Share Your Memories

From time to time I hear from fans of the restaurant who tell me how much they enjoyed it. This page is for people to share their memories of the Hamburger Train. Please let us know if you ever had the chance to visit and what you recall from those days! Thanks, Mark.

24 Comments

  1. Mindy Rapp Elias

    My twin brother Mark and I would sit at the counter with my mother Roberta, circa 1962ish. I remember the excitement of the train carrying my burger! I do not remember the food! Was a very long time ago. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Susan Cornfield Gold

    I remember working there as a waitress. I think it was my first job, it was awesome. Must have been in the mid 60’s. Great concept, someone outta duplicate it cause kids (and adults) loved it.

  3. Mom frequently took me there to celebrate various school stuff. I honestly didn’t care what I ate, I only wanted to look at trains. Finally got one when I was nine or ten.

  4. Terry Golden Hanser

    I remember going to the Hamburger Train and always looking forward to eating there. It was wonderful and exciting waiting for the train to bring our food.
    We were just talking about it recently, about the fun we had eating there.
    Thank you for bringing back a nice memory.

  5. A couple of my own memories…
    I’ve mentioned this one before; grandpa used to let me run the trains sometimes and I recall being very apprehensive about getting it to slow and stop in front of the customer. For those of you who own model trains you know there is some finesse required to bring the train to a gradual stop and when there is a plate of food balanced on top of it that you don’t want to spill all over the paying customer, the pressure is on!
    I remember the great dessert display case, I was always focused on the cake! I remember the egg creams, pretty sure that was the first place I ever had one. Of course, I remember the distinct taste of the burgers too. :)

    I remember going a few times when other kids were having birthday parties there toward the back of the restaurant, though I never had one there.

    Dad ran the Hamburger Train in the Village and mom recalls the constant smell of onions and condiments that permeated everything.

  6. I have such fond memories of the place, going there as a big-eyed little boy with my dad, in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and of MoonDog who was always around there. Thanks for being such a special part of my life, it is a sweet memory indeed.

  7. I was an only child and my dad, who died when I was young, was into creating major memories for me in the short time we had together.
    One of my most vivid memories were the long, long walks we took together (we lived in the East 50s at the time) down to the Village. My reward for the arduous hike? Landing at the counter at The Hamburger Train! I remember clear as day the thrill of following that cheeseburger wide-eyed with excitement as it worked its way up the counter towards me. I always knew which one was mine because it had a lollipop stuck into the bun!
    I cannot thank you enough for creating this website, and posting the menu – it brought back even more wonderful, long lost memories.
    On a side note – I have been in the restaurant business for the past 20 years and you have just given me an invaluable lesson in the true meaning of creating a “WOW” experience for our guests. Thank you sooooooo much!

  8. I want to Thank my Brother Mark for this beautiful site. Our father Stephen Lewis was the owner. He passed away 9 years ago. My brother made this site as a tribute to him at this time. I do not remember this place very much because I was very young at the time. Thank you to everybody he makes comments or sends pictures. It is very interesting to my brother and me to hear your comments. It makes us feel really good that this place has touched many people. I know our father and grandparents up in heaven would be touched by your comments! So, Thank You so much from the Lewis Family for all your wonderful comments and future comments!

  9. Alicia Harding ( Alicia Lewis)

    Ah.. for the memories of the Hamburgar Train!! I was married to Stephen Lewis and at the time the Hamburgar Train was in operation, my son Mark Lewis was born. When Mark was old enough to eat Hamburgars and enjoy desert we would always stop by the resturant for lunch. His grandfather, Jack Lewis loved our visits and this gave him the opportunity to show off his only grandson!
    When a cashier would call in sick, my father in law would call me to come down and fill in. He would say to me “whatever you do, make sure that you give the customer the right change.It wuld be better that at the end of the day you were short. It is never good to be over because that is like stealing from the customers”. You will never meet more honest business people then my mother and father in law.
    My husband Stephen Lewis owned the Hamburgar Train in Greenwich Village. Our cars aways smelled of Onions and Ground Beef!
    The empolyees of both resturants were like family and treated as such. There was never a holiday dinner where there wasn’t family and employees around the table.
    Thank you to my son Mark for his tribute to his Dad and Grandparents. They adored him and I am sure that they are smiling down as they watched him create this website.

  10. Bonnie McDougall Olson

    Wow! I have been telling my kids and friends about the Hamburger Train for years! What wonderful memories I have of it. It was a child’s dream come true to mix hamburgers and fun! I remember it like yesterday. In my mind it outdid Patricia Murphy’s on Thanksgiving and even the Easter Bunny breakfast at Lord and Taylor’s. What a gift it was to families–it was so very, very special. If you think about it, it may have been a founding vision for all the theme restaurants that came years later (Jekyll and Hyde, Disney, etc). Thank you for such a wonderful remembrance that honors a wonderful time and place and its founders. Maybe post a shot of what is in its place now? In my memory I had incorrectly transposed it to Austin Street where near where Les Girls used to be-not in Rego Park.

