A snowy visit to Purdue

I spent an afternoon with my son, who’s in his last semester at Purdue. He really likes to walk, so we walked together, all over West Lafayette. It did my middle-aged body good to put some miles on my feet.

He lives in Cary Quadrangle, which is this grand old building.

Cary Quad *EXPLORED*

We walked to the northwest corner of campus where there’s a large hill. Lots of people were out sledding. Many of them were using cardboard boxes, because who brings a sled to college? This giant stage is at the bottom of the hill.


We walked through campus a little. The cold got to me so I asked if there were a coffee shop nearby. My son led the way. We passed this building, which very clearly was once a Burger Chef restaurant. Burger Chef was a competitor to McDonalds that was headquartered in Indianapolis. (See more old Burger Chef buildings, repurposed, here.)

Former Burger Chef

A burger joint still operating is the XXX, which has delicious root beer. Here’s one of its signs. You don’t see many of that style of Coca-Cola sign still in use.


Here’s another, this time in neon.


As usual, my son and I wound up at an Irish restaurant near the river. I got this nice portrait of him while we waited for our beef stew and shepherd’s pie.


Despite the cold, it was a good afternoon. I had in mind to have a long conversation with him about searching for a post-college job, but frankly, neither of us was in the mood so we skipped it and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax-DA AL

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18 responses to “A snowy visit to Purdue”

  1. J P Avatar

    Wow, final semester? It seems like he just got there!
    I can’t really say that I miss Burger Chef but now you have me really wanting a burger and a root beer from the XXX.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My bank account is well aware that he’s been there eight semesters now, as I’m sure you can understand.

      1. DougD Avatar

        What?? I was thinking he was in 2nd year.

        It is awfully cool that you can visit your son at school. I went to Uni 4 hours away from home and I don’t recall my parents EVER visiting..

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          My parents didn’t visit me in college either because I was 4 hours away too. My son is about an hour away, door to door. It’s been very nice.

  2. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    I remember Burger Chef existing, but don’t remember ever eating at one. There’s a former building like that a couple of towns north, but I don’t recall what it is now.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I don’t remember eating at one either. My dad would sometimes pick up Filet O’ Fishes at McDonald’s; that was the sum total of my fast-food experience until I was older and Burger Chef was gone.

  3. retrocrank Avatar

    Burger Chef and Jeff!!!!
    In the small (30,000) city in Ohio where Mom took us for piano lessons there were a Burger Chef and Burger King within perhaps 50 yards of each other. Dad came home late that same weeknight so it was our big treat to go get burgers after lessons were over. We KNEW that Mac’s lounge was second rate (besides, who wants to eat food advertised by a clown, what’s that say?), but argued over who was best, BC&J or The King. Eventually a Wendy’s went in (this is mid-70s? – the menu was really simple: Single, Double, Triple with or without cheese, and Frosty vs. soft drinks.). Mom prefered Wendy’s so the others were forgotten…..

    1. Jim Grey Avatar


      I prefer Wendy’s too. When I need to do fast food, that’s what I look for.

  4. Jen Avatar

    I’m from Brownsburg and definitely remember Burger Chef before it became a Hardee’s. Now that same building is a Flap Jack’s and serves up the best breakfast around! Also a Purdue alum, and enjoyed your stroll through campus. Last time we passed through when heading home from the Dunes, I took my kids to XXX. They loved sitting at the counter and drinking root beer from frosty mugs!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      We have a Flap Jack’s by our house in Zionsville. We love going over there on a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning!

  5. dionyb Avatar

    I really enjoy your Purdue posts thanks much from a fellow Boiler parent.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You’re welcome! I sent Purdue the last payment a few weeks ago … FREEDOM!

  6. JoHawkTheWriter Avatar

    I sledded Slayter Hill on a cardboard box and attended many a “Thrill on the Hill” prior to home football games. I heard they moved the venue of the pre-game rally to Mackey Arena. Thanks for the memories.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Awesome! I’m happy I brought you back to those days.

  7. susanJOY Hosken Avatar
    susanJOY Hosken

    Jim, I’m so happy you spent time with your son. My dad didn’t spend much special time with my brother. I have mentioned this before to you. I am so glad you are helping to make special memories for your son and you

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Susan – I miss my boys. I wish they could be teenagers again.

  8. Photography Journal Blog Avatar

    Lovely photos and it sounds like you had a nice visit.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s always wonderful to get to see my son.

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