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Happ Inn Bar and Grill Review, Northfield, IL

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Happ Inn Bar and Grill ReviewThe dictionary defines “hospitality” as “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.” Restaurants are certainly part of the hospitality segment of business, yet many fail to remember putting the word into practice.

Not so at the Happ Inn, a casual but remarkable eatery in the northern Chicago suburb of Northfield, IL. From the moment of our arrival, being seated by the hostess, and waited on by Ossie, we felt like GUESTS, not customers, and that’s one of the keys to a successful restaurant operation.

The bar and grill is in the final days of an interior renovation project, and they’ve created a warm and relaxing  atmosphere, based on a soft palette of colors and subdued lighting. It’s inviting, comfortable,  quiet enough to conduct business, woo a first date, or celebrate a special occasion. You’ll want to linger.

The lengthy menu includes cuisine influenced by  a number of cultures with a range of choices in the starters, sharables, soups, salads, entrees, sandwiches and burgers, and some decadent desserts.

The dinner menu expands on the numerous choices available for lunch, and there are additional brunch offerings on Saturdays and Sundays. Each day of the week features special ‘off the menu’ food and drink offerings.

Happ Inn Bar and Grill Review

Shrimp Ceviche

We started with the Ceviche, chock-a-block full of good-sized and flavorful shrimp, I was pleased they employed the traditional recipe with a tomato broth, avocado and pico de gallo accompanied by fresh, warm tortilla chips.

The Chicken Cobb Salad was an overly-generous serving, with two kinds of greens, chicken, bacon, egg, tomatoes, avocado and Thousand Island dressing – the Cobb is on the restaurant’s specialty menu, and it deserves a place there.

Being as it is National Burger month, Chef has concocted a special burger for each week of the month. I opted for the Sunrise Burger, which was topped with cheddar, bacon, a sunny side up egg with a splash of Tabasco. Hot, crispy, gently seasoned shoestring fries come as the side.

If you’re a regular reader, you know when it comes to burgers, it’s my habit to dissemble them to eat in pieces, and more particularly, to be able to taste the beef patty separately, since it’s the essence of the sandwich.

Happ Inn Bar and Grill Review

Chicken Cobb

I wasn’t disappointed. The 1/2 pound USDA prime patty had great flavor and texture.

The brioche bun was bakery soft but substantial enough to support any topping choices you might want to personally add.

The sunnyside egg was cooked perfectly, and the splash of Tabasco was an interesting choice by the chef. Great bacon, too, smoky and thick sliced.  Quality ingredients are evident in every dish.

I’m not usually a dessert orderer, but Ossie the server painted a very compelling picture of the choices, and I succumbed, ordering the “Happ-y Bites,” a generous sampling of three different desserts including carrot cake, New York style cheesecake, and a double chocolate brownie. Each ‘bite’ was accompanied by its own delicious sauce swirl.  They were all great, but the brownie was my favorite.

Finally, while most restaurants don’t boast about their coffee, the Happ Inn sure can. I’m a big, big coffee drinker, and my post meal coffee was the best restaurant cup I’ve had in years. Seriously.

The Happ Inn is located just off the Edens at the Willow Road exit, and opens seven days at 11A.

I’ve run a lot of companies during my career, and I believe a company can have a soul, a spirit, a tone that starts with the CEO or GM and it’s contagious. Whereever you find a great staff, you’ll find a great GM, and the Happ Inn is no exception, with TJ Bachmeyer at the helm.

The restaurant has  private party rooms, and does catering on and off site. Contact jdandrea@thehappinn.com for catering or event inquiries.

The different menus are online. Hit this place. You’ll become a regular.  I know I’ll be back!

Happ Inn Bar and Grill Review

Sunrise Burger w/ fries

 

Happ Inn Bar and Grill Review

Happ-y Bites Dessert

 
The Happ Inn Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Happ Inn Bar and Grill Review

Happ Inn Bar and Grill Review

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Taqueria Las Cumbres Review, Crystal Lake, IL

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Taqueria Las Cumbres ReviewI rarely go out for Mexican food in the US for the same reason I rarely seek out Chinese cuisine.

