Posts Tagged ‘cheeseburgers’

Red Robin, California, MD

9 August 2016

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I haven’t been to a Red Robin in ages, having sworn them off for increasing cost while decreasing quality. However, in this case, when a small group needed to get lunch, but didn’t have time to drive, and the other option was Olive Garden, Red Robin was suddenly the answer.

I had a Whiskey River BBQ Burger, which wasn’t much in the way of BBQ. The burger was cooked well enough, and had decent beef flavor, but it just wasn’t that outstanding. The steak fries were OK.

Service was kind of slow, even though the place was largely empty from 1140-1245. My check was $15.35. The iced tea was pretty good. I will not be seeking out Red Robins, as I think that the cheeseburger was not worth $15, but if I was in the same situation where we needed to be near, I would still go.

Johnnie’s, Edmond, OK

12 June 2016

Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raegan and Erin and I had late lunch here today.

Very straightforward: each of us had a cheeseburger. Mine was a double with chili. The burger was very, very good. It was cooked with a nice crust for texture, and had great beef flavor. I usually ask Johnnie’s to go light on the shredded cheddar they pile on.

Erin got fries (and this was the only down, the fries were a touch undercooked), and we also had onion rings, perfect!

The meal was topped off with a big slide of chocolate pie. The iced tea was excellent. Our check was $44.60. Not bad at all for the quality of the burgers. Great stuff.

Carl’s Jr, Midwest City, OK (Well, Really About Cheeseburgers in General)

7 June 2016

Carl's Jr. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This isn’t really about the Carl’s location. It is a commentary on the sad state of fast food cheeseburgers.

I was looking for a cheeseburger today, and thought to hit up The Garage in MWC.  The place was crowded, and I was wanting to get back to work, so I headed across Crutcho Creek to the Carl’s there.  They used to have good burgers.

I got a Super Cheeseburger.  It was…  OK at best.  It had an actual crust on it from flame grilling, so there was some texture.  But the patties were small, and they had no flavor whatsoever.  I could taste the cheese (a little), the lettuce, and the mayo, but no beef flavor.

Fast food places that do cheeseburgers (I’m looking at you, Sonic, Braum’s, Burger King, McD, Whataburger, Jack In the Box, and the like), please stop serving us up meat with no flavor.  I don’t mind paying six or seven bucks for a fast food burger combo, but I want it to have some flavor and some texture.  LIKE YOU USED TO HAVE.

Burgers that were good were common.  I remember my friend Harold kidding me in 1985 that I had eaten cheeseburgers for dinner something like five days in a row, with no issue (day 1, Braum’s, day 2, BK, etc.).  One thing I remember with some fondness is the bacon cheeseburger at BK, and the Ultimate Cheeseburger at JITB.  Sometime in the past 5-10 years all that has just gone away.  The last JITB burger I had was about five years ago, when a location opened in MWC.  I went in there after it opened with high hopes, and didn’t even finish the burger, it was that nasty.

There are still good burgers.  Chili’s, The Garage, Irma’s and a host of other places come to mind.  Five Guys and Smashburger are two relatively new entrants that are very good.  But most of these places are sit-downs, and a lot of times I want to get and take back to the office quickly.

But Sonic and Braum’s should be ashamed.  Sonic did something different recently, but since I’ve been to five or six locations, it’s not consistently better.  Some are still just as crappy as before (59th and Sooner, MLK and I-44, 122nd and I-35 all come to mind).

If you are in charge or have influence at some of these places, please break your mold of thinking and get some better beef.  Please?

To finish, my check at the Carl’s was $7.32.  Service was very friendly and fast.  I like the breakfast items they serve.  Burgers, not so much.

Is it too much to ask for an El Pollo Loco in the area?

Sonic Got A Little Better

8 April 2016

Yesterday I was in a meeting that went a little long, and I needed to get lunch before another meeting at 1300.  I decided to head to a Sonic just a little way from here and grab a frito chili pie.

When I got there, I saw their ads for the new, improved cheeseburger.  Words like “Destined to become your new favorite”, and “All new cheeseburger perfection”.

I’ve written before (well, several times) about the state of Sonic cheeseburgers.  They used to be sooooo good, and in the past couple years, they are so very bad.  I typically only hit Sonic for breakfast (an excellent breakfast burrito), drinks, or a hot dog.  But sitting there waiting to order, I saw the ad material referenced above, and decided that a chance needed to be given.

So I ordered a Super Sonic Cheeseburger with mayo and lettuce only (they use shredded lettuce, which is what I like).  I have to say that the burger was much better than in the recent past.  This burger still lacked any real crust or texture, but it had better (not a great deal better) flavor.  So there was apparently more meat than sawdust (or whatever filler they’ve been using) on this burger.

So, Sonic.  If your people read this, please up the game a couple times.  First, have the cooks turn the darn grill up a few degrees, and get some crustification (is that a real word?) going on that beef.  While you are at it, have the green eyeshade people pry a few more pennies per burger out and get some better flavor.

The bun, by the way, is OK.  DO NOT go to the gummy disaster that is a Braum’s bun.

