So, just to get it out of the way, we live in Illinois now!
Yep, we moved out of the Minneapolis area and are now living in Chicagoland. It’s been a long time coming for us, but we couldn’t be happier in our new home. And the best thing about having a new home – at least to us – is all the cool new stuff in the area!
We wanted our first article after the move to be something local, not even just a fast food joint that we didn’t have in Minneapolis, but something altogether local. And it doesn’t get more local than Beef-A-Roo, the chain that has only seven locations only in Rockford, Illinois. We were enticed by Beef-A-Roo as we were looking up local restaurants because it has one of the silliest names we had ever heard. A Beef-A-Roo? What the hell is a Beef-A-Roo? Like a kiss-a-roo? From me to you? We don’t get it.
But our Illinois friends loved this place. They said it was the best. And who are we to ignore our friends about this? So we decided that the very first place we’d eat a meal at in Illinois was out at Beef-A-Roo. It truly would be a Beef-A-Roo from me to you.
We can’t stop saying “a Beef-A-Roo from me to you,” by the way. Every time we pass it, we say it. It’s getting annoying.
What Beef-A-Roo is, is a hamburger chain. It’s more than that, of course – its fundamental focus is roast beef sandwiches, as well as onion rings and cheese fries and chili and plenty of other things – but we went there for burgers. We wanted it to be something familiar, something that we could use as a yardstick to see how this place compared to every other burger joint we had ever eaten at.
There are seven Beef-A-Roo locations in Rockford, and every single one of them has a different theme. The first ever one was Wild West themed, one of them is firehouse themed, another is themed like a 50s diner, and the one we ate at, well, we don’t know what its theme is but it’s all exposed brick and ductwork and things like that and we went through the drive through anyway so we didn’t even get a good look at what it looked like inside so who cares.
The wait in this drive through was really long. Really, really long. We got our order in pretty quickly, all things considered, but once we paid we ended up waiting at that window for at least 10 minutes, and then they told us to pull forward. The line behind us had already gotten terribly long at that point and we felt like real heels. Then another 15 minutes later, our bags were carried out to us. All we could say was that it was definitely going to be hot and fresh.
And hot and fresh it was, thank goodness! Unlike other burger places, they actually put lettuce, onions, and pickles on these burgers. That’s a luxury few seem willing to afford. The pickles and onions were both crisp and flavorful, not mushy at all, while the lettuce had actual lettuce flavor. We hate fast food lettuce for being limp and watery – this was the best lettuce we had EVER had!
The burgers, as well, were impeccable. We’ve never had such crispy burgers. We’ve eaten at places that have promised “smashed” burgers before but this was the first time we had ever gotten the full experience of what that implies. We didn’t know ground meat could be so crunchy, or so flavorful. The bacon was crispy and shattered like glass between your teeth – there was never a moment where you pull out the entire chewy strip. The cheese was basic American slices which is the norm, but they were gooey and melted, not even slightly cold.
The french fries were ordinary shoestrings, but were the crispiest fries ever. We have never had fries so fresh and crisp before, even at Five Guys. Not even Checkers, which prides itself on its fries, gave us fries like this. Out of ordinary shoestrings. Wow. These are pretty ordinary freezer bag fries, and they genuinely elevated them into some of the best fried potatoes we’ve ever had. It takes a masterful hand at the fryer to do that. A lot of places we like use regular freezer-bag fries, but this is the first time we’d ever mark them as standout fries. Well done, Beef-A-Roo.
This was easily the best burger and fries meal we’ve ever had. Flavorful and crisp burgers, crispy fries – we just had to go back and sample their loaded cheese fries, something that few other fast food restaurants do. The only other fast food place we knew of that did cheese fries was Checkers, and there are no Checkers in our new area. It was of utmost importance to know how good these fries were. And they were the best.
With cheese sauce, ranch, bacon, and green onion, the underlying fries managed to stay crisp while delivering unparalleled flavor. We’ve never seen cheese fries served with green onion before, and now we don’t know why everybody isn’t doing it. The light, almost floral flavor of the onions was the perfect way to offset the fatty heaviness of the rest of the dish. These were without a doubt the best cheese fries we had ever had.
Oh, and we got some chicken tenders too. They were almost exactly like the kind you can get at Dairy Queen. Not really worth a whole review.
Beef-A-Roo is a life changer for us. This is the fast food experience we have been craving our entire lives and we didn’t even know it. This goes beyond regular fast food, fast casual, or any other quick service style of restaurant. This is just plain good food. Only a truly local place can provide that level of care, because they have to actually give a damn about the people they’re serving. And now that we’re one of those people, we couldn’t be happier to be served. We can’t wait to eat at Beef-A-Roo again, silly name and all.