Thursday, October 27, 2011

Burger joint of the week: Viola Stampede

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 8:05 AM

TALL ORDER:  Viola Stampedes reasonably priced double cheeseburger.
  • Kat Robinson
  • TALL ORDER: Viola Stampede's reasonably priced double cheeseburger.
Once again exploring the idea of “how far would you go for a good burger?” — I stopped in to the little restaurant at Viola’s major intersection (where Highway 62/412 and Highway 223 meet) with friends to grab some vittles Sunday. I was pretty pleased to find this country diner knows a thing or two about putting out a good burger.

We had a bit of a crowd, but most of us wanted burgers and there were plenty of selections on the menu to try. Several of my friends chose the Stampede Burger ($6) while I decided on a Double Cheeseburger ($4.25). Your choice of potato item comes on the side — fries, curly fries, batter dipped fries, tater tots, tater babies (I have no clue what the difference is), etcetera. A plain hamburger, by the way, is less than three bucks.

We got into our conversation, our waitress making sure our beverages were full the whole time, and after a bit we had our meals. One of my dining companions let me shoot his Stampede Burger — a big half pound hand patted patty under American and Swiss cheese slices plus two slices of bacon, all over a pile of green leaf lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle on a seedless, mustard and mayo wiped bun. It was a pretty burger, and he had his served up with thickly battered fries.

My burger, though, caused a stir. I had assumed the cheaper burger would have less meat; instead, it had two big nicely charred ovoid six ounce patties stacked one on top of the other, with American cheese melted into each patty. The two patties sat atop the tomato slice, a full slice of white onion, a few dill pickle pieces and some more green leaf lettuce. The default on the toasted bun is mayo on the bottom and mustard on the top.

I had to smash the tar outta this burger to get it to fit into my mouth. It was almost a matter of unhinging my jaw to take that first bite. But what a first bite. The lightly salted and peppered beef patty was low on grease but still very juicy, and the condiments and tomato just added to that. It was cooked medium well (I had not specified) and had a pleasant medium packed (not tight) texture that was altogether quite pleasing. For someone who was as hungry as I was, it was a blessing. The tater tots were all right.

So, when I had placed my order I had asked if there was pie — and was told that no, they had cheesecake. That was okay — I could get my pie fix down the road, right? I’m getting ready to check out, and out the kitchen window comes this creamy coconut cream pie. Well, I had somewhere to be, but I wanted some of that pie — and for $2 I got to take home a slice.

Except it never made it home. I had to pull over the side of the road and tackle it. See, that cream-topped pie smelled so good. They’d given me a fork and that was a good thing — else I’d have eaten the damn thing with my fingers. It was an almost golden coconut filling poured into a hand-pressed crust made from coconut cookies. You know, the sort you get at the grocery store that are like a coconut version of a pecan sandy? It was too good to not eat — and may be the best coconut cream pie I have ever had. And to think, I almost missed it!

You’ll find the Viola Stampede, as I said, at the corner of Highway 62/412 and Highway 223 in Viola, AR. On Sundays they close at 2 p.m. (870) 458-2112.

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