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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bad Panda: The Ghetto Burger at Miss Ann's Snack Bar

by Panda

Wednesday is the day that my coworkers and I like to go out to eat somewhere.  We like to find new places to eat and try them out for lunch.  Today we decided to eat at Miss Ann's Snack Bar, home of the Ghetto Burger, which was named the best burger in the country by the WSJ in 2007.  My coworker Eric had tried eating at Miss Ann's on two separate occasions, and twice he had arrived too late; if you don't get in by a certain time, you just don't get a burger.

Determined to finally try this burger, my coworkers and I set out at 10:30 in the morning, hoping that we'd beat the lunch rush.  The Snack Bar is located on a run down section of Memorial Drive, and really is not much more than a shack - the only thing that would give it away would be the parking lot jammed full of cars.  When we arrived the place had still not opened, and the parking lot was actually still somewhat empty.  We took a seat in the patio outside and waited.  There were only two others ahead of us.

Eventually Miss Ann came to the screen door and waved us in.  I had heard stories about this lady before.  If you try to go inside before she calls you up, she kicks you out.  If you use your phone at the counter, she kicks you out.  The woman takes no shit.  God help you if you fart or tell a crude joke.

Miss Ann came around and took our orders.  The guy next to me said he wanted a cheeseburger and a drink.  When asked if he wanted fries, he said no.  Then he mentioned that he wanted cheese on his burger, I guess to make sure that she knew he wanted a cheeseburger. "You ordered a cheeseburger, didn't you?  Doesn't that come with cheese on it?"

I watched as Miss Ann cooked the burgers.  She reached into a bucket full of ground meat, pulled out an amount, patted it once between her hands, then slapped it on the griddle.  I'm pretty sure she has no idea how much each patty actually weighs, nor do I think she cares, but the patties were all the same size, so you could tell she'd been at this for a while.  A generous shake of seasoned salt went on.  She topped the patties with sliced onion (cut by hand, right over the burgers), then flipped the patties and smashed them down with her spatula.  More seasoned salt, more onion, more flipping, more smashing.  Smashing the burger against the flattop made me cringe a bit, because this can smash the juices right out of the burger, making it dry... but I had a feeling that she knew what she was doing.  Our fries were served up to us first, nice and hot from the fryer.  I threw on some season salt, and began eating them, drinking them down with the grape Fanta I had ordered.

The guy next to me was listening to some music on his headphones to kill some time.  Miss Ann motioned for him to take them off.  "Either you eat, or you listen to music."  He apologized.

On went the cheese, and then she started putting together the burgers.  First the bottom bun was covered with a layer of chili.  Then a patty.  It was just then that my brain made the connection - I had ordered a double.  When you look at one patty it's pretty big, and you think that that's your burger - but then you realize, "Oh God...  I ordered a double, didn't I?"  And then you see a second patty go on top, and you wonder what you were thinking.  Then comes the bacon (deep fried in a fryer next to the griddle), then a fat slice of tomato (again, cut by hand, right over the burger), then the lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mayo, and finally the top bun.

That's a normal sized styrofoam plate the burger is sitting on.
Miss Ann is notoriously against cell phone use, but I just had to ask her helper if I could take a picture of my burger.  "It's your burger, isn't it?"  That was as good of a green light as I was going to get, so I managed to snap off a few shots before I felt like it would be a good idea to put my phone away.

The first thing I thought when I bit into this burger - it was good.  Nevermind that it was as big as my head... it was tasty.  The patties, although lacking a crust and cooked to almost well-done, were juicy and had a great beefy flavor.  The onions were nicely griddled.  The slathering of chili on the bottom of the burger added some additional moistness and flavor, and didn't seem to disintegrate the bottom of the bun like I thought it would.  I'm not sure why I was surprised that it actually tasted good - maybe I was just thinking that I was getting quantity vs. quality here.  Apparently you can still get both.  Now, is this a Bocado burger?  Holeman and Finch?  No.  But it's not trying to be, either.

The guts of a Ghetto burger.

Seriously, what was I thinking?  This is a ton of food.
I don't know why... maybe it was because I didn't want to disappoint Miss Ann, or maybe it was because I wanted to prove to my coworkers that I could, but I was determined to eat all of this.  And so I did.

Me after eating my entire meal.
I waddled out of Ann's, feeling as though I had just set off a nuclear bomb in my gut.  Totally worth it, but I might ask for a to-go box next time.

I've heard rumors that Miss Ann was thinking about selling the establishment.  I'm not sure when or if this will happen, but you may want to go check it out soon.  Arrive early, be polite, and don't do anything that might get you kicked out.  And for God's sake, ask for a to-go box.

Get there early.
Panda: I was bad.
Mango: What did you do?
Panda: .....
Mango: Sigh. What did you eat?


  1. Nice of you to take one for us Kim

  2. that's awesome, I heard of this place and could never find it.