FOOD: Surviving Burger Jones

WARNING: The following article, unusually for us, is very NSFW. Please do not read this if you are under the age of 18, or if you are somebody who works for Parasole Restaurant Holdings.

Burger Jones. The name fills me with fear. How can I possibly explain why? What words will describe the imagined world of Burger Jones, otherwise a small Minnesotan chain of hamburger restaurants? What will atone for what we have invented? Is it simply too late?

Burger Jones was opened in 2009 by Parasole Restaurant Holdings, a small restaurateur business that owns several other restaurants across the Twin Cities. Like what must now be 80% of restaurants in the United States, it is a hamburger restaurant. It serves hamburgers. Its named “Burger Jones”. This isn’t hard math. 

But there is a darker side to Burger Jones, a dripping, turgid mess, that is a complete and utter fantasy invented by us here at Eggware.XYZ as one of the stupidest running jokes ever devised. We’d like to apologize to any members of Parasole Restaurant Holdings, or any other employee of the Burger Jones who might stumble upon this article, but our tale must be told. We’ve lived with this for too long, and now that we have finally dined at Burger Jones, you must all share our pain.

We are so, so sorry.

Let us make this clear: Burger Jones fucks those burgers. He fucks every single burger his restaurant has ever produced, and to dine at Burger Jones is to invite yourself into another world of debauchery untold, the place where dreams and nightmares meet to create something new all together.

We saw Burger Jones for the first time in the summer of 2012. We were just out and about – who knows what we were doing? Chores? Just going for a sunday drive? Possibly even looking for a place to eat? It’s lost to the sands of time. But we were certainly driving up in the Lake Street area of Minneapolis, when we saw something that would change our lives. We saw him.

The mascot of Burger Jones is – we assume – Mr. Burger Jones himself. He’s a clean-cut Buddy Holly type, with the classic 50s flat top, thick-framed glasses, and a suit. Why did we do this to him? All we can say is that it was his smug, smug face that did us in. Burger Jones is almost never not depicted holding a massive burger in front of him. We have only seen two times where he was not holding the burger: once on the restaurant’s beer menu, where he is holding an enormous glass of beer; and once in an advertisement for the Meat Your Maker challenge, where he is holding an even bigger burger that has a knife phallically impaled through it, onion rings precariously balanced on the top. In all of these, he has the same expression: he’s side-eyeing the viewer, with a slight twist of amusement in the corner of his mouth.

Why is he making that face over a burger? It being so gargantuan aside, it’s a burger.  There was only one answer that could come to our minds, one that might expose a great deal about us as people: he is going to have sex with that burger. Why else would the burger need to be so large? Burger Jones is obviously a hamburger sex fiend, looking to draw others into his tangled web of bizarre food-related sex acts.

Things only got weirder from there. We started adding more restaurants to our twisted burgerfuck canon. I’ll spare you too many details, such as what he has you do with the onion rings. 

This burger-related sexual energy became a consistent running gag for us. Whenever we were driving around in the respective areas of Minneapolis or Burnsville where the two separate Burger Jones locations are, we would point him out, acknowledging that it was inevitable we would join his circus of blended pleasures. We entertained the prospect countless times, but always wimped out. We weren’t ready. We were afraid

It was only recently we seriously entertained going there. For a long time, the idea was totally unthinkable. We had poisoned the place in our minds. To dine at Burger Jones was to submit to the hedonistic inclinations of Mr. Jones himself, standing there in front of both Burger Jones restaurants, looking so smug, holding that enormous burger. He knew he didn’t have to convince us to go in. He could wait. He had everything he needed to pass the time.

We came close. In 2019, to celebrate Warden’s birthday, we planned on going. We got awfully close. But in the end, we chickened out and went to Outback Steakhouse. We were afraid. The idea of having to go to Burger Jones and actually sit there and eat his food overwhelmed us so much we made a last-minute decision to delay him a little longer. We would survive another year without him.

But, as we well knew, Burger Jones would catch up to us eventually. In February of 2020, as a way to commemorate one year of marriage together, we chose to go to Burger Jones. We figured that, as what might be one of the most significant milestones of our life, we just needed to bite the bullet and get it over with. We decided we’d go to the Burnsville location, as it was slightly closer and the prices were a little lower. They didn’t have the creamsicle milkshake that the Minneapolis location has, though, but if we ordered a milkshake of any kind we would have regretted it later.

The atmosphere inside was nice; it was a pretty standard “bar and grill” for the 21st century. We arrived right before the main dinner crowd had gotten there, so we were able to get seated in a relatively quiet part of the restaurant. Unfortunately this seat was right underneath a speaker for the music, but it wasn’t so loud as to make conversation impossible. But the speaker didn’t really bother us… what did bother us was the GIGANTIC MURAL OF A MAN GETTING A HAMBURGER FORCIBLY SHOVED INTO HIS MOUTH.

