Monday, February 28, 2011

Belly up for Burgers

  Welcome to the premier edition of The Mouthful, a forum dedicated to the wonderful world of food and beverage. As editor-in-chief of this new blog, I want to make sure I am discussing issues that are of interest to both restaurant owners and their customers.  My hope is that with  better information and better communication, we can help elevate the quality of the foodservice experience for everyone. Satisfied customers mean return business and good word of mouth. Unhappy customers buy more negative publicity than you would expect. With venues like Yelp!, a bad review can be posted easily and have severe consequences. Now for the good news.

  In an effort that reflects the economic realities of the times, many restaurants have started offering cheap burger nights to draw people in. Many offer $1 burgers, usually on a Monday or Tuesday night when  things are slow. Some have always had cheap burger night, others are testing the waters to see if it's worth it. A lot of places charge $2 or even $3, depending on where you are and how upscale it is. Cheese and toppings go for 50 cents a pop, and you can come away with a fully loaded burger for less than four bucks. Add fries and you're right around $5.00 for a kick-ass pub burger. Less than a combo with tax at any of the fast food joints, and a whole lot better quality. Not to mention a vastly improved atmosphere. Sure, you need to figure in a tip for the bartender or server, but I think it's well worth the extra few bucks when you tally it all up.

  The thing about cheap burger night that you have to watch out for is the beer. You can quickly run up a nice tab if you're not careful. Still, a cold beer washes down the salty fries nicely, and $1 taps are often run together on the same night to sweeten the deal. Most of the establishments that promote buck burger nights are pubs and grills, not so much the family restaurants. Kids are always welcome though, and often you will see the whole family out on a Monday to take advantage of the deal. So here's how it shakes out: On average, most decent bar burgers are regularly about seven or eight bucks, so you can save at least $5 a head by making it out on a Monday night. Not bad, especially if you've got three kids. And if you don't have kids, it's a great cheap date destination or just a place to hang out and watch some sports.

Now that we've covered the what, let's get to the where. Here are some of my favorites, along with the details of their cheap burger night.

Dick's Roadhouse,702N. River Rd.,Mt. Prospect,IL 60056 847-298-7200
Set across the street from the banks of the mighty Des Plaines, Dick's River Roadhouse is the kind of place that makes you feel like you're in Wisconsin, or somewhere up north. There's stuffed game on the walls, Big Ten banners, lots of old signs, and all sorts of other shtick. Monday nights they feature $3 half-pounders, make it a deluxe with cheese and fries for a buck more.  Large and loud, this place really packs em' in so don't be surprised to see a full parking lot when you show up.l 

Bar Louie, 200 E. Rand Rd., Mt. Prospect, IL  60056   847-394-3456
Bar Louie, already well-known throughout the city for good burgers and a hip atmosphere makes another foray into the suburbs with its recent opening of their Mt. Prospect location near Randhurst Mall. I couldn't be happier. I've been a long time fan of Bar Louie ever since they opened their first Chicago location near the Chicago/Franklin L stop. Since then, they've become a national success with a great menu and great service, but somehow have managed to maintain the personal touch. Tuesday's are the night you want to be there, $1 burgers from 5 to close.

Moretti's, 1799 S. Busse Rd., Mt. Prospect, IL 60056   847-593-2200
Known for good pizza and good atmosphere, Moretti's has been around awhile and they are one of the more consistent local chains that always seem to turn out a quality product. Formerly Famous Freddie's, the newly remodeled Moretti's at the corner of Algonquin and Busse roads is spacious and accommodating, with an extensive menu including a Thursday night burger special for three dollars. Add cheese and fries for an extra buck. 

As you've probably noticed, all the places I mentioned are of the suburban variety. Heading into the city? Then one place you need to check out for sure is Moody's Pub in Edgewater, just a few blocks south of the Loyola Campus on Broadway.

Moody's Pub,5910 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660  773- 275-2696
Dark, woody, and with lots of character, Moody's has been a Chicago tradition since 1959. With an atmosphere that says "pub" from the minute you walk in, the smell of grilled burgers and french fries taunts you immediately. And even with a full pub style menu, the burgers are what people come here for. A half-pound of awesome char grilled beef with a load of those fresh cut fries that I love. Served up simply in a basket with lettuce, raw onion, and a pickle. It's eight bucks with cheese; no cheap burger night. You can, however, print up a coupon for half off your second burger on their website.   

So now that I've had my two cents worth, it's time for you to belly up to the blog and tell us all about your favorite burger bars. And don't be shy! It's just a blog. A place where we can all get together and talk about  things that really matter, like where to eat.

Yours truly,
Big Mouth

MS. Bu


$1.75 Miller Lite & Coors Light Drafts