Welcome to the first edition of the Burger Bounce! The adventurous burger dates with myself and Jacob, my oldest child and only son. I’ve always loved to hear him tell stories, or read what he would write for his papers in school. Just talking with him, you get a sense of his humorous disposition. When we decided to write about our burger dates, it was only natural that I asked him to write them. I’m not sure if he said yes because he truly wanted to, or because he loves his Momma, but either way is fine with me. I hope you enjoy reading our reviews!
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that there was a Fitz’s restaurant independent of the famed St. Louis root beer chain, but it’s also just as likely that I am a member of the silent minority in that regard. After the restaurant’s reopening in 1993, they’ve only been expanding into the area while I was none the wiser. As this has also happened to me with the A&W restaurant, who knows what other beverages are out there with associated eatery’s? Perhaps there is a Snapple drive-in somewhere, or maybe a purchasable Bennigan’s brand lemonade?
In the end, all of that is besides the point. Merely to illustrate my surprise when being invited to eat at the restaurant with my mother. Double my shock when i discovered they served actual edible food as well, as opposed to walls lined with Cardinal Cream IVs. It’s near impossible for me to turn down a burger of any kind, so I heartily agreed to partake in what soon became the first entry in a series of establishments known for quality hamburgers. Of course, whether the two of us agree with the placement of these meats in the upper echelon of the food world will be determined by each of us, since everyone’s taste is as unique as a snowflake.
When walking into the Fitz’s in South County, you’ll notice a wall of soda separating those waiting for a table from those already eating. While the majority of this beverage blockade is comprised of root beer brown, there are flashes of additional color for things like the hard pink of Strawberry Pop, or the brilliant orange of… Orange Cream. It creates something neat to be looked at, and these drink packages can be purchased from the counter and taken with you, allowing these drinks to put the fun in functionality. Additionally, the structure of this Fitz’s had a neat raised level structure, with one section slightly higher than others for no immediately apparent reason other than to give the illusion of more space, which did seem to work. It definitely felt more open, even though I would also say the place was “packed” at the time we went.
This establishment also has an attached bottling line, where from behind the safety of a pane of glass, you can see the machines that run the bottling assembly. It wasn’t running at the time, quite possibly because it would produce an amount of noise that would drown out individuals that are already trying to drown one another out. The equipment is likely either used when the restaurant as a whole isn’t open in order to add to the stockpile of drinks they sell in 6-packs at the front of the store, or it’s primarily for show with the once operational machinery now being relegated to set-piece status. Either way, it’s fun to see, and it’s the type of aesthetic that actually warrants photography from tourists.
Now, to get to the food, which was the whole reason we went in the first place! The visit wasn’t just to look at soda and smell the brine of pickle chips after all. I went with a standard root beer out of a Fitz bottle (for the experience, of course!), and their Sunshine Burger. Now, already I was in, because I’m a sucker for putting an egg on a sandwich. But they also offered two types of cheese, neither of which was American, which I loathe. So of course I got it, and it was great! The egg is usually the problem spot in sandwiches like these, with the egg always leaking too much of the yolk everywhere and just making a mess, as well as getting things soggy. You think I’d learn my lesson at this point but no. If it’s available, I always get a burger with the incredible edible egg. Sometimes, however, it does manage to pay off as it did here. The menu said that the sandwich comes with both Pepper Jack and Colby cheeses, though due to the overpowering spicy nature of the Pepper Jack, I had completely forgotten that Colby was even on the sandwich. Overall, it was one of the better egg-based burgers. The fries, however, are a bit of a different story. They weren’t terrible, in fact I can recall having similar fries with the same familiar starchy consistency at a burger place I frequented when I was in college. My main problem was with the aftertaste, it was almost like a bitter buttery flavor. As if someone had put butter on a griddle, melted it all the way down, and then let it sit until it burnt to a crisp. At least, that’s how I’d describe it. In the past I’ve been able to attribute this taste to being bad oil in the fryers, so perhaps it was just time to change those out and pull in some new ones. That’s a little disappointing as well, because while some will pair anything from tater tots to coleslaw with their burgers, the french fry is at this point the classic staple. That’s usually why I always go with fries, because it’s become the natural fit for a hamburger meal. So for me at least, if there’s something off with the fries, then it can lower the meal a bit. I would be willing to go back and see id there’s any change to the side situation, and maybe that will be done at some point in the future.
As for my Mother, here’s what she had to say:
This is actually not the first time I’ve been to Fitz’s. Usually when I go here I order a chicken wrap of some sort, but for my visit with Jake a burger is a necessity. I decided on the Bourbon. It’s a burger topped with smoked cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and crispy onion straws, served with a side of their house made bourbon mayo. Now, I don’t like mayo… in fact if it had not been listed as coming ‘on the side’, I would’ve either asked for the burger without or not ordered it at all. However since it was on the side I figured it was worth a try. I’m also not the biggest bacon fan. I know that’s a most unpopular opinion, and I don’t hate bacon – I’m not just a fan of putting bacon on everything! What typically sells a sandwich for me when checking out the menu are the onion straws and/or the type of cheese. In this case the cheese was smoked cheddar. As I am a cheddar cheese fan and the burger also came with smoked bacon, it seemed like a good fit. The onion straws though… love! I did try the house made bourbon mayo. Not bad at all and added a new layer of flavor to the sandwich. I did not use much of it, just enough to get the taste. The burger was good and I would in fact definitely order it again.
I do, however, agree with Jake on the fries. Not bad, but definitely not my favorite. We are in agreement that the after taste is much like a bitter butter (say that 5 times fast!) taste. Old oil in the fryer would make sense to me if that were the case. However I feel it’s just how they always serve them since the times I’ve been there before they have tasted the same. It’s not something that would keep me from going there for sure. A little salt and ketchup to dunk them in and they are decent.
The overall experience from atmosphere & decor, to aesthetic & food makes me a fan. I love Fitz’s and will always be willing to go, especially if my dining companion is my son. These times with him enjoying something he loves (in this case, burgers) is something I will always cherish. It’s not about the food, it’s about enjoying the time with him and taking an interest in something he loves.