It is quite rare for me to go out for a burger, but every time I do I wonder why I don't do it more often. There really is nothing like a tasty burger and in the burger drought that is Brighton, there is only one place I think of when I do get a hankering.
Woodies Diner is well known amongst us Brightonians. It's tucked out the way on the seafront in Hove (a meat-fix scarily close to Heather Mills' new V-Bites café) so you only really get local folks in there. You can soak up those diner vibes with the 50's style interior, juke box, vintage surfboards and Formica tabletops, which sounds cheesy and it is. Hawksmoor it ain't. But hey, I like it and so do the crowds that flock there. Families, groups of kids and adults alike and couples fill it up for no-frills but tasty, decent, fun food. Thick shakes, floats, burgers named after classic American cars and eye-popping ice cream sundaes are served up by cheery young staff in cute diner outfits.
And to top it all off the paper mats allow you to oggle retro surfers while you wait for your food. Nice!
BUT. It's been a while since my last visit and things have certainly changed. The buns–which arguably maketh the burger–used to be tasty and a good texture (although dusted in flour which is one thing I don't miss). These have now gone and been replaced with flabby, cheap, soft buns. Food Stories Helen would freak out. The moist, tender burger patties I remember were now smaller and on this occasion had been cooked to the death so they had completely dried out. The fries were now stodgy fat chips that had made the very short trip out of a freezer bag to the fryer. Glorified kiddies food.
Fonzie would turn down his usually perky thumbs to this. It seems Woodies has catastrophically lost it's food spark and as nice as the staff and the diner is, if the burgers don't cut it there is only so long they can rely on their reputation and past Happy Days.
Mr. GF is happy with one change though. They have started doing scantily clad surfer girl mats for the boys.