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Turns out, the hamburger is as rich in history as it is in flavor

Savor these juicy facts about one of the world's most iconic foods.

history, food, hamburger, inventors, community
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Delicious history.

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It's something so simple, yet something so good — two tasty buns around mouthwatering meat.

Yes, it's true: Hamburgers are wonderful. But what exactly makes them so wonderful? With so many parts and so many variations, it’s hard to know precisely why this dietary delight has become such an iconic part of our culture.

Over the centuries — yes, centuries — the hamburger has evolved from an umami underdog to a ubiquitous food staple all across the globe. And at the center of that strange journey is some surprising insight into humanity itself (and also a tasty meat patty).

Here are seven fascinating facts from across the years and continents that will make you appreciate the burger for more than just its taste.


1. The hamburger was invented in New Haven, Connecticut.

It was 1900 when Danish immigrant Louis Lassen first took the trimmings from his trademark steak sandwiches (which he also helped pioneer), packed them into patties, and placed them between two slices of toast from his sandwich wagon. The family still runs Louis’ Lunch Shop on Crown Street today and still serves the sandwiches on toast with no option for ketchup.

As someone who was born and raised in New Haven, I can assure you that this is 100% unequivocal truth. Even the U.S. Library of Congress has it on record!

sandwich, trademark, mobile food, health

Louis Lassen stands at the counter of the Lunch Wagon in New Haven, Connecticut.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

2. Unless it was not invented in New Haven at all.

Perhaps it was Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas, that actually invented it. He supposedly started cookin’ up those patties in the late 1880s, then brought his treat to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, where it gained global attention.

Or it could have been Charles and Frank Menches of Hamburg, New York, who ran out of sausage at a fair in 1885, so they packed together ground beef with coffee, brown sugar, and other brown spices to mask what was otherwise considered “lower class” meat.

Some people even give credit to Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, Wisconsin, who began serving flattened meatballs on bread in 1885, even though that’s pretty clearly a “meatball sandwich” and not a “hamburger.”

Maybe it all began at root beer-maker Oscar Weber Bilby’s Fourth of July party in 1891, right in Oklahoma — the heartland of America.

As you can see, there's some question as to which of the 50 states can actually claim credit for this distinctly American delicacy. Unfortunately, people didn’t keep very clear records of these things back then, so it’s kind of hard to determine which one was the real pioneer.

national landmarks, state law, America, culinary

A large statue commemorates the lover for a burger.

Photo (cropped) by WIMHARTER/Wikimedia Commons.

3. But we do know that the first record of a hamburger-like recipe was from 1758.

"The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy" by Hannah Glasse — the most popular cookbook in England for more than a century — was well-known in the American colonies too.

The cookbook was updated many times after its initial publication in 1747, but it was the 1758 edition that first made mention of a “hamburg sausage” — a combination of ground beef and spices that was cured and then served roasted on a single piece of toast.

recipe, hamburgers, history, documents

Everybody benefits with a cookbook.

Image (cropped) via W. Wangford/Wikimedia Commons.

4. The hamburg sausage wan't quite a sandwich. But neither was the "hamburg steak," another cousin of the burger.

Obviously, the question of “what defines a sandwich” has resulted in much debate. But one thing we can all agree on is that it requires some kind of casing in order to qualify as a “sandwich” ... right?

While Glasse’s hamburg sausage could have arguably been an open-faced sandwich, the popular hamburg steak was definitely not a sandwich. The German dish gained popularity in the 18th century and comprised of, um, well, a patty of ground beef packed together — sometimes with spices or onions or egg — and then cooked and served. Which, come to think of it, does sound a lot like a hamburger without the bun.

(Some would argue that a hamburger without a bun is not technically a hamburger, but that's a philosophical discussion for another time.)

middle east, cuisine, world views, studies

That doesn't look like the burgers I know.

Photo (cropped) by 1971Marcus/Wikimedia Commons.

5. Come to think of it, no one’s really sure who invented the sandwich either.

This may not sound like an important part of hamburger history, but bear with me. You’ll see how it connects.

Credit often goes to John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who allegedly needed some way to contain his food so that he could continue playing cards with his friends without making a mess or needing utensils.

But he was hardly the first to think of such a thing — Hillel the Elder was known for eating flatbread sandwiches as far back as the first century, and of course, many Middle Eastern and Eurasian cultures made use of the pita to contain all kinds of tasty treats, including — wait for it — minced meats.

Now do you see where this is going?

art, food, historical data, research, marketing

There are many components to this flatbread burger.

Image via Pixabay.