AUUUUUGGGHHH

Clearly, Burger Jones was everything we expected out of it. Behind us was a wall made entirely of a shelf of PBRs. The speaker above us cranked out “alternative” 90s hits like Two Princes by The Spin Doctors and Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind. It felt like we were trapped in a de-mixed version of one of Neil Cicierega’s mash-up albums. The aesthetic otherwise was pretty standard for a restaurant like this: exposed brick, wood flooring, ductwork snaking across the ceiling, etc.

We ordered a six-piece of lemon pepper chicken wings, a plate of poutine, and two hamburgers. This is a lot of food for us to get normally, but since it was our anniversary, we deserved to go crazy. The service there was pretty nice – a little slow, but nothing that wasn’t to be expected at a restaurant of this quality. Our server was nice, polite, and checked in on us regularly. So far so good… they hadn’t even asked us to put on any blindfolds yet.

We’d like to note: as we had gotten married on Valentine’s Day (romantic!), Burger Jones was at the time running a promotion where you could get a bottle of Dom Perignon and two burgers for only one hundred and forty dollars. We did not spring for this. Basking in the pure, powerful sexual energy of Mr. Jones himself was enough.  

Our appetizers – the wings and poutine – came out pretty promptly, and oh, boy, were they good! The wings were super crispy, and the flesh was tender and juicy. The lemon pepper seasoning was tangy and very salty, in just the right way. But the poutine was something we had been looking forward to. This was our first time trying poutine, and holy hell were we into it. The fries were thin shoestrings drenched in a thin beef gravy and loaded, I mean LOADED with cheese curds. This could’ve been a meal in itself! The gravy was rich, velvety and boldly beefy. The curds weren’t “squeaky” in the way that fresh cheese curds are supposed to be, but it was fine, because these were so melty and flavorful that they added up to the best damn plate of cheese fries we’ve ever had. 

That’s just the appetizers, though. If you must eat at Burger Jones, you must have a burger. Burger Jones offers a wide variety of burgers, from a “build your own” option to a number of pre-designed house burgers. We had almost no choice but to order the “Bacon-gasm” burger, which might be the most embarrassing thing to have to say directly to a server ever. It seemed promising: this horrendously-named sandwich is composed of jalapeño bacon, a housemade bacon-onion marmalade, fried onion strings, bacon mayo, and pepper jack cheese. Burger Jones offers their burgers either well-done or a little pink; we got ours pink.

The poutine had let our guards down. We had forgotten what we had signed up for. The burger was our sobering reminder: it came to us absolutely, completely, totally soaked. It was dripping wet. Even the buns were soaked through. What happened? Did he – no, he couldn’t have… could he? The bun was also branded with a “BJ” logo, something that was so deeply symbolic of the sexual energy running beneath the whole experience that it broke us a little.

But we’ve got to acknowledge it eventually: the burger was very good. The patty itself hit the right combination of crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, and was rich and flavorful from all that fat. The bacon-on-bacon-on-bacon approach worked wonderfully, with tons of crunch and smoky flavor. We loved the onion strings; fried onions on burgers is one of our favorite toppings, and these guys knew how to make a string that was crispy and not at all slimy inside. 

These burgers were big, too, despite only having one patty. They were loaded high with toppings which contributed to their gut-bomb factor, and we’re sorry to say that we could not finish our entire burgers. It was 100% our fault for filing up on appetizers beforehand. To be fair, it was our anniversary and we wanted to indulge massively. We ended up just taking the poutine and our fries home with us.

Speaking of fries, Burger Jones offers sweet potato fries as an upgrade option for your side and Paula decided to get them. It was kind of a mistake, as these didn’t seem to be as salted – they ended up poaching fries from the poutine to cut through the endless grease. The sweet potato fries were very sweet, which became overbearing combined with the fattiness of the burger. If you like sweet potato fries, these are some of the best we’ve ever had… they just don’t pair very well. 

Overall, the experience at Burger Jones was fantastic. It was pricey – the total bill came around the same as what we would normally pay at one of the chain steakhouses we like to eat at on other dates – but well worth it for one of the best burgers we’ve ever had. And can we talk a little more about that poutine? Amazingly good! Oh, and the wings too, still can’t believe how crisp they were… No. No, this is how they get us. They draw you in with the good food and pleasant atmosphere, and before you know it you’re getting hot beef drippings poured over your back by Burger Jones himself at the center of his Hamburger Harem. 

But oh man, eating that much red meat made us sick later.

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