Monday, July 26, 2010

Whitey's- The Infamous Richfield Burger

"R" grew up in Richfield, and he has been jabbering on about Whitey's Booze N' Burgers since I met him three years ago. Serving customers since 1953, they are known for their burgers, chili (and a burger with chili), fresh-cut french fries, and other bar fare. For two years, we have been creating situations in our head where we would be near Richfield and could stop in so that I could finally try one of these well-loved burgers- but it never seemed to happen. We even pulled into the parking lot one time to find them closed for the evening.

Last week, Tom over at Exploring Food My Way posted a review of Whitey's, and it helped remind me that "R" and I needed to fulfill our quest. The opportunity presented itself last night when we needed to make a quick stop at a friend's house in Richfield. We then headed over to the restaurant and pulled into a packed parking lot. The volleyball court was in full use, and a line of people were waiting to be seated. So we saddled up to the bar after our eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. Tom wasn't kidding about the low lighting in this place. Once I stepped inside the front door, I actually had to stop and let "R" lead the way to the hostess station because I could not see a darn thing. It is hands-down the darkest bar that I have ever been in, so that meant no pictures of the food!

We started with an order of their Wings, which were on special for 35 cents a wing that night. Each order includes two dipping sauces. Since the battered and fried wings come undressed, you can choose from ranch, blue cheese, BBQ, hot, teriyaki or honey mustard. Wanting the traditional flavors of good hot wings- we opted for the hot sauce and blue cheese dressing as our two selections. The wings arrived quickly, and they were still steaming so we knew that they were fresh out of the fryer. Being served "un-sauced" and battered in a coating similar to that of onion rings, the wings were certainly different than your average bar wings. We really enjoyed them, but my one complaint is that they were relatively tiny. I would have preferred that they have a little more meat on them.

Next up were the burgers. "R" chose the Czar- swiss cheeseburger smothered with mushrooms, grilled onions, and blue cheese dressing. I decided to try the Maggie (named after the original owner's wife)- cheeseburger overloaded with mushrooms and grilled onions. Instead of American cheese, I asked for crumbled blue instead. I have to admit, when the plates arrived I was a little turned off. Apparently any burger that includes mushrooms arrives with a heaping pile of sauteed mushrooms on your burger, and then they fill the rest of the plate with mushrooms. The entire plate was swimming in mushrooms, including covering up the large pickle spear. This caused the poor pickle to wilt and become warm mush when I bit into it. The mushrooms weren't even good mushrooms. They appeared to be the oily kind out of a can. It's sad to say, but my entire opinion of this burger became tainted by the overwhelming display of mushrooms. In the end, it was a good burger- but not great. The meat by itself had very little flavor and lacked some basic seasoning. The bun held up well, and any bite that included all of the components was tasty and juicy. They certainly do know how to cook a burger as specified. My medium burger arrived hot with a slightly pink center, and the medium rare burger that "R" ordered was served as requested. Cooking a burger perfectly is no small feat, and it did not go unnoticed.

We happened to be seated next to the area where all bar food arrives from the kitchen, so we got a good look at several of the menu items coming out. I may not be running back to Whitey's for a burger, but I do think we'll be back to try some of their other items! It's a great hometown bar with a clear following of regular fans. If it was a little bit closer to home we'd probably be caught there more often. If you're ever in the area, it is certainly worth stopping in. A dozen wings, two heaping burgers, two tall beers and one short beer ran us just over $30- a steal. Heck, even if you're not in the area some think it's worth the drive. One customer last night thought so- he had driven all the way from Cleveland Heights just for a burger and a beer! I won't award them "best burger", but it was certainly good and Whitey's is a fun experience. Just cross your fingers that the woman at the bar who wouldn't stop talking to the bartender about her outbreak of poison ivy isn't there when you dine. I could have done without being forced to overhear that conversation while I was eating.

Whitey's Booze N' Burgers
3600 Brecksville Road
Richfield, Ohio 44286


Tino said...

Thanks for the link!

I guess I'm glad I hadn't ordered a burger with mushrooms on them as I hate the canned ones, so slimy and so little flavor. That they also covered the entire plate would've been a turn-off for me, too.

Although I only wrote about them once, I have been there twice now and both burgers were consistently underseasoned. I don't suspect that will change anytime soon.

ClevelandPoet said...

oh man you can't kill the pickle like that.

Dine O Mite! said...

Whitey's (for me) is memorable for all the wrong reasons. I'm not a fan. I suppose if I lived in the Richfield, Hinkley, Bath area I might go there, but outside of that I wouldn't waste the time or the gas. My vote for best burger goes to L'Albatros.

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

My big mistake at Whitey's was ordering that chili burger. What's grosser than a burger buried under canned mushrooms? A burger swimming in chili! Now I just order simple burgers and their awesome fries and enjoy every bite.