Pretty sure I’ll be disappointed by either, as having lived and traveled so extensively, just have become a fan of the “Americanized” version of these two foods.

But once and awhile, you run into a mom and pop, hole in the wall, mini-eatery where you can enjoy the most authentic dishes (as well as the aforementioned Americanized ones), and Taqueria Las Cumbres in Crystal Lake, is one such experience.

This is a very small restaurant (in terms of seating) but also seems to do a very brisk take-out business.  It’s parked next to a Mexican style bakery on one of the main streets of downtown Crystal Lake, IL, a fairly white distant suburb of Chicago. Latino population has been growing over the last decade, and is currently estimated at about 12 % so there’s a market for “authentic.”

I was really happy with my meal, even tho is was a gringo-centric burrito. It was/they are huge tho, and I could only finish half of it at the restaurant.

I also enjoyed Mexican style corn-on-the cob, which is lathered with a mayo-cheese-chili pepper mix.

Complimentary chips and salsa for starters, and I’m confident both are made in house.

Tasty. Great value. Authentic dishes.  Taqueria Las Cumbres

The menu is reproduced below, and is also online.

Taqueria Las Cumbres Review

Taqueria Las Cumbres Review

Taqueria Las Cumbres Review

Taqueria Las Cumbres Review

Taqueria Las Cumbres Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Taqueria Las Cumbres Review

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Usingers Linguica Sausage Review

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Usingers Linguica Sausage Review

Usingers Linguica Sausage ReviewLinguica (ling gweeza) (also called “Portuguese Sausage) is a slightly spicy pork sausage in a natural casing, which has traditionally been featured in cultures that speak Portuguese.

Its popularity has been expanding, and it’s widely available in Hawaii and California. It’s even on the menu at McDonalds in Hawaii.

I first experienced it in Cali years and years ago and really liked it, so now when I see it offered I generally get it.

I’ve had it on pizza in Oregon, and for breakfast at the Black Bear chain and a local legend in Petaluma, CA. You’ll frequently find it at those AYCE Brazilian steakhouses.

Iconic Milwaukee sausage purveyor, Usingers, has their own version, and it’s all pork, seasonings, in a hog casing. Very few of those long word Usingers Linguica Sausage Reviewingredients that you have no idea what they are, anyway. I often buy Usingers. I am very fond of their NC hot dogs. Quality. You can have their products shipped. They have nice holiday gifts too.

So I had high expectations for the linguica, and I wasn’t disappointed them. They are a little hefty to be served on a regular hot dog bun, but I gave it the old college try, anyway, with yellow mustard only. They would be fantastic on the grill.

The sausage is smoked, garlic and paprika, a coarser grind than you usually see in mass market appeal meats, the flavor was great, as was the heartiness of the casing.

I’ll keep some on hand. They’d be a nice change at breakfast.

Usingers Linguica Sausage Review

Usingers Linguica Sausage Review
(Wisconsin Factory)

 

 

 

Usingers Linguica Sausage Review

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Marie Callenders Biscuit Mix Review

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Spoiler alert. I could give a shit about biscuits. One of my biggest fears is seeing them included with a menu item and the words “no substitutions” appear right beside that notation.

I’d rather have toast. Under any circumstances.

But you know, people come to be fed a lot around here and on occasion, they cry out for biscuits. I think I’ve made them once from scratch and they were a marked improvement over any package mixes I have tried.

Which brings me to today’s breakfast: Marie Callender’s Cheese Biscuit Mix along side “Sav-A-Lot” brand Sausage Gravy. I have no idea who either of these items found their way into my pantry. As I said, I wouldn’t normally purchase biscuit mix, and there isn’t a Sav-A-Lot anywhere near me.

