Bowling alley snack bar serves Master Gunny Burger

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. – “This is a tasty burger,” is a famous quotable line by Samuel L. Jackson in the movie “Pulp Fiction,” after he takes a bite out of a Kahuna Burger.

Now, if only Samuel could have tried the Master Gunny Burger at the Station bowling alley snack bar.

For under $5, a customer will get a drink, fries and a Master Gunny, which includes a toasted bun, hamburger meat, ham, bacon, egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. It’s a smorgasbord of breakfast and lunch items fused into one giant sandwich.

“I come here a lot and I enjoy a wide variety of food that they serve here,” said Staff Sgt. Bradford Thurlow, a Master Gunny fan. “You get the most bang for your buck with the Master Gunny. It’s not the healthiest, but that’s why we PT (physical training).”

The Master Gunny Burger was created back in 1997 by Lee Walker, the Bowling Center manager, and Sallie Petteway, the Snack Bar assistant manager. The duo come up with ideas or get requests and then test their food creations themselves, before giving the Station a go at it.

“At first we test tried the Master Gunny, we loved it,” said Petteway, who is a native of Edenton, N.C. “My first thought was how big it was and how will people be able to fit into their mouths?”

The name derives from the one of the highest enlisted ranks in the Marine Corps – master gunnery sergeant. The rank itself is three stripes up, four stripes down with a bursting bomb in the middle.

“The name of the burger is pretty cool. It’s stacked, just like the rank,” said Thurlow. “A master gunny sergeant has been there and done that. It’s kind of like the sandwich, because it has it all.”

The staff put a lot of quality and attention to detail into their Master Gunny Burger. Walker explained that her and her staff do not skimp out on their food because they want their burger to look as it tastes and taste like it looks.

“There are not too many other places who cook hamburgers on a grill,” said Walker, a native of Dallas. “The grill keeps the burger juicy. We use better and fresher food. Why go out in town and get a burger that has been sitting on a burner for an hour, instead of coming here and a getting a better, fresher burger.”

The Snack Bar serves approximately 150 to 300 patrons a day – making it one of the most popular places to chow down during lunch. They work like little bees during their busiest hours from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – and yet still keep the quality strong.

“Especially on ‘pay day,’ its gets really crazy in here,” said Petteway. “Sometimes I have seen people order two sandwiches. It’s a lot of hard work – we don’t cook the food ahead of time and let it sit, we cook it after it’s ordered.”

If Samuel ever tasted the Master Gunny in real life, he would probably remark, “Mmm…Mmm… This is way tastier then that Kahuna Burger.”

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