I will try another couple Sonic burgers to see if the the one I had was a fluke.  But… the advertising is false.  This was *not* cheeseburger perfection, and it will not become my favorite; there’s a long ways to go there.

JG’s Burgers, Dallas, TX

15 March 2016

J.G.'s Old Fashioned Hamburgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had been to a nearby store, so I hit JG’s. It wasn’t the worst burger around, but it wasn’t nearly the best, either. I had the single cheeseburger, with a side of onion rings. The rings first. I don’t know they were cut and breaded there, they were very uniform, and had little flavor. The burger was OK. It was a small patty on a big bun. One thing that was nice, a big bar to dress your burger. I used mayo; that was all I needed. Oh, and some pickles. Regardless, the burger had little texture and not much beef flavor. I sorta think I should have had a double.

My check was $10.88. Service was very friendly. I would go back if someone else wanted to, but I wouldn’t go on my own.

J&W Grill, Chickasha, OK

4 March 2016

J & W Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As I headed home from my last weekend of Wood Badge, I decided to drive through Anadarko. I called my friend and Anadarko native Tammy and asked for a restaurant recommendation for a hungry guy on a Saturday evening. Her advice: head into Chickasha. Hmmm.

So I saw J&W as I came into Chickasha from the west, and had dinner there. I had a large cheeseburger with tater tots. The tots were great, crispy, and hot. The burger was a throwback to my childhood. I had asked for mayo, I got mustard (nto really an issue, I like both). Not a lot of crust on the burger, but decent flavor, and a lot of grease.

The iced tea was OK, and service was friendly. The place is small, and not many tables. I sat at the counter and enjoyed it just fine. I can’t find the receipt, but my check was about $10.00. Good stuff.

Paw Paw’s, Chickasha, OK

4 March 2016

Paw Paw's Hamburgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When I was coming back from my first Woodbadge weekend (11 April 2015), I stopped by Paw Paw’s for a very good burger. In fact, I got way too much food. My meals was a large double cheeseburger with chili, and chili cheese fries. It was a helluva mess 🙂 but very good. The chili was nothing special, no heat and not too much flavor. The fries were really good, great flavor. The burgers were great, with lots of beef flavor, and cooked with a nice crust on them. Great stuff.

Service was friendly and pretty fast. My check was something like $15.

Apollo Burgers, Salt Lake City, UT

2 March 2016

This is another catch-up post from a trip I took to SLC back in mid-July 2015.

Apollo Burgers, 143 N. Redwood, SLC

I had lunch at this location one day, and it was super busy, but looking at both the Zomato and Apollo Burgers websites, the location does not show.

Regardless, I had a double cheeseburger with fries and a drink. It wasn’t the best burger I’ve had, with minimum flavor and a burger with little texture. The burger was, however, far better than Sonic or Braum’s. The fries were OK.

Like I said, the place was packed at lunch. The staff was friendly. My check was $10.43. I would probably eat at another Apollo Burger, to see if this one was just a little below par.

B&D Burgers, Salt Lake City, UT

2 March 2016

This is another catch-up post from a trip I took to SLC back in mid-July 2015.

B & D Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

First, let’s look at B&D Burgers. On my first day in town, I was looking at a couple outdoors places for a new pair of boots. I found B&D and liked it as it was on the way to the general area I was headed to, and it was a burger place.

I was not impressed. I ordered a double cheeseburger, onion rings, a milkshake, and a soda. The milkshake and soda were the best part of the meal. The rings were burned, and the burger just didn’t have any flavor at all. None. I can’t recommend it. My check was $10.00 for everything except the shake, and a couple extra bucks for that.

Brownie’s Hamburgers, Tulsa, OK (Southside)

27 February 2016

Brownie's Hamburger Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So, in the spirit of not playing catch-up, we ate lunch here about 30 minutes ago!

Pretty much a perfect cheeseburger meal. Ian and I both had double cheeseburgers, his plain, mine with mayo. Remembering how huge the fries side was at the Utica location, we split an order here. Ian had a chocolate milkshake, we both had iced tea. The burgers were perfect, in flavor and cooking. The fries, also. None left. Can’t say any more about the meal other than perfect.

Service was fast and friendly. Our check was $21.47. I’d go back any time.

Fat Guy’s Burger Bar, Tulsa, OK (Downtown)

26 February 2016

Fat Guy's Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Back on 07 November, Ian and I had been working in Muskogee and were headed home. We decided to try Fat Guy’s since it was on several lists of Tulsa’s best burgers.

We got there and an OSU game was playing on the big TVs, so that was cool.

He and I both got Jumbo Double Meat Cheeseburgers, mine had bacon. We both also got fries. This was a mistake, we should have just had one fries as there were a freaking huge amount, seemingly a bushel of potatoes.

The burgers were excellent, with great beef flavor and a nice crust. Drippy as heck, too. The fries were very greasy but very tasty as well.

We had iced tea and DP. Service was order at the counter. It was kind of noisy in there, and crowded. The place is not very big. But they make great cheeseburgers. Our check was something like $25. Good, but on the expensive side.

The Garage, Del City, OK

25 February 2016

The Garage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve eaten here several times since they opened a couple years ago. The most recent time was a cold and rainy 07 January 2016.