Dollar store mystery, perhaps.

I’ve been in a Marie Callender’s once, and it was somewhere in Oregon, I was on a long drive and had to pee. Big endorsement, eh? I bought a pie tho, seems like it was close to some holiday and seems the chain was taking full advantage, cause as I recall, that pie was north of $25.

I got this at a dollar store or Big Lots, in either case it was a buck. Checked Amazon out of curiosity and they list the same package from $3.75 to $6.25. Wow.

Direction are to add ½ stick melted butter and a 1/3 cup of water, mix, and drop into FIVE pieces on a cookie sheet. FIVE? Who sells anything that makes a quantity of FIVE?

Baked them for the suggested time. Open oven, they are not “golden brown” after the suggested time, so I kept adding two minute periods. Quite a few of them.

Since I’ve never had these at the restaurant, I don’t know how the home version compares. Since I’ve already told you biscuits mean nothing to me, I’d put these at about #300 on my list. Pick them up and they crumble in your hand. I suppose some people like biscuits like that. Some people like them flaky. Some people prefer hockey puck style.

I guess they’d be OK to pour gravy over, which was originally my intent. The “cheese” flavor is barely noticeable. The predominant taste is flour, IMO.

No, I won’t buy them again. Can’t really suggest you buy them.

They’re made by ConAgra in Trenton, Missouri in a factory (pictured below) slated for closing this year. ConAgra is big in the fast growing heat and eat complete meal segment, as well as licensing restaurant brands. After a zillion years being headquartered in Omaha, ConAgra packed up their execs and moved HQ to Chicago this year. BTW? Trenton claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of vienna sausages. In case you were wondering what 20170514_052037town deserved that title.

I had a mind to make biscuits and gravy. Canned gravy from Sav-A-Lot, have no idea how that got in the pantry, there isn’t a store anywhere near me. It actually looked pretty good, as did the ingredients. Lots of sausage.

But the biscuits put me off the project.

No, I won’t buy them again. Can’t really suggest you buy them.

Biscuit Ingredients: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Niacin, Iron, Thiamin, Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Cheddar Cheese Bits [Corn Syrup, Flour (Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Corn Cereal, Cheese Powder (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Cream, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Annatto (Color). Lactic Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed And/Or Soybean), Natural And Artificial Flavor, Salt, Turmeric And Annatto Extracts], Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor.

Marie Callenders Biscuit Mix Review

Pre baking

Marie Callenders Biscuit Mix Review

After baking

Marie Callenders Biscuit Mix Review

ConAgra Plant, Trenton MO

 

 

Marie Callenders Biscuit Mix Review

Marie Callenders Biscuit Mix Review

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Broadbent Hams Review – Legendary Kentucky Producer

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Broadbent Ham ReviewI love ham. Good ham. Not that chopped, pressed and formed in a slurry, pushed thru a mold deli slices like at Subway or grocery deli counters.

No, honest to goodness hog muscle, carefully cured and aged. I’ve driven the backroads of Kentucky, Virginia and other states in search of small producers.

I’ve had the pleasure of consuming ‘melt in your mouth’ jamon serrano at the Museum of Ham in Madrid. Same with Italian prosciutto.

And now I’ve found an American producer I can really get behind, Kentucky’s Broadbent Foods.

They’ve had it figured out for over 100 years, so much so they are constantly winning state and national competitions.

Available in “country” or “city” styles (the latter being a milder cure), you can purchase Broadbent hams in nearly any type of configuration you choose: whole, half, sliced, cooked, bone-in, boneless, uncooked, steaks, biscuit slices, seasoning bits and ground.

They also produce some mighty fine bacon and smoked sausages.

I loved their country ham, purchased slices and steaks. The cure provides for a stronger hog taste (I personally think meat should taste like the animals it comes from, especially beef and pork), and great texture. The biscuit slices are uncooked, so you can saute them in a fry pan with a little water added if you’re going for red eye gravy.