6. That’s right: The hamburger goes all the way back to Genghis Khan. (Sort of.)

Look, there’s a lot of world to conquer, OK? And when you were part of Khan’s Golden Horde, you didn’t have a lot of time to stop and eat between invading 2/3 of the planet. Khan’s soldiers would sometimes stay on horseback for days at a time, which wasn’t really conducive to eating soup either.

They found a way around the problem by thinly slicing meat and packing it together into portable patties that could be taken on the road and eaten as needed. Sometimes they were boiled, sometimes cured ahead of time, and more often than not, they were just eaten raw (but, contrary to popular belief, they were not placed under their saddles and cooked by butt-heat friction).

historical figures, art, Mongolia, war

A statue for the likeness of the historical Genhis Khan.

Image from Pixabay.

In one part of the world, this minced meat may have evolved into kebabs, which of course were then contained in the aforementioned pitas. Genghis’s grandson Kublai Khan is believed to have passed this raw meaty snack on to the Russians, who called it “steak tartare,” reportedly after their name for the Turco-Mongol peoples.

It would only be a matter of time before Russians shared the recipe with Germans, who gave it a twist of their own and turned it into hamburg steaks.

7. But the absolute oldest reference to a burger-like food comes from fourth-century Rome.

The ancient Roman Empire contributed a great many things to the modern world — including, believe it or not, fast food in the form of the ready-to-go thermopholia markets (literally “a place where something hot is sold”). According to a fourth-century cookbook, some of these thermopholia sold a packed patty known as Isica Omentata, which was made from minced meat, pine nuts, fish sauce, wine, and other spices. You can even find some modernized recipes and make your own Roman patties the next time you’re in the mood for a gladiator match!

cookbooks, Roman Empire, history, nutrition

The Roman Empire created some unique architecture.

Photo by Jebulon/Wikimedia Commons.

The hamburger’s globe-trotting history shows us exactly why people around the world love those meaty buns.

(Besides the fact they’re delicious, I mean.)

The real power of the burger is much more primal than that. Bread and meat are dietary staples of every culture since pretty much the dawn of civilization as we know it. It only makes sense to bring them together in such a simple way. And as technologies continued to evolve, of course we’d use them to perfect this quintessential combination, which would, in turn, give rise to the modern burger as we know it.

sculpture, diets, fast food, farming

A representation of a hamburger with cheese.

Image via Pixabay.

That’s why the hamburger’s winding journey from Rome to Mongolia to Russia to Germany and, finally, to the United States is such a telling story: It shows how separate cultures have so much in common across time and space. In that regard, it almost doesn't matter who was first to slap that patty on a bun or what inspired them do it — because the impulse was intrinsically human. Which means, yes, the hamburger has the power to unite us all, no matter where we come from, like one big global barbecue.

But also, they're delicious.

This article originally appeared on 03.22.18

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

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Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

A group of students staring at their phones.

The Norwegian government is spearheading a significant initiative to prohibit students from having smartphones in schools. This move comes in the wake of compelling studies demonstrating the positive impact of removing these devices from students’ hands and allowing them to focus more on their learning.

The effects have been particularly beneficial for girls.

Over the past few years, smartphone bans have cropped up in several school districts throughout Norway, allowing researchers to study how the bans affected students. Sara Abrahamsson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, analyzed students at 400 middle schools and found that the bans had psychological and academic benefits.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health published the results.

1 Girls made fewer appointments for psychological help

The study found that there was a significant decrease in the number of visits that girls made to see a psychological specialist for mental health issues. “Relative to pretreatment this is a significant decline by almost 60% in the number of visits,” Abrahamsson wrote in the study.

2. Steep drop in bullying

The study shows that girls experienced a 46% reduction in bullying after smartphone bans were enacted and boys had a 43% reduction.

smartphone, smartphone ban, norway

Boys looking at memes on a smartphone.

via Max Fischer/Pexels

3. Improved grades for girls

The study revealed that introducing a smartphone ban at the beginning of middle school improved girls' GPAs and increased their chances of enrolling in an academic-oriented high school track versus a vocational study. On the other hand, the ban appeared to have no notable effect on boys’ GPA, teacher-assigned grades, or likelihood of pursuing an academic high school track.

4. The ban had a more significant effect on economically disadvantaged girls

The study found that the ban resulted in greater benefits for economically disadvantaged girls regarding academic performance, appointments for psychological symptoms and the probability of attending an academically focused high school.

The positive impact that the bans have on girls is significant, given the fact that studies show they’ve been the most deeply affected by the rise in mental health issues amongst young people that have coincided with smartphone adaptation.

