Meatheads Burgers & Fries – Oak Lawn, IL
Our last night in town on this quick trip to the Chicago area, J and I had hoped to have a nice dinner and some drinks on our own. We left the kids at J’s parents house and headed towards Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant just down the street from her parents house in Oak Lawn.
J and I have no problem being old. 4:00 dinner on a Saturday night? Sure. If it means we don’t have to wait on a table. In Kalamazoo, that would be a good plan. In the Chicago suburbs…4:00, 6:00, 7:00? Doesn’t matter. There was already over an hour wait and the bar was packed…at 4:00! Neither of us wanted to eat at Cooper’s Hawk bad enough that we were going to wait in line for an hour.
It turns out, Cooper’s Hawk shares a parking lot with J’s favorite grocery store. We needed to pick a few things up, so we headed to Mariano’s to do a little shopping. J just picked up dinner for herself, L, and her parents from the deli area, but I wasn’t in the mood for anything they were serving up.
I had thought about dropping J off then going in search of another Italian beef, but that’s a lot of Italian beef in one weekend. Plus, I didn’t feel like driving anymore.
Also in the same parking lot as Mariano’s and Cooper’s Hawk is a familiar chain from my days in Central Illinois. They serve burgers and fries and, hey, guess what? I love burgers and fries.
Meatheads Burgers & Fries is part of the Stony Creek Promenade in Oak Lawn on the corner of Cicero Avenue and 111th Street. I say this chain is familiar to me because the first store, of what was always planned to be a chain, is in Bloomington, IL and I actually ate there the day it opened. It was a pretty big deal on a pretty busy stretch of road right across the street from the State Farm Corporate Headquarters and not too far from Illinois State University. The last time I ate there, about six years ago on a trip back to the area, there were only four other locations. Now, there are 17 with most in the Chicagoland area.
Seeing as how they share the parking lot with Cooper’s Hawk, finding a spot was a little tricky to just run in and get something to go. We did find a spot on the other end of the strip of businesses in from of the Chipotle. I walked back to the store while J stayed in the car since she wasn’t getting anything.
The menu is simple. Burgers. Chicken. Hot Dogs. Salads. That’s most of your choices when it comes to mains. There are a few other types of sandwiches, but nothing super fancy. There’s also The only sides? Fries. Either cajun or regular and options for chili, cheese, or both.
They have some “Chef Inspired Sandwiches” listed, but it’s really a Build-Your-Own type of place. I went with the 1/2 lb Meathead and topped it with cheddar cheese, a fried egg, and bacon (each $1 extra). The free toppings really do nothing for me although I was tempted by the giardiniera. To round out the order, I got a large order of regular fries.
The cost was just under $14. I was handed a number and then went to sit at a table to wait. It seemed like it took a long time, but it was more than 10 minutes. J thought it took forever because she was in the car waiting for me, but it was about 10 minutes.
In structure, Meatheads isn’t much different than some of the other burger chains. They have burgers. They have fries. They’re both pretty tasty. The fries are fresh cut are really tasty and I chose to go with the regular just because I really like the greasy, salty combo that comes from such fries. The large was probably more than I needed, but I couldn’t stop eating. The outside were golden brown and a little greasy while the insides were soft and fluffy yet still cooked all the way through.
The burger was just what I remembered from my trips to Meatheads many years ago. The cheese is cooked almost into the meat so the cheese and patty become one. It’s an interesting flavor when that happens because you can’t taste the parts anymore but instead get one unique flavor from the two ingredients. The bacon was a little too rubbery for my liking, but it didn’t kill the sandwich. The fried egg added just a little bit more of that flat top seasoning to an already tasty burger.
I’ve always wanted to love Meatheads just because I was there at the beginning and I really do enjoy the sandwiches and the fries. It’s something I seem to only get about every five years but this one near my in-laws in Oak Lawn, puts the chain back on my radar.