And why not?

Purchase Broadbent products online.

Broadbent Hams Review

 

Broadbent Hams Review

 

 

Broadbent Hams Review

Broadbent Hams Review

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Rics Dog Gone Good Food Review –

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Rics Dog Gone Good Food ReviewI’m on a roll, lately I’ve hit quite a number of places that have exceeded my expectations, and there’s nothing wrong with that, at all!

Yesterday was no exception, when I was out in the NW Chicago burbs surveying changes that have occurred since we first moved to the idyllic town of Barrington in 1987. And the answer is LOTS. Like most everywhere in America these days, urban sprawl and strip malls have replaced farm fields.

But hey, that’s ok, one of those strip malls has given birth to “Ric’s Dog Gone Good Food.”

“Ric’s” is run by Howard, an outgoing, affable gent who greets customers the second they pull on the door handle. He’s as engaging as the lengthy menu. He did not explain who “Ric” is, but then I didn’t ask.

Menu selection ranges from Chicago style hot dogs via local legendary  quality supplier Vienna Beef, to chopped steak burgers, deli sandwiches, wraps, salads, and plated entrees.  Greek foods comes from another quality local supplier, Kronos.

Burgers start out with 1/3 pound hand-formed patty (diminutive size also available), and I went with one of Ric’s ‘specialty burgers’ – the Greek, where the beef patty is topped with feta and chopped Kalamata olives. Going all out into the Greek arena, I asked if I could please have some tzatziki on the side. Tzatziki is a Greek inspired sauce (or dip) made from yogurt, cucumbers, dill and garlic.

I had a mind to smear it on the burger, which I did, but discovered it’s an excellent alternative to Ranch as a fry dipping sauce.

On the subject of fries? Ric’s gives you five choices. Fresh cut, crinkles, seasoned curlys, cottage, and cheddar. Rings, battered ‘shrooms and cauliflower round the the fried sides menu. He also offers ‘skins and bakers.

I went with the fresh cut, which were an absolute joy, seriously, but I’ll have to go back to try the rings and cottage fries. Based on my first visit, well worth the trip. The fresh cut fries were piping hot, fried perfectly, lightly salted.

I have a habit of disassembling my burgers at the start, checking them out. It’s also important to me to taste the patty, unadulterated, as quality, flavorful beef has to be at the heart of every great burger.

I have to pause here, and say, in all seriousness, I’ve had burgers in probably 50 countries, for which I have spent anywhere from fifty cents to fifty dollars, and this is one of the finest patties I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Great beefy flavor. A great grind providing great texture in the bite experience. Lightly seasoned to complement the true beef taste.

(Don’t you hate biting into a fast food burger and realizing it could just as easily be called “fried protein puck”). Meats should taste like the animal they come from, and Ric’s fits the bill.

Toppings were top quality, both the creamy feta and the Greek olives. The bun was bakery soft, yet sturdy enough to hold any toppings you are to pile on your burger.

The restaurant and washrooms were sparkling. Beverage choices include fountain, cans, bottles, brewed ice tea and shakes.

The Google tells me the restaurant is 14.8 miles from my door, 27 minutes by car, an hour and a half by bike, or 5 hours walking.

I don’t have a bike. But I’d walk. You should to…or drive. Anyway, go there. Eat. Enjoy the food. Enjoy Howard.

In a city where there are a reported more than 1500 places selling hot dogs and Chicago fare, you sure have to admire the mom and pop outfits that slug it out every day in a crazy, competitive business segment.

They deserve our support.  Here’s the whole menu.

Rics Dog Gone Good Food Review

Greek Burger w/ Fresh Cut fries

 

Rics Dog Gone Good Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Rics Dog Gone Good Food Review

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KFC Georgia and Nashville Chicken Review – Nationwide

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KFC Georgia Gold and Nashville Hot ReviewI’ve always been impressed at the vertical/horizontal menu expansions at Yum Brands restaurants (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC). Yum (formerly Trincon) was born in 1997 as a spin-off from Pepsi, who previously operated these businesses as the Pepsi fast food division.