One of the most disturbing trends is the dramatic rise in suicide rates among girls in developed nations.

smartphones in schools, norway, smartphone ban

Students taking a selfie in school.

via RDNE Stock Project

Jonathan Haidt, author of “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness” and advocate for banning smartphones in schools, explained why smartphone use is more damaging for girls than boys.

“There is a special relationship between social media and girls,” Haidt told “The Reason Interview with Nick Gillespie” podcast. “When boys get together … they're likely to organize themselves into groups to compete [on multiplayer video games].”

“Girls are much more interested in talking about relationships. Who is on the outs with whom? Who's dating who? They have a more developmental map of the social space,” Haidt continued.

When there is conflict within peer groups, social media poses a much greater threat to girls.

“Boys' aggression is ultimately backed up by the threat of physical domination and punching or pain, " Haidt continued. “Girls' aggression is equal in magnitude, but it's aimed at relationships and reputation. It's called relational aggression. Video games, if anything, prevent boys from getting in fights. … The platform settles everything. But girls' relational aggression is amplified. The worst year of bullying is seventh grade. I'm really focused on middle school.”


Why Your Next Mattress Should Be Latex, Not Memory Foam

The 100% organic mattress is made from sustainable materials and you can try it risk-free for 100 nights.

Do you ever feel like you’re on an eternal quest for good sleep? Have you tried everything from sleep masks and white noise machines to weighted blankets and herbal supplements? If so, it’s probably time to reconsider the most obvious element of good sleep: your mattress. Of course, when it comes to mattresses, for years memory foam has been the top choice for comfort. But today consumers want something that is more sustainable and healthy. And for that reason, more and more are turning to the Peace Lily Latex Mattress, a game-changer in the world of sleep. This 100% organic marvel doesn’t just deliver superior comfort; it does so without using any of the toxic chemicals that are bad for your health and the planet. Want to hear more about how you can get a better night’s sleep and help the planet at the same time? Then let’s talk about why you should choose latex over memory foam.

The Problem with Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses, while cozy at first cuddle, come with a long list of not-so-cozy problems. Ever wake up in the middle of the night feeling like you're sleeping on a radiator? That's heat retention for you, a notorious trait of memory foam that turns your bed into a sauna. Do you often find yourself waking up with the morning sniffles or headaches that just won't quit? You may assume that this is natural, but it’s often a silent signal of off-gassing—the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the synthetic materials memory foam beds are famous for.

But it's not just about uncomfortable nights or mysterious sniffles. The environmental toll of these synthetic materials is hefty, contributing to our planet's growing pile of non-biodegradable waste. As we become more aware of our ecological footprint, the choice of mattress becomes more than a personal comfort issue; it's a health and environmental decision. Switching from memory foam to a more sustainable option like natural latex isn't just good for your sleep; it's a step towards a healthier planet.

The Peace Lily Latex Difference

Latex mattresses are in a league of their own when it comes to combining comfort, durability, and health. Unlike their memory foam counterparts, latex doesn't trap heat. Instead, latex lets you enjoy a cool, serene slumber thanks to its open-cell structure that promotes air circulation. This means you can say goodbye to those sweaty wake-up calls. Plus, the inherent durability of natural latex ensures that your mattress remains supportive and sag-free, offering an unwavering comfort that lasts for decades, not just years.

Of course, while latex is fantastic, not all latex mattresses are created equal. What makes the Peace Lily Latex Mattress stand out is the fact that it is made of 100% sustainable, certified organic, non-toxic materials. We’re talking inner foam layers made from GOLS certified organic latex with sustainably sourced rubber sap; a cover and handles made from high-density organic cotton for a soft, cloud-like feel; and batting made from GOTScertified organic New Zealand wool for plush, breathable luxury.

To top it all off, Peace Lily is embarking on the world’s first regenerative latex program focused on recovering degraded soil using specialized agroforestry practices. With new estimates saying that in 60 years all of the topsoil in the world will disappear, this makes a real difference! Every single element and sourcing process is thoughtfully chosen for its sustainability, lack of off-gassing, and luxury comfort, ensuring you breathe clean air and reduce your carbon footprint while you sleep soundly.

The Greener Option

So what does sustainably sourced latex actually mean? The Peace Lily Latex Mattress is produced by tapping rubber trees in a way that allows them to continue growing, and thus continue absorbing carbon dioxide. In that way, every single mattress becomes part of a larger, greener cycle.

