Welcome to the second edition of Off the Beaten Path, where BOTM takes burger lovers somewhere they wouldn’t quite expect. This edition is a tad different in that the place selected is actually a burger place, however, for BOTM it is certainly off the beaten path.
This past weekend yours truly along with BOTM member Jason followed the New York Jets to Cincinnati for their wild card matchup with the Bengals. To do so we flew into Indianapolis, and in so planning we were told that we can’t miss a midwest staple, Steak and Shake.
For those of you New Yorkers who are not familiar, which included us until this past weekend, Steak and Shake is a chain founded by Gus Belt in 1934 in Normal, Illinois. Steak and Shake’s burgers are cooked to order on a griddle, and are smashed thin after being placed on the griddle so that the outside of the burger forms a dark crunchy “crust”. Steak and Shake’s slogan is “In sight it must be right”, and refers to the fact that the kitchen is in sight of all those who wish to watch. It was immaculately clean, and the burger meat placed on the grill looked bright pink and fresh. Steak and Shake has locations throughout the Midwest and south. The restaurant was bright and welcoming, and busy with locals at 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. Despite the fact that we were wearing New York Jets gear from head to toe, we were greeted warmly by both the staff and fellow patrons.
On the advice from our neighbor, and confirmed by our cheery waitress Dakota, we both ordered the Western BBQ ‘N Bacon Steakburger (all their burgers are called “Steakburgers”) which consisted of two patties, cheese, bacon, diced and crispy fried onions, and a sweet ‘n smoky barbeque sauce. All burgers come with shoestring fries.
The burgers were cooked to order as promised, but came to the table quickly and assembled perfectly. The patties, despite being thin and thus cooked all the way through, were still juicy and unlike most fast food places were well seasoned. The bacon was smoky, and the barbeque sauce had just the right amount of tang. The bun was perfectly toasted, and the fries were crispy.
All this fun for less than $5 made these two burger guys very happy. That coupled with the Jets win made for a perfect day of football and eating (which started at 10:30 a.m. with a bowl of Skyline Chili, but that’s for another blog). We highly recommend Steak and Shake, and would LOVE for them to open up in NYC. For those BOTM fans in the Midwest, you’re a lucky bunch. Enjoy your Steakburgers!