The orange and white color scheme of the underground mod paradise known as Blanc Burger creates a welcoming atmosphere that was swiftly undermined by the expensive pricing and unappetizing burgers.
I entered the establishment and picked my poison (the only burger not made with buffalo meat or stuffed with something unappetizing, such as couscous and portabello mushrooms).
The Barnyard Burger I tried not only looked like a heart-attack on a bun but was also soaking with grease. This ‘burger’ consisted of a thick, tasteless patty, a layer of ham and a greasy fried egg. The overpowering flavor of ham disguised any trace of hamburger meat and the dripping wet and greasy bottom bun crumbled when I took the first bite. While I had no interest in taking another bite, I felt compelled to try the burger without the fried egg and ham to see how the patty was by itself. The burger was almost worse without the toppings.
It was dry, bland and overcooked.
Luckily I had a coupon and only paid about $10 for what they considered a $30 meal.
While Blanc Burger may be a pleasing sight, the main attraction of the restaurant only left me with a stomach ache and what could have easily been a hole in my wallet.
As I left the restaurant I found myself longingly looking at NoodIes and Co. and knowing that the next time I’m on the Plaza I will stay far away from Blanc Burger.
“Local, Organic, Sustainable” — these three words jump out at me from the front window, as they’re far too rare in our money-driven society and often give way to words like “cheap, greasy and hormone-injected.” Once I entered the family-owned, family-run business I was pleased to see how packed the little place was.
The kitchen is visible behind the bar and sacks of potatoes are propped against a counter, waiting to be turned into the Shack’s hand-cut fries.
A small chalkboard hung on the wall is their makeshift menu and lists the modestly priced, home-cooked burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, onion rings and fries. I finally make my way to the front of the line and place an order for a ‘single burger basket’ and milkshake with a side of the onion rings that all the other patrons seem to be buzzing over. Forty-five minutes later and my name was called to get my ‘basket.’ As I sat down and looked at my burger I hoped it was worth the wait.
With my first bite into the burger I frowned. I had high hopes for this little place but the initial bite was tasteless, bland and, above all else, dry. My next few bites were dry until I reached the middle of the burger, which was juicy but only with the help of pickles and lettuce. It seemed all the toppings were placed smack-dab in the middle which proved for a tasty two bites and then back to the desert-dry patty.
As much as I wanted this mom-and-pop business to succeed I have a hard time imagining myself saying, “Let’s go to Shake Shack for dinner.”
Max’s Burgers and Gyros
Squeezed into the parking lot of a neon orange Big Lots and a bright yellow dry cleaners, Max’s Burgers and Gyros is easy to miss.
I ordered the classic Max’s Burger with a side of fries and was quickly served by Max himself. The bun was warm and fluffy and topped with sesame seeds. The size of the single Max Burger was almost as big as my face and I can’t imagine how big the double and triples were. The patty had a backyard-barbecue taste and was cooked thoroughly while still retaining the juiciness of a well made burger. The flavor popped in my mouth and then melded with the toppings, giving it an extra punch that was different with every bite. While it was in need of ketchup the burger overall tasted home-made yet yummy.
The burger and the diner were simplistic yet still warm and comforting making Max’s Burgers and Gyros a classic burger joint complete with Coca-Cola signs and linoleum checkerboard floors.