But the environmental benefits of this particular Peace Lily mattress don’t just stop at production. Sleeping on a mattress free from the toxic chemical cocktail found in many non-organic options means you're resting in a cleaner, healthier space every night. The Peace Lily Latex Mattress boasts non-toxic, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic properties, thanks to its natural latex and organic wool. These materials naturally resist dust mites, mold, and mildew, ensuring a sneeze-free, breathable sleep environment. With prestigious certifications like GOLS, GOTS, OEKO-TEX, and eco-INSTITUT® to back up these claims, you get the assurance that you're sleeping on a mattress that meets the highest standards of environmental and health safety.

Peace Lily, Here for a Good Time and a Long Time

Worried that the Peace Lily Latex Mattress won’t be right for you? Don’t be. For starters, the Peace Lily Latex Mattress is a flippable mattress with two different firmness levels. One side is medium, the other is firm. And if you want something a little softer or firmer you can add a Peace Lily mattress topper for a fully customized sleep. But even if you try all that and you still don’t like the Peace Lily, that’s cool too, because they offer a zero-risk 100-night trial! Sleep on it, dream on it, and if you don't absolutely love it, they’ll take it back and give you a full refund.

The Peace Lily Latex Mattress ships free, arriving at your doorstep compressed in a box, ready to expand into the bed of your dreams, all over the United States. No extra fees, no hidden costs — just pure, unadulterated comfort waiting to unfold in your bedroom. And it all comes with a 25-year limited warranty so you can feel confident investing in your sleep and health. This mattress is built to last and Peace Lily backs that up with this amazing warranty.

Better Sleep, Better Planet

If you’re looking for the perfect night’s sleep, ditch the environmentally disastrous memory foam and go with natural latex instead. The Peace Lily Latex Mattress offers 100% organic materials and customizable firmness levels, plus cooling sleep, unbelievable durability, and antimicrobial benefits, so you get better sleep and a cleaner planet. If you want to improve your sleep, general health, and contribution to the environment - this is the best investment you can make!

Click here to order your Peace Lily Latex Mattress today. From what we’ve found we think you’ve got nothing to lose, and the entire planet has something to gain.

Tony Trapani discovers a letter his wife hid from him since 1959.

Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.

After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.

The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.


"Dear Tony, I bet you are surprised to hear from me after so many years. I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights. But I thought I would write you and find out how you are," the letter reads. "Tony, please don't be angry or surprised to hear this. I have a little boy. He is five-years- old now - grey eyes and beautiful black hair. What I am trying to say Tony is he is your son."

"Please, Tony if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, please come and see him," Shirley wrote in the letter. "Every day he asks me where is his daddy and believe me Tony I can't even answer him anymore. If would be forever grateful to you if you would just see him. ... I'll close now hoping and praying you will answer. P.S. His name is Samuel Duane."

Now, Tony faced the fact that he had a son that would be around 60 years old and he set out to find him. For over a year, Trapani’s sister tried to track down the mysterious Samuel Duane Childress, until she finally contacted his wife, Donna.

Tony and Samuel met in January 2015 and he felt like a new dad. After meeting his father, Samuel said his mother told him she sent the letter, but Tony never responded. "Why my wife didn't tell me," said Trapani. "I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried."

"I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well what does he look like?'' Samuel said. "She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror."

The two met and caught up on a lifetime of memories with the understanding that they could never change the past. "Just to know him now is so important to me. It's going to fill that void," Samuel said. But just to be sure, Tony took a paternity test to ensure they were father and son.

The test came back negative, revealing that Tony was not the father. The news upset Tony and Samuel, but they still had a unique bond. They shared a relationship with Samuel’s mother and both have been on an incredibly wild ride after Tony found the mysterious letter.

“They're keeping that bond,” Donna said. “That paper doesn't mean anything to him. That bond has been made—and we're going to move on from here.”


This article originally appeared on 2.23.24

Health

Self-defense expert shares 'Ted Bundy rule' to protect women from men who appear harmless

"This is important because dangerous people use this tactic to lure victims into compromising situations."

Ted Bundy in a 1980 Florida Department of Corrections inmate ID photo and Self-checkouts in Lidl discount in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland.

Katie Ring, known on social media as The.Self.Defense.Girl, recently shared a success story on TikTok after a woman followed her “Ted Bundy Rule.” The big takeaway from the story is that even when people appear harmless, it could all be a clever rouse to put you in extreme danger.

Ring is a self-defense instructor, martial artist and former D1 athlete who started her TikTok and Instagram profiles (@the.self.defense.girl) after a man assaulted twenty women in San Francisco and had still not been arrested.

