Meatheads Burgers & Fries
I was back in my old stomping grounds this past weekend. It was one of those situations that worked out well. A buddy of mine had a job for me on Thursday then, at the last minute, I was offered work on Saturday. The day between the two jobs gave me time to run to my parents house and hang out with my niece who I don’t see nearly enough. She knows my name, but she still runs from me.
Anyway, I was at Illinois State University in Normal on Saturday for a baseball game. We were released for lunch around 10:45. Most of the crew headed to Denny’s or Maid-Rite for breakfast, but I had other plans. There’s a burger joint that launched in Bloomington in 2007 with the intention of going national. I actually remember opening day. Why, you ask? Because I was there.
Meatheads Burgers & Fries is on Veterans Parkway in Bloomington. It’s in an area with an abundance of strip malls packed into any available space. There are probably five buildings all hooked together by a massive parking lot. The thing about Veterans Parkway is that there is no access to any business directly from Veterans. The road is set up so you have to turn on to another street to get in to any parking lot. In order to find Meatheads, you have to drive past it and turn on Washington Street then double back through the parking lots and enter from what you would assume is the back of the building because it’s not the side facing Veterans Pkwy.
The Meatheads store in Bloomington is kind of the concept for the chain. Right now, there are four locations. The other three are in Schaumburg, Naperville, and Northbrook which are all Chicago suburbs. I have no idea why Bloomington was chose as the first, but I’m glad it was. It was only open a few months before I left the area, but I ate there several times before leaving. When I figured out I was going back to the Bloomington/Normal area, there was no doubt that I had to get across town for lunch.
The store is set up sort of like a fast food restaurant. There is an order counter right as you walk in. The kitchen is directly behind that so you can actually see cooks working the grill and fryers. There isn’t a lot of the menu if you’re not a carnivore, but as long as you like burgers, you might think you died and went to heaven.
I went simple with the #1 Combo which is a Meathead with fries and a drink. I got cheddar cheese on my burger and opted for the cajun fries. That combo cost me a little over eight bucks. I was given a laminated piece of paper with a number on it then headed for a table to wait.
A few minutes later, my burger and fries were brought out in a metal tray lined with wax paper and my mouth started watering.
Everything at Meatheads is made fresh. The burgers are 100% Angus ground chuck that are hand formed and never frozen. The fries are fresh cut from potatoes as they are needed. Part of the decor of the space is boxes and boxes of potatoes which will eventually being hand cut, blanched, and fried. There’s actually a 32 step process for creating Meatheads french fries.
The burger was everything I love about a burger. It had a great grill taste yet it was a soft, tender meat. It’s one of those burgers that fall apart in your mouth. The bun is a pretty generic fast food style bun, but it plays well with the burger. The meat is really the star of the sandwich, as it should be, and everything else works in perfect harmony to compliment patty.
The fries are a pretty thin cut which helps the be extra crispy. You have a choice between a regular fry and a Cajun fry. There is no difference in price. I chose the cajun which is just the regular fry dusted with a Cajun seasoning. They remind me more of a fancy pomme fritte than a french fry. When I hand cut fries at home, I got long, thick slices of potato. That’s not the case at Meatheads. The fries are short and thin and incredibly delicious.
I know technically Meatheads is a chain and because of that, I shouldn’t like it, but I love the place. It’s a place that I really hope takes off in the next ten years. They’re a chain that takes pride in their food. No central supply that freezes everything and ships it out. The food is fresh and delicious. Meatheads makes both a craveable burger and a craveable fry. If it wasn’t so far away, I would make more trips to Central Illinois. Here’s hoping my buddy gets me some more work in the area…….