Would you trust the nerdy guy in the neon logo to deliver on his promise? Definitely, when the dweeb in question works for Burger Jones. The short-order, limited-menu patty palace is the newest dining divinity to spring from the godhead of Parasole, the hospitality group that has brought us Figlio, Chino Latino, Manny’s, Salut — and the list goes on.
Riding the range: For the opening shakedown, Parasole’s top corporate chefs are manning the griddle to ensure that plans on paper translate accurately and speedily to what’s on your plate.
The look: Rather than opt for a retro theme to emulate Porky’s, which once occupied this prime real estate in Calhoun Village, the group’s astute designers have gone all modern on us. They have created a clean, contempo — dare we say upscale — look to the digs. There’s terrace seating, too. But, as usual, they can’t resist a dining pun or two: Burgers are delivered on a cookie tray and fries in an old-time bread tin.
Order up: The basic burger, hand-pattied from a custom blend of hangar steak, Kobe and chuck beef, is — sacrilege! — in a manly show of force, pressed down onto the hot griddle. It comes with a huge (but untoasted, for shame) house-made sesame bun along with lettuce and tomato. Trade up to a bacon cheeseburger with a choice of cheese from “free: government issue” to three bucks for the likes of gruyere and Amablu.
Add on: Fries are extra, but only a fool would pass them up. Best option: the Tri-Tasting Trio of hand-cut russets, maple-bacon sweet potato, and Parmesan-coated waffle fries, with choice of three dipping sauces, including a suave béarnaise, frisky chipotle-aioli and creamy, pungent blue cheese.
Hydrate: The list of alcoholic options is long and easy on the pocketbook, including micro-brews on draft, shakes laced with the likes of Maker’s Mark and Stoli, and a habit-forming gin martini spiked with cucumber vodka, served with its shaker. Wines, too, if you must, and refreshing, booze-free sippers like the bracing spiced-ginger brew.
Share the table: Anything and anyone goes: Take granddad and nana, the tots (kids’ menu too), a date, the bowling league.
Demographics: Cadres of baby boomers stood fuming on the sidewalk during the 90-minute wait (no reservations) on a recent weekend, while young couples simply headed to nearby Barnes & Noble to while away the time. Lots of all-girl and all-guy parties, too.
Expense account: Burgers run from $7 to $10, with choice of add-ons from $1 to $3 and starters, huge enough to substitute for loaves and fishes, from $3 to $9. Beers $4 to $6. Happy hour specials, natch.
3200 W. Lake St.