Cereal City Burgers
Like most people, I have a hard time passing up OT….especially when it’s easy OT and something I enjoy doing. I was in that situation this past Friday night. My assigned task was in Battle Creek and I wouldn’t have to leave home until it was almost bed time for L and J, so we thought it was a no-brainer that I pick up a few extra hours at work.
I did leave a little earlier than usual because I wanted to grab something for dinner. I’ve been hearing about a burger joint that is getting rave reviews and since I was going solo, this night was the perfect night for me to track it down.
Cereal City Burgers is on Capital Avenue SW just about a half mile north of the intersection with Columbia Avenue on the city’s near West Side. It’s a tiny shop with a tiny parking lot. The site is familiar to me as it used to be Turkey Heaven….a turkey BBQ joint that J and I really enjoyed a few years back.
To Battle Creekians (is that the right word?), Cereal City Burgers is an extension of another well loved burger place. This new place is run by family of BC Burgers which, from what I’m told, enjoyed some success in downtown Battle Creek some years ago.
The menu at Cereal City Burgers is simple. Burgers. Potatoes. Ham, Egg, & Cheese sandwiches. That’s pretty much it. If you’re not a burger lover, there’s not much you’re going to find on this menu.
The place was pretty packed on a Friday night with people waiting for carry-out orders. There are only three tables in the space although there’s room for a couple more if they would choose to add them. There are a few single chairs placed against the wall to wait for carry-outs, but it looked like a lot of their business was done via phone in. There was a big stack of bagged up meals behind the counter and a steady stream of hungry people coming in to get them.
When I got to the counter, I put in an order for a Double Cheeseburger w/Bacon. The lady taking the order asked if I wanted to make it a combo with potatoes w/cheese and a drink. I was going to order the potatoes anyway, so I just said yes and drank the Coke while I was waiting for my food to be cooked. There weren’t any open tables so I just asked for my food to go and I’d find a place along my travels to stop and enjoy the meal.
It took a little over five minutes for my number to be called. During that time, I was able to watch the cook grab balls of fresh meat from the kitchen and slap them down on the flat top. When he had a spare second, he was also chopping up potatoes for the side dish. It looks like everything used in the restaurant is fresh and that makes a huge difference when dealing with burgers.
I grabbed the paper sack and headed out the door. I made my way to my first work assignment of the night downtown. I was still pretty early, so I pulled the Styrofoam container of potatoes out of the bag. They were covered with a heart attack inducing nacho cheese sauce that was so tasty with the seasoned chucks of grilled (not deep fried) potatoes cubes. I like this approach to serving potatoes over deep fried french fries. It’s different and it really gives the whole meal a short of backyard BBQ feel to it. I grill potatoes like this all the time when I make burgers on the grill, but these were better than anything I’ve done.
As for the burger? Pardon my french here….holy s@&^! It’s such a simple, classic burger, but it is so damn tasty. I’ve always been the kind of person that judges a burger place on the meat, not on all the toppings they put it on. I’ve taken so much crap for a blog post I wrote six years ago about a beloved burger place in Royal Oak that I really didn’t like because I didn’t like the sauce they put on the burger..and that was the only reason everyone loves the place so much. Good burgers area about good basics. The bread and the meat hold more weight with me than any fancy sauce or crazy topping a restaurant puts on to hide the fact they use frozen patties. Cereal City Burgers just nails it with delicious meat that has a crunchy, burnt edges and a soft, hearty bun to hold it all together.
My meal was just under $10, but worth so much more. If you like simple, delicious burgers, there’s no reason you won’t love Cereal City Burgers. Even if you don’t….seriously, I’ll bet you’ll love Cereal City Burgers.