Boro's Fast Food Legend
By Rob Nichols
Wednesday 25 Nov 2009 16:02:00
Browse all Teesside Urban Legends articles

He was a fixture in Middlesbrough for many years. Long white coat, mobile burger dispenser on two wheels. Whether outside the Mad-house on a night or satnding on Woolworths corner the burger man was a true Teesside Urban Legend.


But who was he? Inside Teesside Urban Legends there is many a theory and many a yarn involving Salmonella Sam or whatever else the man who dispensed “Wrestlers famous hot dogs” was known as.


His bike was tracked down to Princes Road, coincidentally the street on which Tony Trumfio's polpetti’s were sold. Or was that Clarendon Road? We have a difference of opinion. Long before the parmo “polpetti man” tried to introduce Teesside to a new take away speciality. According to Smog_monster, “he even scrawled ‘Delicious Polpetti’ on his door in felt tip.” The so-called Polpetti Palace.


And just what was a polpetti anyway?


Back to the burger man and so many people have memories of him and his not so delicious water burgers.


So who exactly was this man of legend? Well, Mr John Nevin actually earned himself a street traders licence from Middlesbrough Council and was photographed in the Gazette. I think at that time he had the only licence, certainly for fast food. Amazing to think that for many years he was the only person selling food on the streets of Middlesbrough.


John Nevin was originally from the south coast, Southampton, so was a long way from home. He made quite an impact on the area. Not sure if the stories of salmonella and deaths from food poisoning were ever proven.


Sadly he died a few years ago without family and without two pennies to rub together in his name. But his memory still lives on. I can still almost taste those water burgers.


You can read more about John Nevin and hosts of other local characters in Teesside Urban Legends. Sponsored by Hill Street Centre and MSV. Available from most local book stores and online click here.


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