JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Cheeburger Cheeburger: When a restaurant fails you

I love Cheeburger Cheeburger. Which is funny, because I don’t eat red meat.

For those not in the know, Cheeburger Cheeburger is a chain of 50s-themed burger joints. I’ve mainly found them in Florida, but of late it seems the chain is expanding up this way. I spotted one recently in Newark, Delaware and then—to my great bliss—Cheeburger Cheeburger opened up in White Plains, N.Y.—a stone’s throw away.

Euphoria!

Cheeburger Cheeburger boasts the best milkshakes the world has ever known. I mean, they’re seriously, seriously, seriously awesome. Here’s the menu—scroll down and check out ther flavors. There are, quite literally, 378,000 combinations one can have. And it’s not like Cheeburger Cheeburger busts out bullshit McDonald’s shakes, all thin and gross, with sugary goop stuck to the bottom of the cup. These things are off-the-charts fantastic. Really.

Anyhow, the wife and I hit up Cheeburger Cheeburger roughly two months ago, when it was opened for a couple of weeks. As always, everything was perfect. Spotless restaurant, excellent service, solid food—and the best (and only) Chocolate Covered Pretzel-S’mores milkshake I’d ever had.

Then, without warning, the bottom fell out.

We returned a few weeks later, this time with my father in law and our kids. Service took foooor-eevvvvv-eeeeeer. Fries were soggy. Food—meh. OK, not great. A couple of days ago, we gave it another shot—same lineup of people. This time, the service was much worse. Probably took 40 minutes for the food to arrive (burgers, fries); the floor was pretty dirty, as were some of the tables. There were a bunch of waiters gathered around the kitchen, waiting anxiously for orders that were delivered at a snail’s pace. The food was meh—not great, not terrible. Just meh. Worst of all, I didn’t even order a shake. We’d been there soooo long, who had time to wait?

My point? I hate when this happens. Restaurants excite me, and really excite the wife. The possibilities. The menus. The aura. Even if it’s Cheeburger Cheeburger (as opposed to, say, Per Se), legitimate joy accompanies a new eatery.

Now, however, that joy has vanished. I see no reason to return to Cheeburger Cheeburger.

They’ve killed the love.

PS: The above picture: Cheeburger offers up this enormous burger. If you eat it, they stop everything, present you with the fabric burger, take your photo with it and hang it from the wall.