Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
Living in the past is not necessarily a bad thing. Nowhere is this more evident than at Asher Dairy Bar. On the outside, this Colonel Glenn fixture may not be much to look at anymore, merely a shadow of its former self. The paint's fading on the once bright blue, red, and white sign featuring an oversized frosty milkshake. Inside, seemingly not much has changed either. But it's still just as welcoming to any passerby looking for a fast, tasty meal.
The food and shakes taste as classic as ever, accompanied by attentive and friendly service, and prices even your grandparents would be pleased with.
Most likely, beyond the milkshakes, you're going to want to head to Asher Dairy Bar for a burger. Sure, there are a number of other available menu items, which you may be inclined to venture towards from time to time. But when you're craving a thin-patty, grease ball of a burger — the kind that leaves you constantly checking over your shoulder to make sure your cardiologist doesn't catch you in the forbidden act — Asher Dairy Bar is your place.
The burger offerings on Asher's menu are a tad confusing. There's the regular burger, the jumbo burger, the regular double burger, the jumbo double burger, the "over the hill" burger, and the "over the hill" double burger. If you've got 20 minutes for them to explain the whole menu, you may begin to get to the bottom of it all, but allow us to simplify: Just get the regular double cheeseburger ($3.39).
It seems to really hit that sweet spot of proper beef to grease proportions, adequate cheese coverage, and proper consistency and texture despite being, essentially, a well-done burger. Each patty is thin — about an eighth of a pound each — but they manage to remain juicy and tender due to their lovely fatty properties. The dairy bar grinds its beef fresh every morning, never resorting to frozen patties. The cheese is generously portioned and the bun is slightly toasted on one side. It's a cheeseburger seen a million times, in a million places, but it's done right here. And at around $3, no one is complaining about its rather commonplace components. We also sampled the larger "jumbo" cheeseburger ($3.09), a single quarter-pound slab of beef, but we found the regular version superior — more flavorful and a tad juicier. You could easily pass on the regular fries ($1.49): They're under-seasoned and clearly from pre-bagged, frozen potatoes. You're better off going with the tater tots ($1.49), since they're sufficiently hot and crispy and go down well after a quick swim in ketchup.
We've also ventured into hot dog territory, and settled on the fully loaded regular "Hot Dawg" ($2.59). More adventurous souls may have gravitated towards the foot-long, 1-pound "Royal Dawg" ($4.49) or perhaps the foot-long Polish sausage ($4.49), but on this day, we showed a bit of restraint and got a more reasonably sized hot link. We were served a plump, all-beef dog, decorated with yellow mustard, chili, cheese, grilled onion, jalapeño, and slaw. While the chili was nothing more than the canned variety, and the slaw likely from a pre-made tub, the dog was flavorful, nicely charred on the grill. The onions were nice too, caramelized and soft, and the jalapeños were finely diced and brought a nice element of heat to the mix.
We didn't feel right about leaving a dairy bar without sampling one of the shakes. After perusing through the 20 or so shake flavors, we settled on a small strawberry shake ($2.69), one of the dairy bar's most popular flavors, and were overall pleased with the results. It probably could have benefited from a little more strawberry flavor, but we had no problem polishing it off.
Asher Dairy Bar boasts a sizable breakfast menu that includes expected diner classics such as biscuits and gravy, French toast, omelets, and pancakes. Its self-proclaimed "famous" breakfast toaster sandwich ($3.69) is substantial — two thick slices of Texas toast, grilled on the flattop, two eggs, melted American cheese, and your choice of sausage, bacon or ham — and large enough to keep an average stomach satisfied for a good six hours.