Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meatheads


I have cravings, I admit it. We all do. Some are not so good for us but we indulge them anyway. I'm not talking about anything licentious, nasty or evil, I am talking about food cravings. Cravings like Chocolate-Peanut Butter ice cream, for instance, or Movie-Theater Popcorn, or a Snickers Bar, or Poore Brothers Potato Chips, or a Chili-Cheese Dog from the hot dog cart on the SE corner of E. Roeser Road and 37th Street in Phoenix, AZ. Those kind of cravings.
Now and then I crave a good old greasy hamburger. Not one of those "mass-produced frozen-meat origin, you can get it anywhere from a national chain" burgers; I mean a nice greasy burger hand pressed one at a time by someone who can really appreciate the savory flavor of a "cooked-just-right with fresh ingredients" burger.
Used to be, if you wanted an awesome tasting, unique, gut-busting greasy hamburg you had to go to a bar to get it. For some reason, hamburgers from bars seem to be "just right" in the greasy category, and in my experience, quite savory!. While I don't make it a habit to frequent bars because it is about as far away from being "my thing" as you can possibly get, I have been known to occasionally brave an environment I find loathsome in order to score one of their tasty burgers (preferably take-out!). Now I don't have to any more! (YEAH!)
Introducing a splendid new eatery called "Meatheads". Started in Bloomington-Normal and expanded to Naperville, this wonderful purveyor of meaty delights is now my favorite food joint. Having only eaten there once (today) I have not had the chance to explore all their carnivore-satiating deliciousness, but I certainly plan to! The first thing that struck me upon entering is the friendly greeting I received from Karla, the gal who took my order. She and her counter-tending associate (I am sad to say I have forgotten her name - but if you see this post, Karla, tell me and I will edit it or post an addendum!) seemed genuinely happy to be there and seemed to consider it their personal mission to render absolutely fantastic service with a smile and not be content until I was smiling too. The next thing I noticed was their uncomplicated, straightforward menu, a sheer delight for someone like me, who labors over choices ("paper or plastic" can result in a deer-in-the-headlights look from me). The oh-so-familiar "I should have ordered what you are having" will never pass my lips at Meatheads because it's all good. I am certain of it!
I ordered the "PHILLY", a delightful double-burger cheeseburger with Grilled Onions, Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Sauteed Mushrooms, American Cheese and Mayonnaise on a generous-sized white bun. I accompanied my selection with their Cajun Fries and a Diet Coke. My son, Dan, ordered the Meathead with Grilled Onions, Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Sauteed Mushrooms, Cheddar Cheese and 1000 Islands Dressing. He had the same side as I did and I don't remember his drink choice. OK, don't order the large size fries unless you are seriously hungry or have someone to share them with - the serving is HUGE. We had a coupon for a free fries, so once it was all said and done we paid only $ 17.50 including tax.
Once we ordered, we proceeded to the soft drink self-serve station (I LOVE self-serve beverages!) and got the "spillable", as they call it, of our choice and went to the table with our red and white number card, so they could get our meal accurately to us and not some other patron. Served in those cute little plastic webbed baskets with a wax paper sheet in the bottom of them, the burger and fries were delivered to our table fast and hot by one of their courteous staff. I could tell the minute I laid eyes on it, I was in for a real treat!
The meat was cooked to perfection, not too rare, not to well-done - just right - with a little crispiness around the edges and dripping with all the natural juices one would expect from a hand-pressed gourmet burger. The toppings were likewise perfect in quality and quantity, and the fries - while they could stand to be just a bit spicier - were delicious.
The seating was comfortable and not too crowded-together. If they packed the place out I would still feel like I could have a quasi-private conversation in there without hearing comments from adjacent tables or bumping elbows or knees with them. Witty and ingenious art adorns the walls along with the clever wordplay motto "Where people come to meat". I cannot really comment on the artificial lighting because we came at lunch time, though I plan to visit them again in the evening because greasy-burger cravings can come at any time, and now that I have a great place to go to satisfy them, you know the cravings will increase in frequency! Ample window seating, along with tables without a view were balanced and proportionate to the space. I would describe the decor as being reminiscent of another favorite restaurant, "Noodles & Company". The open-to-the ceiling beams design being the most prominent similarity, with painted and color-matched mechanicals and electricals above head. I don't remember if there was music playing or not, but if there was it was not obnoxiously loud. I am frankly surprised that I did not notice that, being a musician and all, but I was probably intoxicated by the delicious food and distracted by the witty conversation with my son. I did not check out the restrooms and I do not know if Meatheads offers free wi-fi or not, though I am sure I will find these things out on subsequent visits.
Suffice it to say that if you are in Bloomington, IL and are craving a wonderfully delicious greasy burger in a trendy environment, Meatheads is the place for you!
For a limited time only they are having a "2 fer 2uesdays" sale - buy one hot dog and get one free - so my other weakness (Chili-Cheese Dogs) once only able to be satiated by a visit to 37th Street & Roeser in Phoenix or a one-hour drive to Peoria or Springfield IL Sonic Drive-In, will soon find its expression at Meatheads, I'm sure. More on that later!
Please let me know if you try Meatheads and agree with me or think I am crazy!