Burger joint of the week: Stoby's | Eat Arkansas

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Burger joint of the week: Stoby's

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 10:15 AM

CLASSIC:  Stobys Mushroom Swiss Burger.
Most folks don’t think of Stoby’s as a burger joint. It’s best known for a big sandwich called The Stoby that consists of three different types of meat, two cheeses and whatever else you want to throw down on there, on whatever bun you like.

Stoby’s has changed over the years, though — adding so many more options. There’s a full exposition of dinner items, a great breakfast and a selection of Tex-Mex favorites like the nachos and the quesadillas. There’s Possum Pie and the eponymous cheese dip, available in original yellow and the new milder-but-not white.

The burgers, though, are of note, even if they’re not quite consistent.

Take for instance, the Hickory Burger ($6.99). At one time just a regular burger with hickory flavoring, it’s become a bacon-bearing burger with attitude and a thick hickory barbecue sauce. I used to order those all the time coming through — but now? I dunno. Ordering without bacon seems a pain when there are other choices.

Then there’s the Jamaican Jerk Burger ($6.99) — one of the spiciest burgers you’ll find around these parts, with a nice concentrated but not bitter heat that will cause almost anyone to sweat. The burger has a pile of Jamaican Jerk spice goo on it that just smells like napalm, sitting on top of a slice of Cheddar cheese. Tasty, yes, but I can’t get through it. The hubster loves it.

As of late, I’ve taken to the Mushroom Swiss Burger ($6.99). See, I like the third pound patties on a Stoby’s burger, just lightly salt and peppered with a hint of Worchestershire. I like them better, though, encased in a bit of salty Swiss with the lovely deep Worchestershire sauce flavor sautéed into the ‘shrooms, giving it a very nice almost smoky, deeply savory flavor. Very nice, actually.

It’s served up on a sesame seeded bun just barely toasted to crispy, unbuttered. The burgers are always served open faced — on the other bun a mass of shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato slice, red onion and ridgy dills. If you want condiments, they’re your responsibility — you have to ask for mayo, mustard or ketchup.

What you really need to know about ordering a Stoby’s burger is that all burgers come with battered fries — great fries that are only made better with a dip in Stoby’s great original yellow cheese dip. If I’m on my own I ask them to hold the tortilla chips altogether — I’d far rather dip my fry than my chip.

The one thing I haven’t figured out is why Stoby’s doesn’t ever use that cheese dip on a burger. With nine different burgers on the menu, it seems like a no-brainer. I’m thinking an open faced burger with Stoby’s extraordinarily underrated chili and the yellow dip over the top, perhaps with some caramelized onions and bits of red bell pepper. Hey, if it gets added to the menu I should ask for naming rights, right?

You’ll find Stoby’s in Russellville on Parkway right next to the railroad tracks a block west of Arkansas — or in Conway on Donaghey north of UCA. Go check out the website for more information.

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