I love burgers. Let me repeat that for emphasis: I love burgers. Cheeseburgers, specifically, in all shapes and sizes, plain or loaded up with toppings. I have a bit of a problem. When I was around 10 years old, there was a 10- or 12-month stretch where the only thing I’d order at a restaurant […]
I love burgers. Let me repeat that for emphasis: I love burgers. Cheeseburgers, specifically, in all shapes and sizes, plain or loaded up with toppings. I have a bit of a problem.
When I was around 10 years old, there was a 10- or 12-month stretch where the only thing I’d order at a restaurant was a cheeseburger. I even went so far as to order a cheeseburger at a Chinese restaurant once (that would have been the time to put your foot down, mom).
Looking back today, I can’t imagine what that burger was made out of – do Chinese restaurants even keep ground beef in stock? I know they don’t have anything remotely resembling cheese – and, frankly, I don’t want to know. But I do remember enjoying it such as it was. That is until my mom realized I had been quietly nibbling around the outer edge of the still-raw-in-the-center patty. I wasn’t about to let a little E. coli stand in the way of my burger and me.
Although I’ve relented as I’ve grown – in the name of good health and a more varied palette – I would still choose a cheeseburger as my last meal. And with that, I ventured to Mazos Hamburgers (3146 S. 27th St.).
Walking into Mazos feels like walking back in time. Or into your grandma’s house, if your grandma had a thing for Dean Martin, Johnny Carson and Nat King Cole (And let’s be honest, she probably did.). Framed oil paintings of those legendary men and others adorn the walls, interspersed with vintage advertisements for long-defunct automobile companies such as Desoto, Studebaker and Nash. A white, L-shaped counter is flanked by 10 high-polished wooden tables. There is even a little one-topper in the corner for those who aren’t too proud to eat alone. For a diner that’s been around since 1934 and three generations deep, you definitely get a sense of that history. It’s friendly and welcoming (even if our waitress was less than).
When it comes to the food, they keep things simple. You can get your standard burger with American or Swiss and fried or raw onions. Pickles come standard on the side. That’s it. But these aren’t your standard diner burgers. The patty was moist and thick (I’d guess at least one-third of a pound) and the bun fluffy and lightly glazed, with nary a sesame seed in sight. To top it all off, you get your choice of two (two!) sides. The fries are standard crinkle-cut (not particularly crispy), and the coleslaw was pretty much what you’d expect. You can also get a cup of soup, baked beans, apple sauce, American fries or cottage cheese. Our table all agreed that two sides is definitely overkill.
It should be pointed out that these are butter burgers. The amount of butter falls somewhere between the gluttonous monstrosity that is Solly’s and the barely detectable-ness of Culver’s. The wonderfully amazing1 Cristina Daglas did complain of an odd taste to her burger, which I attribute to an excess of butter – there was substantial pooling on her plate, which is never appetizing. But she did order hers without cheese, so let that be a lesson to her.
And we can’t forget the shakes, which can be had in chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, pineapple (ew) or vanilla. They come in a frosted canister (always a nice touch) and go down easy (a little too easy, if you ask Cristina, who sucked hers down in a matter of minutes). Not that I’m one to talk. Even though I wanted to die afterward, I ate every bite of my burger and nearly every drop of my chocolate malt (totaling a scant $9.87). And that’s as good an endorsement as you can get.
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1I think it might have been a conflict of interest for Cristina to have edited this column.