One of my favorite hamburger places posted this quote by Calvin Trillin on Facebook: “Anyboy who doesn’t think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy.” Mr. Trillin is right. The best hamburger I ever had was from Noah’s Drive-In in Lockport.
The hamburger was just perfect. Juicy and tasty, a Noah’s hamburger was perfect in just about every way. A cheeseburger was even better because it truly forced a cohesive bond between the patty and the bread. When I got older and bigger, then it was time to have the gourmand burger. This, proving Mr. Trillin’s rule beyond a doubt, was no hamburger for sissies.
Noah’s was more than a hamburger place. Sunday after church lunch was always a special event. The broasted chicken was always delicious. My sister would be content with just the mac and cheese. After Junior High sporting events, it was a great place for a celebratory meal. The sundaes were a tradition in my house. I am sure their roast beef poboy was made with deli roast beef, yet it was the only roast beef poboy of that style that was as good as the debris poboys of New Orleans.
Not only was Mr. Noah a familiar face when you went, so was the entire family. After Mr. Noah’s tragic death, the place stayed open under different ownership, but it was not the same. It wasn’t that the food changed much, it was that the experience changed. Mr. Noah fed my family and if you are from Lockport, he probably fed yours too. That is what could never be replaced.
Duck Sausage Hamburger with Goat Cheese and Strawberries from Phil’s Grill
Everyone needs a restaurant in which they can take anyone they know. We are either relatives or friends of picky eaters. Hell, I’m picky in that I really don’t every want to eat at Applebee’s or Chili’s again. But sometimes we have to agree on where to eat. One place we always suggest when have a group is Phil’s Grill. We’ve never had a complaint.
I’ve eaten a different sandwich every time I’m at Phil’s and I’m not near trying everything. The reason for this is that Phils Grill is a build your own burger place. However, the burger (Angus by the way) isn’t the only option. You can build your “burger” with grilled or fried chicken breast, tuna, alligator, hot sausage blend, Portobello mushroom, turkey, and bison. Their are about six buns and many toppings to go with your choice. And all meats that can be, are cooked to order.
If building your own burger places too much pressure on you, there are plenty of predesigned burgers to choose from. Plus, every month there is a burger of the month.
Ok, I’ve described what you can get at Phil’s Grill. How does the food taste? Well, it’s one of the few places we eat at regularly. The grilled chicken sandwich is never dry like at most places and the fried chicken sandwich is breaded with Zapps potato chips. Cristina’s grandmother, a lady who is not afraid to tell you if something is good or not, raves about how good the hamburgers are. Every time she comes to visit she wants to go.
This month’s burger of the month: Duck sausage burger, LA strawberries, herb goat cheese spread with LA Sisters pepper jelly vinaigrette and fresh spinach on a sun-dried tomato bun. Also available on a bed of Spinach. This was the best burger I’ve had yet at Phil’s. Considering how often we go, that’s saying something. I can’t wait for May.
Company Burger Single with Bacon and a Fried Egg
All of January, Cristina seemed to be fighting a cold. All of January, I was having the Can’t Hardly Waits to see Color Me Obsessed about the Replacements…my favorite band. The night of the movie, she wasn’t feeling any better. She told me to go without her. This meant I would be dining alone.
I decided to check out Freret Street. We have been to High Hat before but that’s it. At first I was going to go to Dat Dog. However, the line was very long so I figured I would save that for another day. I ended up at Company Burger.
In Pulp Fiction, there is a scene in which Samuel L. Jackson asks for a bite of a hamburger because he’s girlfriend is a vegetarian which pretty much makes him a vegetarian. Cristina isn’t a vegetarian but she doesn’t care for hamburgers (except Cowbell’s…for now (editor’s note: Company Burger gets a lot of our money)). This means I relish any time I can order a good hamburger.
Company Burger didn’t disappoint.
I ordered the single with no cheese. I added the fried egg and bacon (nueske’s bacon ftw). What came out was a near masterpiece of a burger. Juicy in ways that Dave Thomas would have been jealous of, this was one satisfying burger. I sent Cristina pictures of the burger and she was intrigued enough to try her second burger just off the picture. The fries were crisp and starchy (again, near perfect). The aioli bar served up some great dips for the fries.
However, the best part was the pickles. Now, if you know me, you will understand that unless they are on a ham sandwich, I feel that pickles are nothing more than cucumbers soaked in absolute evil. I didn’t even read the menu enough to notice they were there. Usually when I bite into a pickle I make a sour face. Not, with these. These homemade bread and butter pickles were perfect. Next time I go may order a pickle sandwich dressed with a hamburger patty.
Now, that Cristina is feeling better, it’s time to return to Company Burger.