HINTON, Iowa (KCAU) — The kitchen at the Junkyard Pub n’ Grub in Hinton may be small, but the burgers are packed with big-time ingredients.  

The Junkyard’s signature item, The Wrecker, is a burger that takes two hands to eat and a big stomach to finish. The large sandwich includes two half-pound beef patties, queso cheese, 8 slices of bacon, onion rings, and barbecue sauce stacked together between two pieces of toasted sourdough bread.  

“It is like huge, I don’t know how people eat it, but they do, and they love it,” said Owner Sarah Vaydich, “It’s really got a nice flavor and it’s a big meaty sandwich, but you know when you’re in a farming community, these people work and they’re hungry. So, we feed them.”  

Vaydich said the process of cooking the burger starts by placing the hand-seasoned patties on the griddle, then bacon, then the sourdough bread. The onion rings are fried and once the ingredients are thoroughly cooked, the chef will place cheese and bacon on each slice of toasted sourdough bread. Next, they’ll lay the first patty, two more slices of bacon, a couple of onion rings, and barbecue on the first slice of toasted sourdough bread. Next, the second patty is added to the first stack of ingredients before being topped off with the onion rings and a second slice of sourdough bread. The last step is to keep the burger held together with two steak knives so it can be delivered to the guest.  

“I think the most important thing that we here is fresh, you know, and it has to be [fresh]” said Vaydich, “We go through so much product that we don’t generally have a hard time with things, you know, getting cold in the cooler or in the freezer or things like that. But yeah, the meat is fresh and it’s hand-formed and it’s, you know, we change our oil more frequently than any restaurant I know of and that makes a difference too.”  

Vaydich said that the Junkyard sells 60 burgers a day, each of them made to order with fresh ingredients. She indicated that if she were to describe the taste to someone who had never tried it before, she would describe it as creamy and rich with a little bit of tang. “It’s just good,” she added.  

Vaydich indicated that she has been operating the Junkyard for nearly three years, and she said that it has been very fulfilling for her.  

“I purchased the Junkyard in August of 2019, and prior to that it was owned by Joe and Haylee Junck, hence the name Junkyard,” said Vaydich, “[…] So, we bought it in August and COVID hit on March 17 when the shutdown happened. I was actually in the hospital, have a fresh knee replacement, and I was in my hospital bed with my pain pump in my hand and my phone started going crazy. The staff was calling, ‘what do we do, they’re closing us down, what are we – are we shutting down?’ and I said, ‘no we’re not shutting down! I can’t afford to shut down,’ so I put down my pain pump, hit my call button, and said, ‘I gotta go,’”  

Vaydich said that once restaurants had been given the go-ahead to provide food for guests to take home, they were able to continue operation by providing a to-go service. She added that the community support was monumental in ensuring the Junkyard could continue service through the worst of the pandemic and into the present day. However, it couldn’t have been done without the help of the Junkyard team.  

“I just can’t say enough good things about my wait staff and my kitchen staff,” said Vaydich, “They go above and beyond all the time and that’s what has made this place successful.”  

Post-shutdown, the Junkyard has offered delivery across the Siouxland area and includes a Trivia night on Wednesdays for families while they enjoy The Wrecker.  

Know a locally-owned restaurant with a famous delicious dish? Email your idea to Ariel Pokett at apokett@kcautv.com.