They’ve flirted with expansion, acquiring and spinning Long John Silvers / A&W, and with start-ups (Super Chix, designed to compete with Chik-Fil-A) (since spun to founder).

But in the end, they are focusing on their core brands and international expansion. (KFC is in 125 countries, Pizza Hut in 100).

My reference in the opening sentence was particularly unique originally to Taco Bell. They take the same basic 6-8 ingredients, present it in different “shapes,” invent a “Mexican-ized” name for it, and push it thru the sales chain. I used to joke that I thought you should be able to order by shape at Taco Bell. “I’ll have the tube,” or “octagon,” or whatever.

Pizza Hut started to catch on with different types of crusts (thickness, flavored-sprayed, stuffed).

But KFC, for the most part, has either not gotten the corporate memo on the concept, or ignored it. Their in-house innovation has largely been limited to “Original,” and “Extra Crispy” but adding tenders, nuggets and sandwiches, but that’s about it.

But now KFC  may have discovered the key to the concept by adding ‘flavored’ chicken, like their current offerings of “Georgia Gold” (a honey-mustard flavored bird) or “Nashville Hot” (a hot sauce/peppery exterior).

I have no direct, inside knowledge, but it appears to me, having ordered both, that the flavorings are added post cooking, sprayed or tossed. I came to this conclusion by observing the pools of flavoring sauce in the bottoms of my serving containers. (I suspect also that’s not standard protocol – see pic below).

The “Georgia Gold” is meant to be KFC’s interpretation of the primary BBQ flavor of the SE United States, which heavily employs a mustard based sauce for BBQing, in lieu of the “red sauce” found in many parts of the US. The “honey” part is KFC’s addition.

The “Nashville Hot” is the company’s interpretation of a dish created in the Tennessee city, and anecdotally dates back to the 1930s, but generally its current popularity is attributed to a local business, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, which put the dish on the menu as early as the 1940’s. The Nashville version involves marinating the chicken first, then once cooked (fried or roasted), the pieces are bathed in a paste heavily laden with cayenne.

Pieces of the bird are served on white bread with dill pickle slices on the side. KFC passed on this part, giving you a choice of their usual sides and tossing in a biscuit. Three tenders, a side, a biscuit, a little north of five bucks.

I enjoyed them both, in the tenders version. The Georgia Gold was a tad to sweet for my taste, and therefore the mustard part isn’t all that evident. I would have preferred the reverse.

The Nashville is “hot” probably one of the hottest fast food offerings, and I’m generally a wimp about heat, but this didn’t bother me. Since both dishes rely on human interaction at the finishing stage, I can see where one limitation might be that some pieces would get either too little or too much of the flavoring (thus the pool of hot sauce in my tray).

But the brilliance of this is allowing KFC to run with the multiple offerings like Taco Bell employs, variations on same ingredients. I can see where KFC might try LTOs with varying flavors (BBQ, ranch, dill, whatever), or at least doing it with an eye (taste bud) towards regional tastes (A “California” style, for example). Siracha and Chipotle can’t be far behind.

I don’t know how long Georgia and Nashville are going to be around, but since they share a label on the packaging, they are likely to both vanish at the same time.

I’d buy them both again, but favor the Nashville. Flavorings are available on full sized chicken pieces, tenders or littles (sandwiches).

As evidence of the company’s international dependency for growth, there are over 5,000 KFC outlets in China, and about 2,000 Pizza Huts. I personally witnessed the openings of both chains there, and the immediate success they had with Chinese consumers.

KFC Georgia Gold and Nashville Hot Review

KFC Georgia Gold and Nashville Hot Review

Top – Gold, Bottom – Nashville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KFC Georgia and Nashville Chicken Review

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Tommys Red Hots Review – Suburban Chicago

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Tommys Red Hots ReviewTommys started in 1980 and has expanded to six stores in the Northern and Northwestern Suburbs of Chicago.  They offer a very lengthy, typical “Chicago menu,” with hot dogs, burgers, Italian beef, fried food and pizza.

