Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Burgermaster on Aurora

8/19/14 Platinum Carbon, Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuyu-kusa, Diamine Grey and Red Dragon inks, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored pencils, Zig markers, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook

When I was a kid, our neighborhood didn’t have any drive-in restaurants, so when I visited cousins out in the ‘burbs, it was a serious treat to go to places like Triple XXX Root Beer, order from the car and then eat in the car. (Why parents thought this was a good idea is beyond me, but I sure thought it was fun.) I think carhops on rollerskates was a little before my time; I recall waitresses bringing our orders in shoes.

Most drive-in restaurants have been gone for decades, but the Seattle area still has five Burgermaster locations, including one just north of me on 100th and Aurora (only a couple of blocks from where I sketched a tree a few months ago as I got blasted with grit and bus fumes). I’ve been mostly vegetarian for 30 years, so burgers are not on my radar, but driving by the other day, it suddenly occurred to me: It’s still there! According to its website, “A Northwest landmark since 1952, BURGERMASTER offers quality, cooked-to-order food from fresh ingredients, for those who value great taste and excellent service.”

Certainly there are restaurants that have been around as long or longer, but that drive-in part is a rare novelty. It looked like most of the diners this afternoon had parked their cars and eaten inside, but I did see a few cars parked out in the stalls where orders are still brought out for in-car dining. I don’t know how long the “Home of the Baconmaster” and its drive-in booths are going to be around, so I thought today was as good a day as any to sketch them.

(Technical note: I finished a signature of my usual sketchbook paper on Sunday, and I didn’t want to start the next signature before I leave town because I’d like to start a new one in Brazil, so I’ve been using an old Stillman & Birn Beta book this week. I’m still fond of the paper (I’d still be using Betas now if I hadn’t discovered bookbinding), but I was surprised that I felt confined by the page size. I’d gotten used to double-page spreads on 9-by-12-inch paper in my Stefano. The hardbound Beta, which is 8.5-by-10.75 inches opened up, is only an inch or so narrower, but I noticed the difference. It’s funny how you get used to a certain format, and anything smaller seems cramped.)


  1. Nice sketch of the drive in restaurant! Those are such a dying breed. I don't know if we have any around here at all. All we have are the drive thrus at the fast food restaurants. Are you getting excited about Brazil? When do you leave?


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