In 2019, Pam “Mimi” Weafer was looking for something fun to do with her grandchildren. Beginning with her grandson Wes, they created a burger challenge – visiting local restaurants to find the best burger in town.
They skipped 2020 due to the pandemic, but then in 2021 all 10 grandchildren participated in a grilled cheese challenge the next year.
“When Pam mentioned doing the grilled cheese challenge with the kids, we were excited,” her daughter-in-law Jessica Weafer said. “At first the kids just wanted to go with Mimi, but after a few weeks, they let the other grown-ups join in on the fun.”
This year, the group — including “Papaw” and the parents of the grandchildren — is challenging community restaurants to find the best french fries. Not all grandchildren, whose ages range from 7 to 20, participate each week due to other commitments.
Jessica said the whole challenge is informal, but that at the end of the school year the grandkids created a flexible list with Mimi of the places they would like to try. They are in the process of visiting these places until they go back to school in August.
A list of criteria for judging the fries — including the cut, seasoning, crispiness, flavor without condiments, and the overall taste — was created. Each participant ranks these on a 1-to-5 rating scale.
Each week, Jessica posts the reviews to her Facebook page, and the current leader is Penn Station with Freddy’s in a close second.
Jessica said she was surprised at how many people commented when she began posting in 2021, and now people will offer recommendations for places to try as well as comment on the posted rankings.
Pam said that the event serves as a good get-together for summer and gets the kids out of the house and doesn’t involve technology. After they eat, the kids have the option to go back to Mimi’s and play board games.
“[It’s a] great way for the cousins to hang out and get to know each other,” Pam said. “I love that both the big kids and the little kids equally look forward to going each week and coming over to our house for games. We have a great time.”
Jessica’s daughter Kennedy said that going to Mimi’s house is her favorite part, while her son Dominic said the challenge and hanging out with family are his.
“Just the fries for me,” said grandson Kody Hancock, who Jessica said is the family jokester.
Travis Weafer said they hope to inspire other families to do the same, as all family members enjoy this time together.
The Weafers plan to do the challenges as long as everyone wants to, and they regularly discuss future ideas.
“An idea was mentioned to try out all the local diners and review those as a whole instead of singular food items,” Pam said.
Jessica said the kids look forward to it all year and are ready to start as soon as school ends.
“There are 10 grandkids in the family, so I don’t see this going away anytime soon,” Jessica said. “I know my kids look forward to it all year. They are ready to start the challenge as soon as school is out for summer.”