I’ve driven by a couple of Tommy’s many times, have never stopped by, because frankly, the exteriors look a little dated, and I was afraid that would be matched inside, both in the decor and kitchen.  And near one of the ones that is close to me, there is a shiny new Chicago type hot dog place, replete with neon, gleaming chrome and so on. Here’s my lesson.  I’ve been in that place, and it was shiny inside, as well, but the food was awful. I mean dreadful.

So I thought I would swing into a Tommys last week, and I was the first customer of the day. Not in the mood for dogs or burgers, I decided to get their “Humungous” Italian Sub, with vinaigrette, salami, mortadella, ham, provolone, and all the trimmings.  Also opted for a side of fries (one size only).

And you know what? It was great. They were great. Both the sandwich and the fries. The sandwich is far and away multiple times better and fresher than any of the chains, great bread, quality meats.  Hot, fresh fries, lightly salted, in size between shoe strings and steak fries, I don’t know what that size is called, but I liked them. A lot. And BTW, the inside was immaculate.

They have a HUGE menu (below). I’ll be back to try a lot more of their offerings.  Locations.

vinaigrette, salami, mortadella, ham, provolone, and all the trimmings

Tommys Red Hots Review

Tommys Red Hots Review

Tommys Red Hots Review

Tommys Red Hots Review

 

Tommys Red Hots Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tommys Red Hots Review

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Giordanos Pizza Review, St. Charles, IL

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<div style="position:relative;height:0;padding-bottom:56.25%"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K-cTzg8DcrY?ecver=2" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" style="position:absolute;width:100%;height:100%;left:0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div>Brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio were born in a small town near Turin, Italy.

The brothers first immigrated to Argentina and subsequently  to the US. Upon arriving in America, Efren began working at a pizzeria in Chicago, but he was not satisfied with the pizzas he tasted and decided to open his own restaurant, Roma.

When Joseph came to Chicago, Efren has stated they decided to open a restaurant using their old family recipes and after experimenting over several months developed the stuffed pizza, finding Giordano’s in 1974.

A couple owners and one bankruptcy later, Giordanos is prospering and on a tear to expand nationwide, and have opened restaurantsGiordanos Pizza Review outside of the Chicago area.

Their specialty is “stuffed pizza” which is a form of deep dish, but unlike most of the chains “deep dish” that focus on way too much dough,  the emphasis here is on quantity of ingredients and the sauce is always on top.

We were at the St. Charles, IL location and served by Ilona. She did a great job, maintained her humor, despite (it seemed to me) having too many tables she was responsible for.

We ordered the large stuffed, sausage only, and it was superb.

The pizzas REALLY DO look like the ones in the TV commercials.  One large pie (served four and their were leftovers, 1 beer, 3 soft drinks, tip,  around
$42.

Locations.  Menu.

Giordano's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Giordanos Pizza Review
Giordanos Pizza Review

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Billy Goat Frozen Burger Review – from Devanco Foods

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Billy Goat Frozen Burger ReviewThe restaurant part of the legend of the Billy Goat Tavern began on Chicago’s South Side in 1934. Greek immigrant William Sianas paid $205 for the Lincoln Tavern.

In 1964, Sianas moved the bar to its current subterranean location, and it’s here, underneath Chicago’s Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue, that the modern part of the legend originated.

The bar was located midway between the Chicago Tribune Tower and the rival Chicago Sun Times building; it became a popular hangout of reporters trying to steal each others scoops (or brag about their own).

1978,the 3rd season of Saturday Night Live, and cast members John Belushi, Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray did a sketch about the fictional “Olympia Cafe” which paid homage to the proprietor and staff of the Billy Goat. At the Olympia there was no food choice other than cheeseburgers and chips, no drinks but Pepsi, and the refrains uttered comedically by Belushi (with a “Greek accent”) were actually heard frequently at the Billy Goat.

