Since I frequently write about restaurants during travel, it’s hard to ignore something new locally.
I’m cutting this one some slack – once – though. A new burger joint where I live has only been open a couple of weeks. In a town of 16,000, a new restaurant is a big deal. Most of what we have is the usual chains with just a few originals. So news of a burger place on an island theme sounded intriguing.
As perhaps a disclaimer, I grew up in the fast food business. My parents owned a small burger joint. My travels have taken me to all sorts of restaurants around the country and world. It’s pretty much a given that a new place is going to struggle unless you really open with a killer concept, killer kitchen, and a wait staff really trained well and ready to pounce.
I talked to two different people who beat me to the new spot and both were negative. One had nothing good to say at all and the other was a bit more reserved. But both said the burgers were rather small.
So I reviewed the menu of the different type burgers and ordered a basic burger with the trimmings and hand cut fries. The fries were wonderful, crispy, delicious – and plentiful!
That menu said all burgers were 1/4 pound. Well, the thin beef on my bun would have made Ronald McDonald blush. (Home of the original quarter pounder – get it?)
I decided after paying the bill I would tell the wait person the burger and fries were good but someone had warned me the pattie was small. She was a bit embarrassed and admitted other customers had said the same.
I grew up in the burger business. I cook. Heck, I even weigh meat at home when dieting to measure portions. The burger I had – and the one my dinner companion had was not a 1/4-pound of beef – not pre-cooked, not in wildest little burger dreams.
Do you want to fail? You can advertise one thing and deliver something far less. The 7.99 I paid for the burger would have been quite fair for what the menu said I was getting.
The wait staff was excellent – no complaints, despite what I had heard prior. A strategic error on the bar’s part is not serving draft beer. In a college town, college students want draft. The selection is good with plenty of small craft beers and fairly priced for a bottle at $4.
The wine selection was embarrassingly bad. Wait, bad just isn’t good enough – let’s make it awful, regrettable, silly, and dumb. They offered Indiana Oliver’s cheapest wines and Barefoot. That was it. That distributor must be chuckling somewhere.
Also, there were no prices on the entire drinks menu. Seriously? This ain’t no expensive joint that can say “If you have to ask you can’t afford it!”
I’ll return in another 30-60 days to see if they’ve listened to their customers. And either way – I’ll name the place. Locals have already figured it out!
The decor is cheesy island stuff but not so over the top it will spoil a good 1/4-pound burger, beer and fries. Now, they just have to start servicing one!