Saturday, August 04, 2007

hamburger, ketchup

I hate big menus. They make me a little nervous, a little sweaty. How can I possibly make a choice among so many options. Not to mention that usually the bigger the menu, the worse the food. When I get a big menu, I usually try to get someone else at the table to make a decision for me. In college, my roommates and I had plans for a restaurant called "Just Spaghetti" that served well, just spaghetti. No garlic bread, no salad, no nothin. Of course, we weren't very good at keeping to our vision. Every time we ate something we really liked, we'd amend: "well, just spaghetti and cheesecake. . ."

On our recent visit to Coeur D'Alene, Will told me about Hudson's, a local joint that only sells hamburgers. No french fries. Just burgers (ok, they also have pie and you can get a ham and cheese sandwich--although in two visits I never saw anyone order this). You get a choice between regular or cheese and you can have the burger topped with pickles or onions. For dressing, there are bottles of ketchup, spicy ketchup, or spicy mustard on the counter.

This is the kind of place I like. No choices, no fretting, no disappointment. There is one cook, standing at the grill with a pan of ground beef on the left, buns layed out in front, a whole onion and pickle on the right. Shape the patties, throw them on the grill. Slice onion and pickle. Throw it all together. Things move pretty fast. The place is rather like that old SNL skit, "Hamburger, ketchup. Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, ketchup."

This is a good burger. No frills. No options. Total Satisfaction.

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Blogger Lisa B. said...

At the SNL restaurant you could get chips, though. I feel a burger needs fries. Otherwise, I heartily endorse your concept. A series of restaurants that specialize in, and deliver perfectly, the one thing, with its perfect accompaniment, whatever that might be-- in the case of the burger, fries.

6:55 AM  
Blogger lis said...

I usually think that burgers need fries, but these really didn't. Eating them, I think I finally understood Wimpy's constant pleas: "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." Now I'm confident that some burgers might just be worth taking out a loan.

7:14 PM  
Blogger climbWill said...


The no fries thing is surprising at first, but the burgers are good on their own and Hudson's regulars wear it with a badge of pride. It separates the locals from the tourists, which their are many of in Coeur D'Alene in the summer: A family of tourists walk in with that blank, sensory-overload look on their faces, and call out their orders from the counter.
"Two burgers and two orders of fries please."
"No fries."
"What do you mean no fries?" Brow crumpled, concerned, maybe offended look.
"We don't make fries here." She says sort of nicely, like she's said it a million times and no longer takes observable pleasure in it.
"Oh....... (pause)..... Uh, I'll have a...."
The regulars at the counter kind of snicker to themselves a bit.

8:33 PM  

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