger Box" — basically, the Herfy version of a Happy Meal. Packaged in one of those little paper-lunch-box constructions, the Wacky Burger Box contained a burger, a bag of fries, and a drink. Any wackiness was implied — although I think there were little cartoons on the box, so maybe that was it — but really, wackiness is a judgment call.

The Wacky Burger Box had a little perforated "coin" you could punch out that was good for a post-meal kid's soft-serve ice cream cone.

Of course, like those other staples of the '70s child's diet — Cracker Jack and that rice paper candy you could buy at Pier 1 — the Wacky Burger Box included a little toy.

I'm drawing a blank as to what the free toys were exactly. Obviously, they affected me profoundly. A Google search turned up a Hot Wheels die-cast metal van (with "62 KGW" on the side — a popular AM radio station in Portland at the time) in a little Herfy's bag, so I guess it was stuff like that. It's hard to picture fast-food places today giving out toys made from die-cast metal — that seems so, I don't know... "dangerous when thrown"? Plus, everything seems to be made of plastic nowadays (not to mention being a tie-in to the latest animated kids movie).

I'm not sure when this particular Herfy's closed, although I'd bet it wasn't long after the McDonald's (with a drive-thru) opened just one block to the east.

Since Herfys' closing, the building itself has been (with very minimal structurial changes; different paint jobs mostly) an Engine House Pizza (for a long time), a BJ's (home of the "Pizookie"!), and, most recently, a seemingly well-received Chinese place called the Triple Dragon Restaurant.

There are no longer any Herfy's in Portland.

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Misc. notes:

There was another Portland Herfy's across the river on S.E. Hawthorne. For fellow Portlanders, Herfy's was the former occupant of that Arctic Circle by the Bagdad that finally shuttered and has of late been replaced by a big lump of over-priced condos.

It looks like there may still be a couple of Herfy's in Washington state (201 A Street S.E., Auburn, WA 98002-5430 - (253) 939-0341 and 19840 Pacific Highway South, Seatac, WA 98188-5414 - (206) 870-1500). And it looks like there is a restaurant that goes by the name of Herfy's in Saudi Arabia but I'm not sure if it's the same.

In the University District of Seattle there was a Burger King (at N.E. 50th Street and 12th Avenue N.E.) which closed down on September 4th, 2001. Yes, let's all sit shiva. Before it was a Burger King it had been a Herfy's.

I recall during this era, there was this urban legend about McDonalds' hamburgers being made from worms.

The Pizookie™ gets its name from the mixing of the words "pizza" and "cookie". It's a pizza slice shaped cookie. BJ's would like you to believe that this made-up word is pronounced pie-zoo-key. Have you heard David Cross' rant about Squagels? Yeah, same idea.

The radio station 62 KGW used to have this popular local celebrity named Craig Walker who wore a red sweater all the time — at least in the ads — and sometime in the '80s I think, they started this yearly contest where they "hid" his sweater and people had to figure out where in Portland it was. I think whoever correctly guessed where it was hidden won like $6,200. Craig Walker later needed some sort of organ transplant (kidney?), but that's really unrelated to the sweater hiding. Or so they would have me believe.

January 2006 Update: The Triple Dragon is gone now, a restaurant called Panda Express taking it's place in the old Herfy's space.

Although Arctic Circle had the best special sause for fries and hamburgers, and in the olden days had a Chicken mascot on the paper car-box covering their rectangle-shaped cherry pie, I do miss the old Hereford-faced burger place, Herfy’s.

Yes, it was a white-faced bull Hereford, and unpolled as I recall.

Mine was near the old Tower Mall and Pizza Hut in Vancouver, Washington.

The Wacky Burger Boxes, with toys in a box, was around back in 1975…BEFORE the McDonald’s Happy Meal*cough*theft!

They did have something special for all ages...They had a covered long bar, like a salad bar, but just of condiments, like pickles and relish and onions and tomatoes, ketchup and mustard and mayonaise and, I think, even horseradish sause...that YOU put on the dry burger…as much of whatever you liked and nothing you didn’t…thus a perfect burger every time!

I wish other companies did that!

PS...at mom's place is one last box, which I filled in the late 70's with Washington seashells...minus the coupon for the free cone of course!

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