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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Burger joint of the week: Burger Mama's

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 5:02 PM

TALL AND WIDE:  Burger Mamas Double with Cheddar.
  • Kat Robinson
  • TALL AND WIDE: Burger Mama's Double with Cheddar.
You can’t talk about burgers in Little Rock without talking about Mama Bea’s — er, scratch that. Make that Burger Mama’s.

Yeah, there’s a connection. You can read about it in our review from a few years ago. To me, I keep thinking Mama Bea’s, because that’s what I grew up with. But it is in deed Burger Mama’s.

And there is indeed a burger at Burger Mama’s. Actually, there’s a lot of burgers at Burger Mama’s. You can stack ‘em, pack ‘em or even have them made with ground turkey if you are so inclined.

Of course, it’s been a few years since I really sat down and thought about a burger at Burger Mama’s. Been there since many times — usually heading through the drive-thru after calling in an order from points south to pick up a couple of doubles or triples tightly wrapped in aluminum foil to take home and feel guilty over lately. Still, I needed to do the appropriate research before writing a burger story.

Burgers come with one, two or three 6 ounce hand-patted patties, black pepper and salt seasoned on a seedless buttered bun that’s usually indented with finger marks from where the girls smash the bun on. They come dressed with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a solid slice of white onion.

The turkey burgers are strangely enough slightly cheaper than the beef burgers — running 4.35, 5.35 and 6.60 for one, two and three patties respectfully as compared to ten cents more on each for those beef ones. To me, a burger is beef.

I went for the two-patty burger and added some Cheddar cheese for 80 cents. You can also add Swiss for the same, Velveeta Hot Mexican for 85 cents or grilled onion for .50, American cheese for 60 cents or bacon or chili for a buck and a half. Those chili burgers… well, if you get them through the drive-thru, make sure you’re standing over the sink when you open them.

They are messy burgers. There’s no guts and glory to these burgers — at nearly a third a pound each, these smashburgers are hefty and tall. Cut one in half if you’re going to tackle it.

I did just that, and still managed to nearly make a mess of myself getting both hands around the half to get it to my mouth. The onion’s a bit overwhelming — tasty and strong but boy I sure felt it the rest of the day. The cheese is shredded and melted into the meat a bit. The black pepper is the prime seasoning here and if you don’t like it you’re not going to like this burger. That being said, get the ketchup out and dip the side of that burger a little. There you go. Knew you’d like it.

Everything about this burger is excessive. There’s too much meat, too much onion, too much tomato and lettuce and far too many pickles. If you’re wise you’ll take half home in a box for later, and that’s what you’ll eat over the sink.

French fries are good, sweet potato fries even better but really you need some of the flour-drenched thick-cut onion rings ($2.59). It doesn’t take many to fill my gullet, and I am happy for them. They make me happy, nicely golden and the onion bits are all sweet and caramelized. Dang, I need to place a pick-up order now.

You’ll find Burger Mama’s at Kanis and Shackleford. They have a drive-thru but it’s best if you call in your order before you go pick a burger up — it takes a while, since they’re all hand-patted and made from scratch. Remember the napkins. Open 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to eight on Sunday. (501) 225-2495.

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