Wednesday, September 24, 2008


610 S Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL

First thought: Standing. Room. Only. Nat, is this place formal? Do you think there will be a line?

Second thought: Man, I'm so sick of hamburgers. Really looking forward to the turkey burger as a change of pace.

Now, keep in mind, this was the ONLY turkey burger on the whole TOC list of five non-beef burgers. Using transitive logic, I'm taking that to mean this SRO turkey burger is being presented to me as the best turkey burger in the entire Chicagoland area. And with turkey burgers--moreso than with hamburgers--it seems like the possibilities for spice-centric creativity are endless.

We met up with Masur (the Shay of CBP) and an ominous separate party, a friend of Masur's who has lived upstairs from SRO for eight years but whom has only eaten their once. It seemed that the management was so rude on her one visit that in warranted never returning. Not a good sign, but we went forth with our mission. Stepping inside, Masur noted that the place reminded him of the Peach Pit on 90210. A fair assessment. There was definitely some Pop Tate-esque ambiance to it that was very pleasantly complimented by sports decor, specifically a signed jersey of Dennis Rodman's in the men's bathroom.

Nat and I ordered the Turkey burgers with fries while Masur ordered a normal cheeseburger with bacon and onions. Neither automatically came with fries, so we ordered those as well. When the burgers arrived, I had a brief moment of confused contemplation in which I wondered whether to put ketchup on a turkey burger (I hadn't had one in years), and I ultimately decided yes whil also noticing the surprising dearth of other condiments available.

The verdict simple and plain was that this was a dry, flavorless burger. It tasted more like a poorly done hamburger than anything distinctively bird-like, it was easily drowned out by just a small slap of ketchup and mustard, and the bun and extras did it no favors. Initially, I appreciated that the lettuce was chopped instead of in tact and serving as some unwieldy condiment boat, but then I realized that it was just stuff out of a bag. There was no freshness to anything being served.

[Apologies for the bad photos of turkey burgers, but you get the idea]

The fries were a disgrace. If fries aren't included with the burger, one should really get some sort of fried potato beyond a mere defrosted crinkle. The place didn't completely strike out, however. Masur reported that the bacon-onion cheeseburger was pretty decent.

[The SRO bacon, cheese, onion jumpoff]

[The Worm tribute was much appreciated]

So I am left wondering as we have so many times if we simply hit this place on an off night. For a place that boasts "Chicago's one and only turkey burger" on their website and that has been voted to not only TOC's list, but also by CBS Chicago as having the top turkey burger in the city, I am more shocked than I was disappointed. It was as if someone told me that Two Weeks Notice was a film masterpiece and then I had to see it, then...seeing it. As Harry Allen once told me, hype is truly something not to be believed.


dansch said...

Perhaps it is in fact the best turkey burger in the city, if it does turn out to be the "one and only" one. That's a trick I personally employ on a regular basis - be the only entrant in a category and you automatically win.

Slight of hand? Disingenuous marketing ploy? Outright deceit? Perhaps, sometimes it's all you've got...

bestonline323 said...

You're making me hungry!

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Kathryn said...

I don't think it was an off-night. I work nearby and go there for lunch on a semi-regular basis (co-workers' choice). The burgers (both regular and turkey) are consistently dry. The only thing that makes the bacon burger tolerable is the bacon, of which there is plenty. And the fries are just unconscionable. I don't much care for this place, particularly when both Hackney's and Epic are so close.

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