I got a double meat chili cheeseburger and chili cheese fries. The burger was excellent. It was also a heckuva mess. I ate it with a fork and knife. I really liked the fries; they had so much chili that they were soaked in chili joice down below (this, BTW, should not be construed as a problem!).

Service is very loose. My check for lunch was $16.52. The iced tea (and later, DP) was great. A good place to get a darn fine cheeseburger.

Dairy Queen, Del City, OK

28 October 2014

Dairy Queen on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here today in the newly-opened restaurant, in my quest to find Great Cheeseburgers. I found OK Cheeseburgers.

First of all, if you are a manager at this place, it was cold enough to hang meat in there to age! When it’s 60F outside, how about not running the a/c on arctic maximum? I mentioned to one of the servers, and she agreed it was pretty cold.

So… I got a 1/2 cheeseburger with bacon, mayo, and pickles. Not bad, not bad at all. The beef had flavor and texture, not huge amounts of flavor, but it was decent. I liked the fries. The iced tea was OK, and seemed to be brewed on-site (please keep that up!). The burger was far better than the offerings from Sonic, McD, and Braum’s (take note, owners of those. Please.).

It was busy, but service was fast and friendly. My check was $8.19. I will certainly give them another try.

Dairy King, Grand Lake, CO

17 July 2014

Grand Lake Dairy King on Urbanspoon

This place was right down the street from our hotel, but it wasn’t even listed on Urbanspoon (which oversight has since been corrected).

Erin and I stopped here for lunch on the way to a hike to Adams Falls. It was great! I got a double cheeseburger, she got a single. We both got fries. All of this was excellent. The burgers were fine beef and cooked just right, not too greasy. I really liked the fries, even though I couldn’t eat all of them.

The iced tea was very good, and service was friendly and fast. The place has both indoor and outdoor seating. Being a dairy place, there are milkshakes, soft serve, and hand dipped ice cream. Our check was $20.77. Highly recommended, enough that we went a second time to score a burger for Raegan, and a second burger for Erin.

Johnny Macs, Littleton, CO

14 July 2014

Johnny Mac's Cafe on Urbanspoon

This place was great! We stopped here on our trip to Grand Lake, CO, to grab some very tasty food.

Erin and I got cheeseburgers. Wonderful. Great flavor, good texture, a burger done right. Raegan got a BLT and her only complaint was it was too larger (I tried it, really good!). The onion rings were perfect, and I really enjoyed the fries also. The place has fry sauce, yummy.

The iced tea was excellent. The milkshake Erin got, and the malt Raegan got, were reported as excellent. Service was fast and very friendly. This place is great! Our check was $28.96.

Red Horse Grill, Norman, OK

19 April 2014

Red Horse Grill on Urbanspoon

This place was good! I had some extra time in this week, so I drove down to Norman for lunch Thursday. I was in the mood for cheeseburger.

I got a double cheeseburger with bacon. I added a couple pickles and mayo from the fixings bar. That was one darn fine burger. Great flavor, nice crust for texture, and perfect, nicely crispy bacon. Mmmmm, bacon. I got some chili cheese fries with the meal, and they were a very good accompaniment to the burger.

The iced tea was serve yourself and very good. My check was $15.34. It would be difficult to go to Norman for lunch very often, but if I was in the area, I’d have zero problem going back to Red Horse.

The Lighthouse, Wickes, AR

29 March 2014

Lighthouse Drive-In on Urbanspoon

While we were on our Cossatot backpacking adventure, our base campers Christi and Lauren saw The Lighthouse and stopped in, and liked it. I did to. After leaving Cossatot, we stopped here to get the Scouts ice cream, of which The Lighthouse 24+ varieties. Erin backed into a decision to have watermelon flavor, and I got vanilla. I also got a bacon cheeseburger that was excellent, along with the iced tea I got with it.

My check was $6.50, and service was lightning fast, as I ordered it while ice cream was being had, received it and was able to eat it before we headed back to OKC. Good stuff.

Cruizzer’s Drive In, Mena, AR

29 March 2014

Myers Cruizzers Drive-In on Urbanspoon

We stopped here for lunch on the way to our Cossatot River backpacking trip last week. It was great!

Erin got a cheeseburger and fries, and I got a double bacon cheeseburger and chili cheese tater tots (hey, we needed our protein!). It was all great. The burgers were thick and juicy and had great beef flavor, the bacon on mine was crunchy. The chili on the tots was very good as well, and there was quite a bit of it. We got Cokes to drink, and they were very good.

The check for Erin and I was around $15. In spite of the fact that about 15 Girl Scouts descended on the place with no warning, service was fast, from order taking to food delivery. We all sat on the tables in the center of the drive in. After the meal, about half of us had soft-serve ice cream that was a nice end to the meal.

One note: Cruizzer’s is cash only. Christi and I walked over to an ATM on the parking lot to the east to get the cash.

If you are in Mena, Cruizzer’s is recommended.

Pickles, Moore, OK

26 February 2014

Pickles on Urbanspoon

I’ve driven by Pickles a couple hundred times, but never tried it until today. I drove by headed back to work this afternoon.

