Now that summer has come to a close, St. Charles Patch is searching for the best burger in the city.
The recent review of sets a high bar for burgers in St. Charles. However, there are some other worthwhile contenders. Throughout the next few weeks, we’re visiting the best burger joints in the city to see how their offerings stack up.
Smokers, if you're looking for a place where you can still light up in peace, is your new home. As a nonsmoker, stepping inside was frankly a shock. The smoke was so thick I actually staggered back outside and contemplated how badly I wanted to include them in the Burger Battle. For the smoking readers, I ventured back inside.
AAA Burgers is much more a bar than a restaurant. The ceiling has multiple pennant banners strung up advertising Miller Light, Bud and Dos Equis. The walls themselves are decorated with a mix of ads for beer, ads for shots, ads for cocktails, ads for entire buckets of rum and some listings of game days to mix it up. Above the booze posters are eight large televisions tuned to a variety of channels.
One side of the room is dominated by pool tables, a couple electronic dart boards, and some old school golf video games. On the other side are massive booths that can fit six to eight people, a couple small four-tops and the long, cheerfully decorated wooden bar.
The affordable appetizers are all less than $8. You have your choice of three kinds of nachos, two kinds of potato skins and the usual deep-fried guilty pleasures of toasted ravioli, onion rings or fries.
However, I was here to try the burgers. They come in three sizes: $6.49 for a single A (4 ounces), $7.49 for a double A (8 ounces) and $8.49 for a triple A (12 ounces). The eight choices were a pleasant surprise. Most bars don’t try to mix it up so much on the burger front. You can go Greek with a burger smothered in feta cheese, black olives, onions and Caesar dressing. If you’re in more of a south-of-the-border mood, the Mexican burger comes topped with salsa, jalapeños and pepper jack cheese. Other burgers featured portabella mushrooms or bleu cheese.
At the waitress' suggestion, I went for the Kansas City Barbecue Burger topped with red onions, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese.
A single, 4-ounce patty would've been a disappointment on such a large bun, but the double was perfectly sized. I liked the burger itself. It had the wonderful texture and juiciness of hand-formed patties left on the grill just long enough for the edges to take on a nice char.
The large, soft, white bun fell apart in my hands after two bites. This wasn't an overly large or excessively moist burger, so that was a real disappointment, as well as something of a mess, since my table didn’t come with either silverware or spare napkins. The scant red onions and conservative dollop of generic barbecue sauce that topped a generous quantity of cheddar cheese melted straight onto the patties.
I was a little disappointed when my side order of onion tanglers came out a mix of golden brown, but cold pieces and sizzling hot ones half burnt. The greasy strings were mostly batter with a hint of onion flavor in the middle.
I topped my burger with some of the burned onion tanglers, which added some crunch and texture as well as a bit more flavor. A single piece of slightly wilted lettuce, one thin pickle and a slice of tomato provided more of a garnish than something to really dress the burger. I left them in the basket.
I wanted to like this burger more. Handmade patties of actual beef deserve praise. Sadly, everything else about the burger was disappointing. There's potential in those patties, but the rest of the burger didn't live up to it.
My waitress spent most of her time on the phone. Getting her attention to pay my bill was a real challenge.
I’m not willing to let AAA Burgers off the hook just because they’re close to a college. I’ve had some amazing food in tiny dive bars near universities.
My total came to $11.24 plus a $2 tip for a double burger with onion straws and a iced tea. For $13.24, you have some much better burger options in St. Charles. This is the place to go if you really need to smoke during dinner. I give AAA a C+.
Burger Battle Contenders:
Loco's Grill and Pub
Share your thoughts! Click on these St. Charles restaurants to give them a rating.
The Corner Bar
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