About a month ago, we heard from a friend that a new burger place had opened up in town. Being a big fan of a good burger, we ventured out one cold evening to give the place a try. First off, finding the place was a bit of an adventure in itself. Big Daddy John’s isn’t in a typical location where you’d expect to find a burger joint – in fact, it’s almost impossible to find. Buried between a home brewery supply shop and an office, BDJ’s didn’t exactly stand out.
The bad part, once you actually go inside, it didn’t get much better. The strange room that houses BDJ’s is more fitting for a wedding reception hall than a greasy burger house, but who am I to judge. Walking in, I got the feeling it was a sit down restaurant, until I saw the hand written “order here” sign above the counter. We were then greeted with a paper menu that highlighted a few burger options, a few main dishes and a few other eating options.
Let’s just get this out of the way right here, I love the people at BDJ’s. I love the food at BDJ’s. I don’t like the fact that while my family was trying to enjoy a nice dinner out, we had to put up with an episode of CHiPs, playing on a 20 foot projector on to the wall right in front of us. I think that’s where my issue is with BDJ’s. The food is pretty good, though at $15 a plate, some may question the value, but the atmosphere just kills it quickly.
From the nice tables with centerpieces worthy of much higher class foods, we move directly to the plastic wrapped to-go plastic utensils sitting in front of the patrons. The self-serve drink options are also a bit weird as the 6 ounce plastic water cups barely hold enough for a real drink. The canned soda also doesn’t quite fit the room as well as a nice pint glass filled with ice and soda would either. Overall, it’s just a bit of a mess of good food and weird locale.
That said, the actual food is good. I had the amazing Blue Cheese Burger (just add the bacon and don’t argue) and waffle fries on the first visit. For our second go round, I jumped on the Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich and the waffle fries again. The first meal was about the most perfect thing I had ever had. Burger was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of tangy blue cheese and the fries were crisped to being spot on.
The second visit didn’t go quite so well. We were brought a sampler plate with a few appetizers to much on while we waited for our entrees. The bummer deal was the onion rings were overly crisped to the point of being inedible and the waffle fries were soggy to the point of feeling undercooked. The Mac N Cheese bites that were in the tray were very good, but that was the highlight of the appetizer plate. Of course, it was free, so the only thing they made sure of was that after two not so impressive onion rings they won’t be finding their way back to our plates.
The lowlight of the night for me had to be the sandwich. After the raging success of the Blue Cheese Burger the first time through, I was pretty disappointed in the soggy-fied experience of the Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich. It wasn’t that it was a terrible taste, in fact the flavor was pretty spot on, but it was just too soggy and had no crisp.
Big Daddy John’s will certainly remain on the radar for quite some time as the people more than make up for the atmosphere, but they need to make the food worthy of the price if they are going to hang around as a long term dinner hotspot for us. Otherwise, we will just go for the burgers once in a while and continue to visit our regular hangouts instead.