South St. Burger Co.
South St. Burger Co. is a chain restaurant, part of the mighty NY Fries Empire. Burgers… and fries? It's so crazy it just might work!
I head off to meet my wife Emma and her co-worker Stacie and Stacie's husband Rob. While I wait for the bus I estimate there are 375 dandelions in the yard across from the bus stop. Now there's a productive use of my time!
The bus drops me off in front of a big-box strip mall that reminds me a lot of Dallas, right down to the stucco archways. Is this a sign? Does the Dallas-style burger of my dreams lie in wait for me just on the other side of that stucco arch? Only one way to find out!
I step into South St. Burger Co. (which smells amazing-- like burgers. Go figure!) and scan the crowds for my wife. She's not here yet but this joint is jumpin': packed with parents and kids and what looks like two different birthday parties-- or maybe those kids are just really into balloons. Little kids are swarming everywhere, zipping around like neutrinos while harried Moms try to corral them back to their tables. I decide to wait for Em and Stacie and Rob outside.
I grab a wrought-iron seat at an outdoor table and try to block out the music oozing from the speakers. Soft Rock? Adult Contemporary? Lite Jazz? Whatever it is, it's terrible. As Todd Flanders said on The Simpsons, "Ow! My Freaking Ears!"
I watch other folks walk outside with their burgers . The smell of meat and ketchup wafts past my nose and I realize that I am freakin' HUNGRY. The burgers are served wrapped in wax paper on round metal trays. The burgers are BIG. That's a good sign-- or is it? Only if the burgers are any good. It's like that old joke: "The food here is terrible!" "I know-- and such small portions!"
The music shifts to Paul Simon. Adult Contemporary. Where is my wife? I think I got here crazy early. My stomach rumbles. There’s a sign on the door that says ‘Burgers Made Well.’ I like it. Not too braggy. None of the usual “WORLD”S BEST BURGER!!!!” bragging. Still, if the crowds piling into this place are any indication, the burgers here must be pretty tasty.
My wife arrives! We go inside and grab a table. A sticker on the door tells us this restaurant is powered by Green Energy. A paper placemat tells us the beef, buns, potatoes, chicken, cheeses and ice cream are all purchased locally. Em buys us a pre-dinner treat: a strawberry milkshake. It's amazing.
Stacie and Rob join us and Stacie insists on paying for all of us. Well, if you insist… There are tons of toppings to choose from but I stay on the Burger Straight & Narrow: pickles, onions, yellow mustard. I unwrap my burger and take a bite.
The First Bite: It tastes homemade! Straight from the backyard grill. It’s damn tasty. The onion rings are strangly “mealy.” They’re crunchy, but with an odd texture. Onion Rings? What was I thinking? This place is owned by NY Fries!
We eat and talk and get to know each other and then eat some more. I am amazed and impressed that the burgers are so tasty and the toppings so fantastically fresh. Before we leave Em and I split another strawberry shake. It might’ve been overkill but it was so, so good. As Bender said in Futurama, “Goodbye, Moderation!”