Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Burger at Cheeburger Cheeburger of Oaks

I stopped by Cheeburger Cheeburger in Oaks on Friday, the fifth day the restaurant was open for business. (note: one or more animals were killed to complete this review)

Since my last post about Cheeburger Cheeburger, I ran into a few people anxiously awaiting the restaurant to open. On Thursday I spoke at length with one of these zealots. A man I have been acquainted with for six years on a professional level. I respect his opinion when it comes to house renovations. So after hearing his flowery rant about Cheeburger Cheeburger I began to waver on the prejudgements I made about the restaurant being pricey compared to Max & Erma's.

He told me he has been traveling 25 miles round trip from West Norriton to Cheeburger Cheeburger in Frazer, PA on US 30, the Old Lincoln Highway. With him traveling that distance for a hamburger, I figured the burger must be good. Or maybe it was the fries, onion rings or milk shakes. Then again, it just might be the atmosphere. A 50s diner kind of vibe- hard chairs, formica counter and tabletops, quilted stainless steel, neon lights and chewing gum popping smart mouthed waitress with stiff starched blouses, pleated skirts and tiara type head-wear might be what draws him as a porch light draws moths. The only way for me to tell was to visit the Cheeburger Cheeburger in Oaks, PA.

The very next day at noon, I stood before Cheeburger Cheeburger ready to try their burger and fries. It was already fifteen minutes into the lunch hour. The restaurant was only about 2/3 full. Upon entering, I was immediately greeted, asked if I was eating in or getting food to go. I was shown to a table for four by a waitress that wasn't chewing gum nor was smart mouthed. Not one server was wearing a highly starched blouse or skirt, either. They were all dressed in slacks and black T-shirts with STAFF spelled out across their backs in large letters. The decor was stylized 50s but the staff was styleless teens.

Ordering a platter would be the best way to sample a burger and fries and compare it to a platter at M&E's. I noticed on the menu that the Angus Burger Platter included a "Fresh, Never Frozen 10oz. patty." A 10oz. patty is way too much for me to eat. Darn, I eat a Whopper, Jr. at Burger King along with fries and a drink and I am filled. Besides, I usually order a 6oz. burger at M&E's. So, I asked the person who seemed to be the host, if I could substitute a The Classic Burger, 5.5oz. pre-cooked weight, for the 10oz. patty. The answer I received was that I could, but, there would be a $4.00 up charge. I was incredulous! I gave him another chance to redeem himself and reworded the question, "You mean that if I get a smaller burger on the platter, it will cost me more money?" This time I received a positive response. I took that to mean it would cost me more to purchase less. Still not believing there would be an up charge, I figured I would ask the waitress when she arrived to take our orders.

My friends ordered before me - fried pickles, The Serious Burger, tap water, The Classic Burger and lemonade. When the waitress looked to me for my order, I began with my question about substituting a The Classic Burger for the 10oz patty. She, too, was incredulous about the up charge and said she would look into it after I completed my order. So I ordered a Angus Burger Platter with a The Classic Burger, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and srirachi sauce. Then, being difficult on purpose, I asked who would  decide how much srirachi sauce would be placed on my burger? How would they know in the kitchen how much I preferred on my burger. The waitress then asked if I wanted the sauce on the side. I told her that would be just fine if she would do that for me. I then chose french fries and cole slaw for my sides and a cup of coffee. Off she went to place the orders. She returned almost immediately with an answer that there would be no up charge for less meat. I was liking the place, again.

The drinks arrived quickly. The cold drinks were iced and in mason-like jars with threaded lips. My coffee was delivered hot in a white ceramic mug. 

While we waited for the food, the three of us looked around the place. There were two bulletin boards hanging on the wall. Each of the BBs had photographs pinned to them. One BB was for children who had eaten a 1/2lb. burger. The other for adults who have eaten a one pound burger. CC was only open four days and already there were two children's and fifteen adult photographs on the BBs. I think they might soon need larger boards.

There were no children in CC when we were there. After all it was a school day. There were two obvious groups of diners at lunch hour that Friday. In one group consisted of people in their thirties and probably at lunch from their workplaces. In the other group was made up of women over 50 and there were at least three of them to a table. 

It wasn't long before the food arrived with the fried pickles showing up before the main courses. We all sampled them. My friend thought the batter too thick and held onto an excessive amount of oil. I thought they tasted OK. Tangy and crisp and I agreed the batter was thick and oily. The sauce, Tangy Horseradish, had a vinegar taste but not much, if any, hint of horseradish. There was more of a french dressing taste than anything.

The main coursed arrives several minutes later. My platter had most of the sides and sauces in black plastic soufflĂ© cups- cole slaw, srirachi sauce and an unexpected chili/chunky chili sauce with the french fries on the plate. It didn't look like a large quantity of fries but I shared some with my fellow diners and along with the burger, cole slaw and chili and two mugs of coffee, I was full when I left the table.

As for taste, the burger was good, cooked to my specification. The fries were crisp on the outside and done on the inside. The cole slaw was dry and bland. The chili was darn near cold, tepid at best and tasted canned. The coffee was OK, drinkable. Overall, my platter was OK, not great. In no way did it rise to the level the CC zealot described on Thursday.

As soon as the main courses arrived I requested the checks be totaled individually. The server told me that would not be a problem. We did wait what seemed like a long time before they arrived. Upon their arrival I studied my check. There wasn't much time needed to figure out how the pricing of the platter worked.

The platter was the price of a burger plus $4.99. You can see The Classic Burger is priced at $5.99 then add the $4.99 up charge to bring it up to a platter price. What the host told me was almost correct, but I think he was a little confused. So my total for a 6oz. burger including cheddar cheese, mayo, sriricha, french fries, cole slaw and chili sauce and a bottomless mug of coffee was $13.17 plus PA state sales tax for a grand total of $13.96.

I will readily admit the staff was green and needed to mature. So, before I decide whether a burger platter is not as good a deal as M&E's, I will give CC a bit of time to work out the kinks and return at a later date for another taste.

In the meantime, there are other bars, taverns and restaurants in and around Oaks, Norristown, Phoenixville and King of Prussia that I just might be stopping into for a taste.

I was not offered nor did I receive any food or compensation during or after this visit.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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