Fast forward today the Billy Goat has multiple locations, but the ambiance of the original remains intact. As you walk down the stairs from Michigan Avenue, you might think you’re walking into the river or some dark hell, but at the bottom the welcome neon of the Billy Goat beckons you in.

They have apparently made a licensing deal with Devanco, a Chicago foods company that started in 1993 and was purchased and amped up in 2004. Previously, they sold mostly supplies to Greek restaurants, like gyro meat, pitas, and sauces.Billy Goat Frozen Burger Review

They’ve expanded to the retail arena, and in addition to  Greek offerings like a home Gyro Kit, they manufacture and distribute foods for Mike Ditka’s brand. Their (his) version of Italian beef is superb.

This week (4/24/17) Devanco started selling 2 pound boxes of 100% ground beef patties with Billy Goat’s name on them; there are two versions, 5 patties to a pound, or 3 patties to a pound. The two pound boxes check out at over $12, and that’s a lot.

The patties are made in Devanco’s suburban Chicago plant (pictured below).

I’ve tried quite a few ‘heat and eat’ burgers, and not really been happy with them, and especially those that are restaurant branded like Trader Joe’s, Pasture Perfect Kobe, Fatburger or Steak N Shake.There are both raw products (like Billy Goat’s) and there are some fully cooked patties available as well, like Ball Park brand‘s version. I’ve also tried maybe dozens of microwave, c-store, vending machine burgers, you can find those on the site by searching for “gas station food” or “heat and eat.”

The cooking instructions for the Billy Goat are no different than most frozen patties, skillet, medium heat, 3-4 minutes one side (until the juices start to ooze through), flip, couple more minutes.

I was eager to taste these since they have zero additives.  As in NONE. Some brands of  frozen patties include beef broth, cow heart(!!) and liquid smoke. Here I’m getting cow only.  So what’s the verdict?

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. I am not going to, under any circumstances I can think of, pay  $12 for frozen burger patties. No matter if they were the best burger you ever had, that’s a good 30-40% above their largest competitors.

Second bit of ‘bad news.’ The patties are packaged in 5 packs inside the box. Which means I have to separate, put in a different bag or container and refreeze any that I don’t use at the time. Luckily, the patties are separated by what the industry calls “patty paper,” which makes them easy to separate.

So I removed one and semi-followed the instructions. With a frozen patty at medium heat, I flipped after 3 minutes and went 2 more. I tasted the plain patty first before dressing it and putting it on a Martin’s Potato Roll (not what the Billy Goat uses, tho). Dressed with a half sour dill, raw onion and yellow mustard.

Flavor was very beefy, which is good, seems most frozen patties have some sort of strange “undercurrent” of taste, at least to me, and this one doesn’t. I’m also happy with the texture, which closely resembles the grind you’d find in grocery ground beef.  Some competitors reduce their “beef” and other ingredients to a slurry before sending them to the patty forming machine.

In other words, I’m happy with the product, and it does justice to the burger served in the restaurant. I think they’d be great on a charcoal grill.

I’ll be interested to see how this product does.  You have to be a certain age to get the whole SNL connection, and outside of Chicago, it’s not that the Billy Goat is a global iconic brand name.

I said this post was about one part of the Billy Goat legend. There’s a whole other story there. Think Chicago Cubs.  Here’s the dope if you’re interested.

 

Billy Goat Frozen Burger Review

Frozen Patties

Billy Goat Frozen Burger Review

3 minutes at medium, flipped

Billy Goat Frozen Burger Review

All dressed up, ready to go!

Billy Goat Frozen Burger Review

Box instructions on constructing your burger

Billy Goat Frozen Burgers Review

Devanco’s suburban Chicago plant

Billy Goat Frozen Burger Review

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