The answering machine message at Blondie’s this week featured a warning from the owner.

The answering machine message at Blondie’s this week featured a warning from the owner.

"People have been lining up outside the door for two hours before we open," Sandy Doyle, 68, advised customers who wanted to get their last fill of grub from the iconic Main Street burger restaurant before she closed its doors permanently Saturday.

"It’s just insanely crazy," Doyle’s message continues. "If you want to come down and take your chances."

Take a chance they did.

People wait in line for one last order as Blondies Burgers on Main Street flips its last burgers Saturday evening. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

People wait in line for one last order as Blondies Burgers on Main Street flips its last burgers Saturday evening. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)

Five minutes after the 36-seat eatery opened at 4 p.m., 14 people were waiting inside the restaurant well-known for extra-large offerings — like a nine-pound burger or one-litre milkshake — to pick up their meals.

The wait, though, was already rated at two hours. Doyle and her friend Kim, who was working the counter, were handing out tickets and took advance orders so would-be customers didn’t have to wait on the street in the cold wind.

Customers like John Nicolas, 48, who was picking up two one-pound burgers and the fries for six for his family of five.

He first went to Blondie’s with his baseball team about 25 years ago for the novelty of it.

"We came with the idea (pairs of us) were going to split the three-pound burger — that much meat, I thought, an amazing thing. We split the three-pound burgers, each of us, and one guy shouted out, ‘Hey, anybody up for another half?’" he said.

Doyle and her friend Kim, who was working the counter, were handing out tickets and took advance orders so would-be customers didn’t have to wait on the street in the cold wind. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

Doyle and her friend Kim, who was working the counter, were handing out tickets and took advance orders so would-be customers didn’t have to wait on the street in the cold wind. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)

"That day I had a three-pound burger and just thought, this is incredible, the novelty of that much meat was just amazing."

He came occasionally in the years since, but not regularly.

"I found out (Saturday) that my wife’s never been — she grew up in the neighbourhood — I said, ‘It’s the last day, we’ll get Blondie’s,’" Nicolas said. "It’s unfortunate it’s not going to be around any longer."

Meanwhile, Doyle was cheerful and cheeky while working the kitchen she’s made a living with since 1990 on Saturday, though she said it was a "real mess" in there.

Besides, she asked a Free Press reporter, with a wry smile: "Aren’t people sick of me yet?"

erik.pindera@freepress.mb.ca

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera
Reporter

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.