I had the deluxe double, which is a two-thirds pound burger with bacon and cheese; double everything. It was on an unusual bread, I think an egg bun? There was a lot of cheese, and there were five slices of bacon (cooked to a perfect crispness). The burger was pretty darn good. It was cooked with a nice crust on it, and it had decent flavor. But… the flavor had an odd (but not unpleasant) taste. I wonder if it had some unusual seasoning salt or something similar.

I had fries with the burger, and they were very good. The iced tea was excellent. Service was perfect. My check was $10.24. I wouldn’t mind going back.

BTW, the restaurant is in a former BK or something similar. I don’t usually comment on interiors (unless it’s nasty), but the restaurant was nicely appointed in wood and (I think) brass. The booth I sat in had plenty of room.

Al’s Cafe and Grill, Edmond, OK

2 February 2014

Al's Cafe & Grill on Urbanspoon

A week ago Saturday, I was looking for a fairly quick lunch in Edmond, and I remembered I had been wanting to try Al’s. I got there about 1215 and was out at 1250.

I got a double cheeseburger with light fried onions, and fries. First, the fries were excellent, perfect, hot and crispy. Yum. The burger was pretty darn good. It was juicy and had great flavor, with a nice crust on it (except where the onions were).

Now, I have an unreasonable fondness for onion burgers. Not burgers with onions, but burgers where the onions are cooked on the grill right with the meat. At least, I thought I had an unreasonable fondness for onion burgers. I ordered them “light” this time, and that’s the way the burger came. And at the end of the meal, I decided I really don’t like onion burgers. I think that if there were a couple grilled onions on top of the burger, that would be OK. But I think I finally realized that the pile of onions for an onion burger are just too much, a lot of times too tough to bite through, and strong enough to mask the beef flavor, which is the reason I like burgers.

So… the next time I am at Al’s, I will get a cheeseburger. It was very good. Service was friendly and fast. The iced tea was OK; next time I would probably get a Coke. My check was $12.96.

One funny thing: Al’s has a bunch of drive-in memorabilia on the walls. One is a replica of a Beverly’s Chicken In The Rough, which would be a competitor. I know I’ve seen that on another restaurant in the OKC area, maybe Around The Corner.

Charcoal Oven, Oklahoma City, OK

20 January 2014

Charcoal Oven on Urbanspoon

So this might fall into the category of “it took long enough”. I’ve lived in OKC since 1984, and have been up and down Northwest Expressway thousands of times, and have not ever eaten at the Charcoal Oven. I ate at a very good Italian place called Tony’s Via Roma that was just west of there, and took a couple dates to Juniors just east of there. The kids and I had dinner at an outpost of Charcoal Oven just west of NWX and MacArthur several years ago on a blazing afternoon.

That changed today. I was headed up to St. John’s (which is about three blocks away) to do some work this morning, and decided to grab breakfast ( 🙂 ) on the way. It’s drive-through only.

I was not impressed. I got a Cowboy Burger with cheese. This burger has hickory sauce on it. Mine did not have cheese, as it turned out. The burger was OK. It was cooked and smelled of charcoal cooking, but it had little flavor. The hickory sauce was not very good; it was more like slightly seasoned ketchup. The meal was a combo that came with some OK fries and a Coke.

Service was fast. The burger was just not that good. The patties were much smaller than the bun, and the hickory sauce was a distraction instead of an enhancement. This was $15.16, which is pretty darn high for a no-frills burger.

So after not having tried the Charcoal Oven for 30 years, I will not be rushing back. I like to give places a couple chances, but it’s not a priority this case.

B&G Tasty Foods, Omaha, NE

30 June 2013

B & G Tasty Foods on Urbanspoon

Permit me a slight diversion. I like good local food. A while back, I read an article in USA Today that talked about “loose meat” burgers. The descriptions left me slavering for some. The article referenced a chainlet called “Maid Rite” that was in Iowa mainly, but had an outpost in Arlington, TX. I literally grabbed a Post-It and wrote the names and cities of the Arlington location and the location nearest to Omaha, then stuck it on the wall next to my computer at work, in anticipation of trying one or the other. So this style of burger is on my mind.

So as we drove along Dodge this afternoon, the B&G sign caught my eye. Rather, the part of the sign that said “Loose Meat Sandwiches”. I drove around the block (twice) to find the place, amusing Raegan no end.

I pulled up, went in, looked at the menu, and ordered a double cheeseburger, anticipating that first “loose meat” experience. I ate it, and it was a very good cheeseburger, with great beef flavor, a nice crust, and just the right amount of mayo. SCORE, I thought. Since I just bought the burger, with no fries or drink, my check was only $6.25.

So it’s now later in the evening, and I started to write the blog post. I wanted to remember the name of the Maid-Rite chainlet, and in doing so, I read several descriptions of the loose meat sandwich, which convinced me that I had just ordered a regular-issue (but very good) cheeseburger. The B&G menu posted online has an item “The Bee Gee” which looks like the loose meat I was looking for. Well, crap, thought I.

