Friday, March 9, 2012
Burger 'N Que
A hearty thanks goes out to Friend of the Blog (and fellow foodie) Karen V. for cluing me in to a local burger joint that's been long overdue for a visit. If you're driving up Wolf Road in the far reaches of Orland Park, you'll notice a gas station on the left right after you pass the light at Southwest Highway. Sharing the lot with the gas station is a small, relatively nondescript building that looks as if it could have been a convenience store at one point. The tiny diner located within, Burger 'N Que is one of those places that, as a local, I've passed a hundred times without ever really noticing that it's there (let alone stopped in). It surely would have remained that way if not for the effusive praise Karen gave it on Facebook one evening - something about jalapeno bottle caps particularly caught my attention and I made a mental note to add it to the ever-growing hit list.
I picked a Thursday morning before the lunch rush not long ago as the best time to try it out, with Hackknifette accompanying me for moral support (she was hoping to get some lemonade out of the deal). The lot in front of the restaurant was full (even at 11:30), so we parked in the muddy, unpaved area off to the side and sauntered in. I was immediately struck by how little space there was inside, with room only for a counter, kitchen, restrooms, and a couple of booths/tables. A few people were milling about waiting for their orders to arrive; otherwise, I'd describe the vibe as sedate, with the decor consisting of signed photos from local celebrities (such as Hungry Hound Steve Dolinsky), a 50s-era auto racing design scheme, and a tv blaring Jerry Springer in the corner. Clearly, there wasn't much to focus on than the cuisine, which is fine in my book when the food is good like it was here. Hackknifette opted for the kid's cheeseburger with fries (and, yes, she got her lemonade) while I tried 1/2 lb. Bernie burger (see photo above), served with grilled onions, American cheese, a house sauce eerily similar to thousand island dressing, all on a crusty French roll (fries came with my order as well - I was hoping to get the black and tan onion rings I saw on the webpage menu; alas, they're not listed at the restaurant). My burger was great, juicy and a little sloppy in the way I like my short-order burgers to be. The roll was a bit toothsome and the fries were just ok, but the house gets extra points for having Barq's Red Cream Soda available (a favorite of mine from college that I don't often see anymore). I'd have to give a slight edge to Top Notch Beefburger in Beverly with respect to my ultimate South Side burger; however, the offering at Burger 'N Que was more than adequate and a much closer trip from the Commissary. I'm sure we'll be making a return visit to sample the pit bbq brisket and also to get some of those mysterious jalapeno bottle caps...