A few months ago I was asked to write a restaurant review for my company's quarterly newspaper. I was so excited to actually write something that I knew people would read. (I really never know how many people actually read this thing). So I used my review of The Giant Grinder as a stepping stone, and then tweaked it. The feedback I received was fabulous, and I even got a few of my co-worker so try it out! I felt like it was a job well done.
So this quarter I have reviewed local burger places. I know this won't be very interesting for those of you who do not live on the central cost, but at least it will give you something to read if you are really board.
Are you ever jonesing for a juicy, meaty burger at lunch time and don’t know where to go? Thanks to a suggestion from Mr. Rebhan it was my goal over the past quarter to help those of you who are hamburger challenged. I decided to only taste burgers only in San Luis so that way you all could take advantage of them during our lunch breaks.
Like I mentioned before, I’m a pretty picky eater, and that goes for my burgers a well. I’m a ketchup only kind of gal, so these reviews will be strongly focused on bun and meat quality.
Restaurant: The Graduate, 990 Industrial Way, SLO
Ordered: Junior Grad ¼ lb., and the Gradburger ½ lb.
The first time I went to The Grad I got their ¼ lb. burger. Overall I really liked it, but my only complaint was that it needed more meat. So for the next Monthly Mingle I decided to get the ½ lb. burger and I was not disappointed! There was enough meat where I could see and taste the juice. I could definitely tell that the meat was fresh, and their buns are homemade. (I know they don’t look homemade, but they taste better than they look.) Overall it was a decent non-frozen burger.
Restaurant: Madonna Inn Café, 100 Madonna Rd., SLO
Now I know what you are thinking…and I thought the same thing too. How could a café have a good burger? Do they even know what a BBQ is? Going off of Samantha’s recommendation I went and got their regular burger and was pleasantly surprised! The meat was really tender, juicy, and I could taste some spices. The buns are also homemade which was a nice addition. I even shocked myself by giving the Madonna Inn Café one of the highest ratings during this taste test. I will never doubt a café burger again.
Restaurant: Caruso’s Deli, 3536 S Higuera Street #206, SLO
I decided to review Caruso’s burger because it is the closet burger place to our office, and I know some of you often need to grab a quick bite to eat after spending day in and day out in the Avila boardroom. I will admit that I was not that excited for this burger tasting. I had one of their burgers a year ago, and never wanted to go back after that. However this time I went in with an open mind and tried my best to forget about my awful meat experience. Let me just say that I should have stuck with my instincts. Their burger is one of the worst burgers I’ve ever had. You can tell that the patty was frozen, (probably from a big bag from Costco), and the bun was totally generic as well. It actually had an odd flavor that I couldn’t put my finger on. I think I could taste the grease that it was cooked in. I’m praying that it was the grease, and that they aren’t importing their meat from out of the country! The meat portion so small that the bun is bigger, and it’s crusty. I don’t want to totally demean the place, so I will add that their fries were really good. Just like Firestone’s but without the seasonings.
Restaurant: Firestone Grill, 1001 Higuera St., SLO
Speaking of one of the best BBQ places in SLO, I hit up Firestone next knowing that they have won numerous ‘Best Burger’ awards. After 13 years I had never passed up their tri-tip sandwich for a burger, but the time had come. Overall I felt it wasn’t anything special. Just an average burger similar to The Grad burger. However I don’t think their buns are homemade and it wasn’t even toasted. Who wants to eat a burger on a cold bun? The meat was average on the juice scale, and I could taste some seasonings. Overall it doesn’t even come close to their tri-tip. Do yourself a favor and stick with the tip.
Restaurant: Cool Cat Café, 3165 Broad St # 102, SLO
Ordered: The Fonz burger
I’ll admit that before this burger quest, Cool Cat’s was my top choice in town, and they did not disappoint. Their burgers are extremely juicy and flavorful. I get the whole-wheat bun there and they are always fresh and toasted. The portion of meat is very generous, and I can’t help but feel like I am eating something fresh vs. frozen.
Restaurant: F. McLintocks at Farmer’s Market (restaurant location, 686 Higuera Street, SLO)
Ordered: ½ lb. hamburger
My disclaimer for this rating was that I did get the burger at Farmer’s, but I doubt if you ordered it from the restaurant it would be that different. With that being said, I was completely blown away at how good the burger was! I did not think that a street vendor burger could be as good as a burger made in a legit kitchen. Boy was I wrong! The meat was so tender that I barley had to bit into it before it broke away, and the flavor and juiciness were all top notch. The bun was also nice and warm and the ratio of bun to meat was pretty even. Every week I see the line of people waiting to order, and every week I never want to stand it. I will say that it moved quickly, and was totally worth it.
Until next time, eat, sleep, work hard, and then eat some more!