In my reading this evening, I noted that several other chainlets (including one in Wichita) also specialize in loose meat sandwiches. Since we are headed to South Dakota (through Iowa), I’m going to keep a lookout for any more of these. I will have one of those sandwiches…

Johnny Rockets, OSU Student Union, Stillwater, OK

15 June 2013

Johnny Rockets on Urbanspoon

Ian and I had lunch here today. Now, I’ve eaten at Johnny Rockets locations in several states, and have been uniformly satisfied. This one was disappointing.

Ian and I both had double cheeseburgers; mine had bacon. Both had fries. He had a chocolate shake and I had tea. My burger had OK beef, but it did not have the beef flavor I would have expected; it was bland. The beef was not cooked long enough; it was medium well, but had no crust or texture. The rest of the meal was OK.

Service was pretty good. Our check was $23.90. I likely will not be back.

One thing that chains bring is consistently. If you like the food, you have a certain degree of assurance that the meal will be consistent. That was not the case here. I have been to Rockets locations in CA, WA, NV, and other places, and been highly satisfied. This location in Stillwater needs to get with the program for the rest of the chain.

Don and Millie’s, Bellevue, NE

15 May 2013

Don & Millie's on Urbanspoon

It’s been a while since I was at this Don and Millie’s location. It was very good.

I got a Double Don, which is a double meat bacon cheeseburger. I got the fries with chili (very good!) and cheese (nacho queso). The fries were pretty darn good. The cheeseburger was very good, with a nice crust and texture, and very good flavor; just the right amount of juicy.

The iced tea was pretty darn good as well, and service was outstanding and friendly. My check was $10.36. Good stuff.

Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler, Oklahoma City (south), OK

23 October 2012

Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler on Urbanspoon

I was really surprised to realize that I hadn’t written about Johnnie’s. We eat at the location on Britton fairly often. A couple weeks ago, I was running an errand along I-240 and needed lunch, so I hit Johnnie’s. I got there at 1115, and about two minutes later a line stretched out the door. I ordered a double chili cheeseburger and fries, with iced tea. The cheeseburger was very good. It was medium well, not too greasy, and with just the right amount of cheese, and chili. I like both their fries and onion rings.

My check was $10.50. An workmanlike cheeseburger, just the right amount of food, and in and out in good time. Recommended.

Barry’s Grill, Oklahoma City, OK

18 October 2012

Barry's Grill on Urbanspoon

I’ve driven by Barry’s about a million times since 1984. I decided to try it Tuesday, and I’m glad.

I got a jumbo cheeseburger, which is a double meat cheeseburger, mayo and lettuce, and fries. That was one fine burger! The beef had great flavor, and the burger was cooked perfectly, with a nice crust, good texture, overall excellent. Not too greasy, either. The fries were very good. Clearly real potato, thick sliced, and deep fried. They probably could have spent a bit more time cooking, as some of them were a little “bare” and not cooked all the way through. They have a soda fountain, and unsweet iced tea.

I got there around 1150 and left at 1225. My check was $10.22. I will gladly go back.

Foster’s Grille, Herndon, VA

10 October 2012

Foster's Grille on Urbanspoon

This place was really good! I picked it for a couple reasons: it was near my hotel and IAD (which I was flying into), and it was inexpensive. I got there around 1715 and left about 1800. My check was $19.22.

You order by marking a strip of paper ala Which Wich. I got a cheeseburger with mayo, lettuce, and (a pleasant surprise) pickle relish. I upgraded from fries to onion rings. I also got an order of BBQ wings. The burger (advertised as a charburger) was EXCELLENT! A half pound of beef, thick, excellent flavor, a nice crust. That was fine beef. The mayo and lettuce was right on, and the pickle relish was a fine touch of flavor enhancement. The onion rings were OK at best, I think they were pre-fabbed. I’m getting fries next time.

The ten BBQ chicken wings – I had every intention of carrying them back to my room to have as a snack, but I ate them all at the restaurant. Wonderful, tender and plump. The BBQ coating was excellent.

I got iced tea, brewed and yummy. The staff was very friendly. This place is on my list for a visit to the DC area. Great stuff. And I need to try to fries.

Braum’s Burgers, and Quality

23 May 2012

I am just about to stop buying cheeseburgers from Braum’s. They used to consistently make excellent burgers. The meat was cooked with a nice crust on them, just the right amount of juicy, and with great flavor.

Over the past couple years, that quality has been going downhill. There is one Braum’s that I frequent that still makes a great cheeseburger, the location in Broken Arrow at 71st and Elm.

But most of the rest, including at least one of the two that we frequent, is experiencing the same lack of taste quality.

What tipped me past the point was eating at the location at 15th and Post in MWC. A bland, boring meal. Not actively bad, but nowhere near good either.

I wonder if the quality decline is related to expansion of the chain. I think that the quality started declining since Braum’s started a remodeling effort a number of years ago. Is there a cause and effect there? I hope not.

I’ll still buy dairy stuff at Braum’s. But for a burger, I’ll hit somewhere else.

Not Sonic, either.

