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WEST ROW — Gary Spencer is one man who stands alone against massive hamburger chains. His secret weapon: mouthwatering burgers that he claims are more appetizing than the mass-produced ones.

He says the "evil clown corporations," as he refers to the McDonald’s and Burger King’s of the world, often let down their hungry customers. Their restaurants display photos of succulent patties with fresh toppings, but Spencer says only sorry-looking burgers sweating in plastic wrappers are usually handed over to customers.

Why people keep going to these places is beyond him, Spencer says. At his one-man shop in West Row, called Gary’s Grill, Spencer says it must be that people have gotten used to the convenient, same ol’ burgers.

"You know it’s going to be crappy, so when you get it, you’re not disappointed," he said jokingly.

To compete with the big guys, Spencer strives to give people what they expect — a good burger worth the money.

"People eat with their eyes," he said. "If it looks nice, you’re halfway there."

Three years ago, Spencer, 27, opened his small takeaway shop along this sleepy village’s main drag. Being only a few miles from RAF Mildenhall, his eatery attracts many airmen as well as locals.

Recently, his place supplied an unofficial burger-eating contest among members of the 727th Air Mobility Squadron. He recalled cooking up mounds of meat for his Nemesis burgers, which consist of four quarter-pound patties topped with bacon and cheese.

However, the big daddy on his menu is the Monster. Customers will need to unlock their jaws to take a bite of this mammoth meal with two quarter-pound burgers piled high with bacon, sausage, onion rings and hash browns.

His newest burger is the Liger, a patty with avocado, bacon and cheese. He got the name from the "Napoleon Dynamite" movie, in which Napoleon said the animal — a mix between a lion and tiger — is perhaps his favorite animal.

Spencer believes in having fun in the workplace, with jokes on every wall targeting everything from Hollywood movies to British life. But he also takes pride in his work.

"That’s what I want it to be all about," he said of putting on a friendly, amusing setting. "I try to make eye contact and acknowledge each person when they walk through the door."


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