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Monday, September 15, 2008

Lunch Report: Chris Madrid's...

It is interesting to me how places get all hyped up by everyone, bandwagons are jumped upon and inevitably, I feel like an idiot because I don't know anything about "The Place" for "The Best" burgers in town. Yes, I have heard of Chris Madrid's and of course, it has been on my list for a while, but to be really honest, it was like going to a movie that everyone has gone gah gah over and then, simply not getting it.From the minute we pulled onto Blanco Road from Hildebrand and the lady in my Garmin said "arriving at destination", my wife was not happy. She matter-of-fact said, "If this is it, I'm not going in there." You have to admit, the place looks run down. Rustic would be a compliment, fitting the neighborhood is probably appropriate. And the security guard out front told us we could park our car in the lot across the street. Regardless of how the place looks from the outside, people seem to have gotten the message that what's on the inside is pretty good.It took some coaxing, but we did go in and figured out where to go to order. I'll spare you the confusion if you plan on trying Chris Madrid's: If you walk in the entrance from Blanco Road, you'll see a wide open seating area with a closed in bar/smoking section (I assume) to your left, and all the way to the right is the cashier and where you order and pick up your stuff. All the way to the back you see a patio area.I don't have any issues with the atmosphere inside. People seemed happy and there were a few pictures to look at. What I didn't care for was the way you are herded into a choke point near the cash register to place your order. The menus were located down by the register, but because there was a constant flow of people trying to get by one another, we had to wait until just before ordering to grab a menu. Luckily, the menu is very limited, and I like that. My wife was not as thrilled.People clearly love Chris Madrid's. Aside from some plaques for People's Choice Awards, the place is mostly decorated in T-Shirts from various organizations or events, signed by customers. I'm all for customer loyalty to drive the business in, but once there, deliver on the product.My wife ordered the chicken sandwich - the cashier told her it would definitely be worth the 15 minute wait. She also requested extra honey mustard to dip with the order of fries we shared. When I went to pick up the order (15 minutes was about right), the lady told me they were out of honey mustard and offered Ranch instead. At that moment in time, I thought to myself, we are going to be going to Earl Abels sometime in the near future to make up for this lunch idea. Aside from the lack of honey mustard, the chicken was okay, but just okay. The fries were fine, cooked the way I like them and would have been much tastier with some honey mustard to dip them in.My selection was easy. I went with the Flaming Jalapeno Burger with Cheddar, Macho (large). The bun was done right, the burger was loaded with jalapenos and covered in gooey Government Cheese, just the way I love it. The hamburger meat is clearly seasoned with something - almost making it a little too salty. Not too salty to really enjoy though.

Aside from the dysfunctional ordering operation, Madrid's seems to operate very smoothly. For people ordering burgers (not chicken) they seem to move very fast. The fact that the lady warned us there would be a wait was outstanding and appreciated.
On what was an incredibly beautiful day, it would have been nice to sit outside on Madrid's patio. Looks very nice and wide open, not crowded like some places.

Look, I had a good burger, though in terms of value, I would have been just as happy paying a lot less and eating at Whataburger. I'd certainly enjoy Chris Madrid's again if I happened to be in the area, but if you have to go out of your way to try it, I know of several others I'd recommend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eva says:
The lady told me that the chicken sandwich was worth the 15 minute wait ... it wasn't I had better.Also made my tummy gurgle. I don't have a delicate tummy. So I will tell you when something is not just right.perhaps it was all the grease.When your in the area you give it a try.Dave so owes me an Earl Abels.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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