Dinker’s Bar, Omaha, NE

12 April 2012

Dinker's Bar on Urbanspoon

I’ve had a number of people tell me that Dinker’s burgers are better than Stella’s. The sign outside says “BEST BURGERS IN OMAHA” or something like that. I got to town this evening, and decided to give it a try.

I got there about 1745 and left around 1900. The place was no more than 10% full. I found a table, and… waited. About 10 minutes. Eventually I noticed a sign over a counter in the back of the place: “ORDER HERE”. Hmmm. I went back there and ordered. I tried to order iced tea to drink, but no, you have to order drinks at the bar, towards the front of the restaurant. OK, ordering at the counter, I get that. Having to get all drinks at another place, I don’t.

I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, with onion rings. The tea that I got was decent. The onions rings were wonderful! I loved those. Perfectly cooked, with a tasty breading that was flaky and thin, like I like. Good stuff. The cheeseburger was cooked medium well like I like. The beef had decent flavor, a nice crisp outside texture. The bacon was really good.

So in the inevitable comparison between Dinker’s and Stella’s, I give the edge to Stella’s. Their burgers are much more flavorful.

My check was right about $10. The place is cash only. My usual comment: cash only, huh? Do you not want customers?

I would go back to Dinker’s if someone else suggested it.

Jake n Joe’s Sports Grill, Norwood, MA

21 March 2012

Jake n Joes on Urbanspoon

We got into the Boston area late last night, and Clark and I were hungry. We stopped at Jake n Joes since it was across the street from the hotel we were staying at. We got there about 2150; the grill was closing at 2200, so we ordered quickly.

I got a BBQ burger, which is a half pound of beef that has pretty darn good flavor. It has some BBQ sauce on it, some sauteed onions (that are fairly thick, and needed to be cooked longer), and bacon. I added onion rings. The burger was pretty darn good; very messy. The rings were OK at best. The iced tea was OK, it tasted like a concentrate. Service was OK. My check was $16 and some change. It was OK. I might even go back one day.

Smashburger, Oklahoma City, OK

6 March 2012

Smashburger (Memorial) on Urbanspoon

About three weeks ago, I saw that Smashburger had opened up in north OKC. Later that evening, Raegan and I were out by ourselves (cool in itself), and given that I had enjoyed a Smashburger in Bellevue, NE some months ago.

We got there around 1915; there was a line to the door. That line never got any shorter while we were there, but it did back out the door a couple times.

Raegan got a mushroom swiss with a root beer float, and I got large BBQ bacon cheddar burger with a vanilla shake and fries. All of this was excellent. The burgers were highly flavorable, not too greasy, and the bacon on mine was nicely crunchy. I really liked the vanilla shake, it was just the right thickness (and it was a huge amount).

I’d eat at a Smashburger anytime. Our check for two was $25.84. Expensive, but worth it.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Edmond, OK

6 March 2012

Freddy's Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon

We tried Freddy’s shortly after they opened a couple years ago. I think I liked it, but we never managed to go back. Last Saturday, Ian and I were on a mission to buy some stuff, it was near dinner, so we stopped and checked Freddy’s out again.

It was good! I got a double cheeseburger with bacon (they are smallish pattys), mayo and lettuce, with onion rings and iced tea (brewed fresh and very good). Ian got a single cheeseburger with k****** only (BORING!). The beef was excellent, with great flavor and lots of texture. It was cooked to the point of just a bit of juice oozing out, but not enough to saturate the bun. Excellent cheeseburger. The fries were thin sliced and just the right amount of crunchy. The onion rings were bland; I didn’t eat all of them.

All that being said, Ian mentioned something during the meal that rang very true: the Freddy’s meal was a clone of a Steak and Shake meal! Buns and patties were the same size, the beef was cooked the same way, and the fries were the same as Freddy’s. Hmmm….

We got there around 1820 and left around 1900. It was uncrowded. Our check for two was $15.39. A bit more expensive than Steak and Shake, but very good. If there were a Steak and Shake next door to a Freddy’s, I would probably choose the S&S just based on cost. Otherwise, I’d have no problems going back to Freddy’s.

Stella’s, Bellevue, NE

16 February 2012

Stella's Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Stella’s is a Bellevue institution. I first ate here probably ten years ago, when Stella’s was in a building that could be charitablly described as a dump. It got rebuilt a couple years ago, and enlarged a bit in the process, but the burgers are the same – excellent.

I went to Stella’s today with three other guys. We got there around noon and the place was packed (we got the last table), and when we left at 1300 the place was still packed, with a couple people waiting for a table.

I got a double cheeseburger. The thing is proably more than 2/3 lbs of meat. Very good meat. The burger has some of the best flavor to be found in a restaurant. There is a little bit of black pepper cooked in to the meat. The bread is a good, fairly dense and tasty in its own right. The burgers are served on a napkin. I got mine with mayo and pickles. That cheeseburger was a 10!

I got onion rings with the burger. They were excellent. The onion was cooked all the way through and was sweet. The breading was just the right thickness and adhered well to the onion. Great stuff. I got iced tea as usual, it was perfect.

My check was $13.38. Great price for a great meal. Stella’s is a keeper for anyone who visits Bellevue.