"One self-defense rule I want every woman and child to remember is what I call the Ted Bundy rule,” Ring shared on TikTok. “That is, if a grown man needs help, he's typically going to ask another man and not a woman or a child. So, if a grown man asks you for help, I want you to question why he's asking for your help in particular."


One of RIng’s followers heard her share the rule in the past and put it to good use after someone sketchy asked her for help at 10 p.m. in a grocery store. At the self-check-out, a man on crutches asked her to help him carry his groceries to his truck. She said no to the man because she thought it was "weird" he asked her instead of a male employee.

@the.self.defense.girl

One of the most important self-defense rules if you are a woman or a child, is if a grown man is asking for your help, always question why. Obviously not everyone has bad intentions, but your safety is more important than someone elses feelings! . #selfdefense #safety #safetytips #womensselfdefense #tiptok #tedbundy #fyp #foryou #viral #greenscreen

“Exactly like she said, the guy could have had no bad intentions, but as women and children, we just can't take that risk," Ring said. "This is the exact tactic that Ted Bundy used to lure his victims. He would have a cast or crutches and ask women to help him to his car, where he would proceed to knock them out, kidnap them and unalive them."

Ted Bundy was a serial killer in the mid-’70s who was known for hiding behind his good looks, intelligence and clean-cut image to murder at least 30 women. One of the tactics he used to lure women was to feign injury by using crutches, wearing casts or arm slings and asking women for help taking things to his car.

On one such occasion, after dropping books in front of Georgeann Hawkins at the University of Washington, Bundy convinced her to return them to his car. As she bent over to place the books in his seat, he hit her in the head with a crowbar.

The video was a great reminder for women everywhere to be cautious when a strange man asks them for help, especially when other men are around. Some people may feel uncomfortable saying no to someone asking for help. But the commenters shared why that should be the last of their worries. "The thing is, if he had no bad intentions and is a nice guy, he won't mind you saying no. If he gets angry, he wasn't a good guy," one commenter wrote.

Another commenter suggested if a woman finds herself in that position at a grocery store, they grab an employee to help the person bring the groceries to their car. “Smart move! Ima say, ‘sure thing! Let me grab an employee for ya!’” a commenter wrote.

Ultimately, being safe means being assertive and telling people no. But that’s a lot easier than following their wishes and winding up in extreme danger.

"So remember, your safety is more important than anyone else's feelings,” Ring concluded the video.

Representative photos by Wonderlane|Flickr and Aris Leoven|Canva

Canadian nail salon has people packing their bags for a manicure

There are a lot of nail salons out there and without word of mouth it can be impossible to know which salon to visit. This is why many businesses have social media pages to advertise services without having to spend a lot of money on television ad space. Advertising pictures and videos of amazing work can help keep a steady flow of customers, but one Canadian nail salon is going with a different approach.

Henry Pro Nails in Toronto, Canada is leaving the internet in stitches after creating a viral ad for his nail salon. The video takes several viral video clips but instead of the expected ending, Henry pops in completing the viral moment in hilarious different ways.

It opens with a familiar viral video of a man on a stretcher being pulled by EMS when the stretcher overturns flopping the man onto the ground. But instead of it ending with the injured man on the ground, Henry lays out on the floor of his salon and delivers his first line, "come to my nail salon, your nails will look beautiful." The video doesn't stop there and has certainly having the desired effect.


In another clip, a man holds his leg straight up and somehow flips himself into a split. When the camera cuts back to Henry, he's in the splits on the floor of his nail salon promoting loyalty discounts. The ad is insanely creative and people in the comments can't get enough, some are even planning a trip to Toronto just to get their nails done by the now internet famous, Henry.

"I will fly to Canada to get my nails done here just because of this hilarious video. You win this trend for sure," one woman says.

"Get yourself a passport and make a roadtrip! My bf and I are legit getting ours and its only a 4 hr drive from where we are in Pennsylvania. Their prices are a lot better than other places I've been too," another person says while convincing a fellow American citizen to make the trip.

"Omg, where are you located? I would fly to get my nails done by you," one person writes.

"The pedicure I had at Henry’s was the best I have ever had. Unfortunately made all other places disappointing and I don’t live close enough for Henry’s to be my regular spot," someone else shares.

It just goes to show that creative advertising can get people to go just about anywhere, but the service gets them to come back. This isn't Henry's first rodeo at making creative ads, though this one seems to be the one that takes the cake. If you're ever in Toronto and find yourself needing an emergency manicure, Henry's Pro Nails is apparently the place to be.