TheQuick: American Burger Emporium

Weeks upon months I passed by this place bearing a word on it's larger than life sign, that to my eyes was rarely seen outside of a history channel program. Even though I consider myself a burger lover, I kept my distance from this American Burger Emporium. Inevitably though, I would come face to face with this boastful restaurant simply to see if it was even worthy to have burger in it's name. You see I was raised in a far away land riddled with burger places. A place where if they put burger in their name, you best believe their burgers will be not only delicious, but so damn good you'll be making noises like the ones folks make during relations. On the left coast, I was raised on Tom's Burgers, In-N-Out Burger, Mr. Pete's Patio, Frisco's, and Lucky Boy's burgers to name a few. Now that I find myself far from the coast I scrutinize and pick over every burger I taste. I have made adjustments to these times where burgers come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. I'll never shy away from a burger that has an egg, pastrami, pork, peanut butter on it, or cheese shoved all up in it. Enough about me and my pretentious retoric about my burger tastes (my current fav is at the Blue Door Pub pictured right down there) let's get back to this American Burger Exploratorium, or how about we just call it ABE

This quaint establishment is neatly nestled in an area strewn with eateries and shops which is just one of many such central spots in town that back in my day would probably be considered downtown. Alas what do I know, this town has about five or so such clusters of eateries and shops as it tries to sell itself as a fast paced, upscale town. It's got a fancy area called the Woodbury Lakes, which has a pond there or something. The ghetto area, with a Walmart and some other shops. Then you got the City Walk, which is a hybrid of tenements and shops that compell you to pass by daily to see if they're still in business. At any rate you get the point, the town has four Subway sammy shops, and at least two of everything else. This particular burger emperor is located in what I call the middle class area, but sadly the restaurant seemed about as confused as the town is when it comes to it's identity. It looked like a diner inside, but they had all the sports bar amenities, minus the space. Call me a simpleton but I do get a little shocked when I stroll into a burger joint and see shakes on the menu and bottles of wine behind the cash register. So it's up to you if you want a shake with your burger or a nice chablis, to each their own. If you're having trouble deciding, you can always take a seat and partake of the free complimentary popcorn. Hmm, I wonder if I can get a Wine or beer flight to go with my popcorn.

As one would no doubtedly expect from a place called the emporium the specialty burgers are named after random American icons, which you can get with various side items. Yes they have tots, and they're crispy, and delicious. For the more restrained or health conscious consumer you can have your burger patty substituted for some ahi tuna, bison, chicken, turkey, or southwest veggie. The menu is easy to follow and what's nice is that they stick to burgers, well mostly. For the kids they do offer the typical kid food fare like a five dollar grilled cheese, or five dollar grilled PB and J. So plan on five bucks for kid's sized items and ten bucks for pretty much any burger. If you're QR code or Foursquare savvy then that will help you out with some specials and help you avoid asking the cashier if they have a lay away plan. Pictured below is the George Washington, a double angus burger with a side of tots. It was a decent enough burger, but on my scale of measurement it's about the same as something you'd get at Culvers. Now that's not a bad thing, but it doesn't break into my list top 5 burgers in the midwest. I did see the menu make mention of them having the best chili in the town, which really isn't saying much, but I'm gonna roll back in and give it a try when I build my savings back up. Whether this place has earned the right to have burger in it's name is on you, I'll cut to the quick and let you make the call. 

 

The Good

  • They have tots, chili, and jalapeno bacon. I call that the healthy choice trio.
  • It had a nice quiet atmosphere with courteous staff.
  • It was good to see an establishment leveraging social networking applications.
  • They apparently serve breakfast, so if they have burgers at 6am I'm sold. 

 

The Bad

  • The prices seem a little high, especially when there's a Dairy Queen right across the street and with a nicer looking patio. 
  • If it's a bar, be a bar. If you're gonna have wine, have something to go with it. If you're a diner, be a diner. Fusion doesn't work for everything.
  • My specialty burger was supposed to have this signature ABE mayo, yet I saw none. 

The WTF

  • Sweet potato fries.
  • I'm not homophobic but I do make a face when asked, "How do you want your George Washington cooked?" 
  • Or when I say, "Can I get some extra cheese on my General Patton?"
  • When you go here, the atmosphere is blank. 

 

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