Malt Shoppe, Pagosa Springs, CO

30 November 2011

Malt Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Ian and Erin had a hankering for cheeseburgers last Saturday as we were leaving Pagosa.

The kids and I got cheeseburgers and shakes. Raegan got a fried fish sandwich. None of the sandwiches were any good. The burgers were tasteless. The fish was overcooked and had no flavor. The shakes were OK. The Coke was OK. The tea was concentrate and not good.

There were a lot of local people in there, so there must be something good there. We just didn’t have any of it.

Our check was $38.45. Not recommended.

If you want a good cheeseburger in Pagosa, hit Junction.

Urban Eatz, Richardson, TX

22 July 2011

Urban Eatz on Urbanspoon

I had noticed this place across the street from another restaurant last week, or the week before. I checked it out this evening as it is very close to my work location.

I got there around 1920 and left around 1820. The iced tea was serve yourself and very good. I am sipping a refill I brought back to the hotel, and it’s still very good.

The menu is a variety of stuff, sandwiches hot and cold, salads, pizza, burgers. I got a BBQ Burger, which is a 1/3lb beef burger. The beef is EXCELLENT. Great flavor. The burger came with cheese, BBQ sauce, bacon (very crispy and tasty), some fried onion, lettuce, and tomato. It was huge. The bun was wheat, which I liked. I added some mayo and it was pretty much perfect. There were fries also, rough cut.

My check was $11.43. Just a touch more than McDonalds, but far tastier than your typical McD. I saw a pizza there that looked pretty good, I will go back and try one of those later.

Twisted Root Burger Company, Richardson, TX

14 July 2011

Twisted Root Burger Company on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here today with a couple friends. The place was crowded and noisy at 1230; we had about a 10-min wait to give our order.

I got a burger with cheese and bacon, a vanilla milkshake, and an iced tea. The burger was excellent, great flavor, cooked a perfect medium well. The shake was very good, cold and just the right consistency. The iced tea was OK.

We left around 1330. Good cheeseburger! Great recommendation from Clark.

Fatburger, Elkridge, MD

14 January 2011

Fatburger (Elkridge) on Urbanspoon

I like cheeseburgers! A lot. I have heard that Fatburger is good, and at dinner last night, noticed that there was a Fatburger in the same area, so four of us went there for lunch today.

We got there around 1210 and left at 1250. I checked out the menu and ordered a King Fatburger, which is a half pounder. I got it with cheese, mayo, and lettuce, and the combo came with fries (you can get thick or thin; I got thin) and a drink. Cost was about $9 (I left the receipt behind).

It wasn’t the best burger I’ve had, but it was pretty darn good! The meat was cooked perfectly, and had a nice crust on it. It looks like the patties are made right there are are not chunked out by machine. The meat had decent beef flavor, but one thing I noticed was that it didn’t have as much flavor as some (like In-And-Out).

They had Gold Coast tea, but it was not very good. The Coke was OK. I’d eat here again.

Jack In The Box, Midwest City, OK

28 October 2010

Jack in the Box on Urbanspoon

This is a real time post!

I have eaten a lot of Jack in the Box over the years, mainly in Texas.

A month or so ago one opened in Midwest City, and I decided to try it for lunch.

I got an Ultimate Cheeseburger with bacon. I am not really impressed. The burger come with meat and cheese and bacon, and mayo and mustard and catsup (Ian would be appalled!). The meat is mushy and does not have a lot of flavor. The dressings compete for flavor and mask the meat somewhat.

The fries are OK, they don’t really taste like potato.

The iced tea is Gold Coast, and claims to be brewed. It might be, but it has an odd taste.

My check was $7.31. I would come back if someone suggested it, but I’m not going to be doing that.

I think that the standards for this chain have dropped, a lot. They used to make a great cheeseburger.

In-N-Out Burgers, Or Really, Cheeseburgers

26 October 2010

I love cheeseburgers. A good cheeseburger is a meal unto itself. I like them to have thick meat and thin buns, and I don’t like a lot of veggies piled up. The meat needs to be juicy without being greasy or dripping. It needs to be medium well, and it needs to have a nice crust from being grilled. You don’t usually get a good cheeseburger from one of the flat stainless steel cooking surfaces (I think they have to be turned up pretty high). I like a bit of mayo or mustard on my burgers; ketchup just does not cut it (which attitude drives my son nuts, since ketchup is what makes his life worth living sometimes… 🙂 ). I like some dill pickles every once in a while. Lettuce is good, too. I like the shredded type best. I half pounder is best. The beef you use also has a lot to do with it.

The Sonic chain used to have very good burgers, but over the past three or so years, the quality has dropped off. As an example, the location that used to be at Kelley and 63rd in OKC used to make outstanding burgers. The location moved to MLK just south of the big theater there, but the quality of the burgers dropped significantly, to the point I will not eat there any more.

Braums used to have uniformly very good burgers, but many locations are not very good any more. There is one on 71st and Elm in Broken Arrow that is outstanding. The 63rd and Bryant location in OKC is also very good, as is the location at May and 61st.

The Ron’s chainlet in OKC is also excellent.