    Thank you!
    Bonnie

    • I definitely recall there being a restaurant/diner with a toy train that was on AUSTIN street. Now “definitely recall” would be the memory of a 6 year old boy. But I’m just sure of it! Was there ANOTHER place that had the same gimmick in the early to mid 70s? Feel free to email at robwardmd@gmail.com
      Rob

  11. When I was a kid, we lived on Long Island and my Dad worked in Manhattan. A couple of times a year he would take me to the office with him so we could go to lunch at the Hamburger Train. I still tell people about this place. I was at a Sushi restaurant a couple of weeks ago that has a sushi “conveyor belt” (selections of sushi from the kitchen pass by you at the counter on a conveyor and you take what you want). I told the waiter that it reminded me of this place I used to go as a kid where the hamburgers were delivered to you on a train. Every time I set up my old O-gauge train around the Christmas tree, I remember the flat-bed cars on the Hamburger Train with the plates on them and wondered how they didn’t fall off taking the curves of the counter. Thanks for the pictures !

  12. Sergio (Gino) Cortese

    I worked at The Hamburger Train in Rego Park for three years when I was a young man. I worked as a counter man with the owner Jack ., in the late 50’s. I still have photos which I will post. This brings back many memories.

  13. Love the revamped website with more pics!
    None of my current friends believed me when I told them of this place and what it was. Glad to see others remembered and have fond memories. I grew up in Rego Park (Park City Estates) and always wanted to go there and watch the trains come around the counter to deliver my burger – was always amazed the train never derailed. Besides the best burgers, they also had the best french fries, and I have a plastic tomato catsup dispenser (not an original) to remind me. I recall in Forest Hills there was a competitor called “Hamburger Express,” but our “Hamburger Train” still couldn’t be beat! Hope more pics are added.

  14. That is to say the catsup dispenser was in the shape of a tomato and squeezed out catsup from the stem tip!

  15. Sergio ( Gino ) Cortese

    Yes I don’t know if you freceived my message I wrote as soon as I saw the article I remember verry well I was a counterman there in late 50’s In to 60’s I remember developing pictures downstairs Steve Lewis had a dark room, I also had attached some pictures of me dressed as conducter along with another worker he was the griddel man, he was the one that the hamburgers and sandwitces alongside Mr. Jack Lewis came out to perfection for the customers. If you receive this message please let me know and also if you want to re-send the pictures.thank you for the memories.

  16. My mother would take my sister Barbara who was nine and me, who was five to the Hamburger Train. This was in 1955. Now it is 2015, sixty years later and I always remembered my meals there with my mom and sister. Watching that train come along the track to where we were seated was like magic.

    We moved to Danbury, CT in 1955 and then to Washington, D.C. in 1960. I vividly remember telling my friends about this magical restaurant that delivered my meal on a train. In 1997 I moved to San Francisco and friends talk about their favorite place in their old hometown when they were kids. I always pull out my stories of visits to The Hamburger Train. I can see a look of envy on their faces wishing they’d had a place like that growing up.

    I truly enjoyed looking at the Gallery on this website. I had a very accurate recollection of the inside of the restaurant and the photos confirmed this for me.

    So, thank you Mark, for placing this site here and confirming what a wonderful childhood I had in my earliest years in Rego Park due in large part to your family.

    Life is good!

    Gary

  17. Sergio ( Gino ) Cortese

    Yes I worked for Mr. Jack Lewis in the late 50s a a counterman at the Rego Park store and it brought many memories when I saw the article. I remember your father Steve had a dark room in the basement of the store and we spent many lunch hours downstairs developing pictures.Yes a lot of memories.

  18. I went to elementary school (PS 69) on 54th St.around the corner from the hamburger train. Sitting at the counter was one of the more thrilling events of my young life. I was disappointed when they put up the Hilton and the Hamburger Train pulled out of the kitchen for the last time but it was great while it lasted

  19. I was born in Rego Park in 1953 and lived their until I was 5 years old. In my sixties now I tell people of memories of a Luncheonette with a train. However, at the point in life that I thought perhaps I was making up the story and never existed. Thanks to the Internet and found this site and confirmed it was real. Wonderful pictures and thanks so much for memories and your efforts! Priceless!

  20. Niels van den Bergh

    Coming through New York from or to Rotterdam during my fathers leave working for Shell in Maracaibo 50’s and 60′ the Hamburger Train was a must. Think we went several times in a span of 4 to 6 days waiting for our transport. I really dont know what the food was like was too excited watching the train. Didn’t the hamburgers have a lollypop stuck through them? Internet brings back fond memories and photos.

  21. I lived at 40 W. 56 Street, 3 and 1/2 blocks away from the best place a youngster could ever eat, until the early mid 1960’s. As I went to school at PS 69, a little more than a block away, my mother would pick me up at school or meet me there. I ate there so often that eventually, on very cold and/or snowy days I was permitted to wait inside the restaurant until she arrived. On one very special time there, I was allowed to look through the partially opened door into the kitchen to see what actually happened when the train cars traveled out of sight. Your family provided me with many hours of delight and many years of memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Sincerely yours, Aaron Stoner.

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