Cheeseburger mouse

Today’s Zippy takes us to restaurant or diner whose mascot is a mouse offering a cheeseburger:


The intersection of two genres: the cheese mouse mascot, in fiberglass images indigenous to Wisconsin; and the fiberglass cheeseburger, as advertising icon or pop-arty work.

I haven’t located the original of the cheeseburger mouse (viewed at three distances in #1), though I have no doubt it inhabits a real eating establishment, quite possibly in Wisconsin. Here a report on the two contributing genres.

The cheese mouse mascot. These can occur anywhere — the mouse-cheese association being a venerable one — but they’re especially common in dairy country, notably in Wisconsin, where they dot the landscape. Two Wisc cheese examples (from many).

From the Minnesota Skinny website on 2/9/18, by Frank Hastaja, in “Ghost Pepper Curds and Igor’s Classic Grilled Cheese at Mousehouse Cheesehaus”

(#2) On I-94 just outside Madison WI

Take a moment and imagine what you might see if you actually stepped into a mouse house. Maybe you’re just picturing the plastic cage from the Mouse Trap board game. Maybe you’ve mentally drawn up some opulent mouse mansion, with a mouse tennis court in the back yard and a mouse music studio in the basement. Either way, it’s got cheese in it, right?

There’s a lot of cheese at this mouse house, too. Mousehouse Cheesehaus has been at it since 1988 serving cheese, fudge, beer, socks that make your legs look like Clay Matthews, and I’m serious: cheese.

(#3) The house specialty: Igor’s Classic Grilled Cheese

And then from the Roadside America site about the Black River Falls WI Giant Mouse with Cheese:

(#4) “A fiberglass statue of a cartoon mouse (and his impressive block of Wisconsin cheese) draws travelers to the Black River Crossing Oasis”

The cheeseburger as icon. The Roadside Architecture site has a whole entry on giant burger statues, from many places. This one has a certain nostalgia for me (as a former resident of Columbus OH):

(#5) “The burger in Columbus was installed on the back of Max & Erma’s headquarters building in order to be visible from I-71. The company was bought out in 2010 and this burger is gone. I don’t know of any other locations that have these giant burgers.”

Seen up close it’s just grotesque.

From Wikipedia on the company:

Max & Erma’s is an American casual dining restaurant chain based in Columbus, Ohio. It operates throughout parts of the Eastern and Midwestern United States and was founded in 1972 by Todd Barnum and Barry Zacks. The two businessmen purchased a local tavern in Columbus’s German Village which had been operated by Max and Erma Visocnik since 1958. They retained the Max & Erma’s name and created the theme restaurant which featured a converted bathtub that served as a sundae bar.

[the convoluted corporate history:] Max & Erma’s was purchased by Pittsburgh-based equity investor G&R Acquisition Inc. in a $10.2 million deal in April 2008. The company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 26, 2009. It was acquired by American Blue Ribbon Holdings, owners of the Village Inn and Bakers Square restaurant chains, in 2010.

On January 25, 2016, it was announced that Glacier Restaurant Group had purchased ownership of Max & Erma’s from American Blue Ribbon Holdings. This sale occurred after the closing of 19 of the restaurant’s locations that were described as underperforming.

On July 28, 2017, Glacier announced that the original German Village Max & Erma’s location [would] close on August 7, 2017, citing a lack of financial viability.

Meanwhile, the classic cheeseburger has struck a number of artists as an ideal subject for pop-arty sculpture. Here, for instance, is a fiberglass / resin / plastic hamburger statue for sale on the Only Art site:


Especially cheery lettuce.

One Response to “Cheeseburger mouse”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Benita Bendon Campbell reminds me of another cheeseburger genre, which has neither mice nor cheese, but rather cats, and which doesn’t actually show cheeseburgers, but only mentions them: the LOLcats genre. See my 12/18/11 posting “LOLcats and captions” —
    — with the archetypical “I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER” meme:

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