I do not usually consider the big chains. I won’t usually eat at a McDonalds anymore except when I need a quick breakfast. There are some decent ones. The over-I-44 location near Vinita, OK is excellent. BK is terrible uniformly. The Five Guys chainlet is excellent.

All that being said, I have heard that In-N-Out is simply the best burgers around. My very cute but not fully cheeseburger appreciating roommate says that we ate at an In-N-Out sometime in the past couple years, but I can’t remember where. So this evening, I decided that since I was not terribly hungry, I would try one. I chose the location at I-5 and Damon Avenue in Pacific Beach, CA (a suburb of San Diego) simply because it was the closest location to my hotel in La Jolla.

I got there around 1820, and the place was hopping! There were lots of people going through the drive-through, and standing in the parking lot, and sitting at the tables outside. The inside was about 70% full. I ordered a Double-Double (double meat and double cheese, reported on the web to be four ounces, or a quarter-pound). The burger came with “spread”, which was a variety of Thousand Island dressing. I was asked if I wanted onions, I said no, but there were also tomatoes, pickles, and a leaf of lettuce.

The burger and bun and veggies were pretty darn good. The meat had a good crust, and was very juicy without being greasy. It seemed small, if it was a quarter pound, it must have cooked down a LOT.

The fries were good, crispy and light. The tea was fresh brewed, but tasted a bit funny. I don’t know what brand of iced tea they brew from, but it had an odd taste. There is also a self-serve soda.

I left around 1910. My check was $6.69. The burger? It was pretty darn good. I would choose it over any of the other burger chains like BK, or even Sonic. It was pretty darn close to Five Guys, and pretty darn close to Ron’s. The price was pretty good, too.

I’m looking forward to my next one!

Scotty P’s, Plano, TX

14 October 2010

Scotty P's Hamburgers (Plano) on Urbanspoon

We had Scotty P’s recommended to us as an excellent cheeseburger place, so three of us went there after work this evening. We went to the location on Parker.

I got a Harrington (apparently, the different locations name certain burgers differently, probably reflecting local flavor). The Harrington is a cheeseburger, with mayo, lettuce and tomato. It’s a third pound. I got a double meat, so it was a 2/3 pound, which was frankly too much cheeseburger; the burger was not overflowing with beef flavor. The burger was a bit too dry, being cooked more well done instead of the default medium well. It came as a platter, with some OK fries.

You can ask to have the cheese pre-melted here for the burger. Interesting concept.

The iced tea was OK, and serve yourself. My buddy Ron bought dinner before I could, but my meal was about $10. I would eat here again, but I would ask them to be sure not to overcook the burger.

Relish Burger Bar, El Dorado Hills, CA

25 August 2010

Relish Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

We broke for lunch after a morning of meetings at a nearby business, and were looking for a fairly quick meal, so I remembered Relish from driving past it a bunch of times. A group of six of us ate here 18 Aug.

The main inside part of the restaurant was fairly crowded, so we were seated around a table that had a couple big market umbrellas over it. The temperature was not too hot, and there was a bit of breeze, so it was comfortable.

I got the Angus 1/2 lb burger, medium well, with American cheese. The burger came with a horseradish-based sauce (that the server volunteered came on the burger, but I got it on the side), I tasted it and it was, well, horrible, but I am not a fan of horseradish. The burger came with lettuce and pickles and stuff on the side. I gave the tomatoes away and put the rest of the stuff on the burger. The burger was OK. The beef did not have much taste to it, good or bad. The bun was good, for white bread. The meal came with fries that were not very good. I saw some onion rings (on the way OUT…) that looked very good, and will get those next time, if there is one.

I got iced tea, and it was a little weak. It was also not easy to keep filled up.

We got there about 1230 and left about 1320. My check was $11.59. I don’t know that it was worth it.

Red Robin, OKC

8 August 2009

The family ate at the Red Robin in north OKC. I am not a huge fan of Red Robin. The cheeseburgers are kind of mushy, I guess is the best word. I think that a well-cooked burger has a good dark brown on the outside, and while it won’t crunch when bitten into, it will have texture to it. I don’t find that at Red Robin; the meat seems to fall apart. I also don’t find a lot of beef flavor, which makes me wonder if the meat is “stretched” with filler.

Ian likes the cheeseburgers. Raegan got a club sandwich, and liked it. Erin got the mac and cheese, and ate all of it – it was very cheesy.

I got a Caesar Salad with grilled chicken. It didn’t have much chicken. It also came dry – I had asked for extra dressing on the side, and ALL the dressing came on the side (it’s very difficult to toss a salad that’s on a plate). Once I got it tossed, it was decent tasting.

The tea was good, although not as strong as it could be. Service was a bit slow but not too bad.

One thing we really liked was the onion rings. We got a small order. We really like the dual-dips there, ranch and a mix of BBQ and mayo (really good). The rings didn’t have too much breading, and the onion was well cooked and sweet, really good.

We think that the prices at Red Robin have gone up significantly. The check for the four of us was $50. Given that two of us got sandwiches, one got a bowl of M&C, one got a dinner salad, and a small appetizer, that really seems pretty high.