The old gang from my previous employer gets together every time one of them wises up and walks off the job. It isn’t the kind of place you give two-weeks notice. You just get fed up and choose whether to come in to the office armed, or simply storm out of the building with your middle finger held aloft. (EnyaFace! was the first of a long stream of FU's and we're hoping DawgMan gets out of there next...) Two more had bit the dust, so we decided to meet for lunch. This time at Champp’s.
I hadn’t been there before, but as it turns out, it’s a lot like Major’s or Jake’s, if you’re familiar with those place. Or a downscale Granite City without the microbrew activity, for those in need of a more national scale comparison.
The menu is pretty comprehensive, but on the day we went, the burgers were all half price. Cha-ching. I was hungry for a burger anyway. Then I had to decide between 7 or 8 delicious-looking burgers. I finally got it narrowed down to the Firehouse burger. It has red and yellow bell peppers, green chiles, poblano peppers, onions, chipotle Tabasco, Cajun seasoning, pepperjack cheese, and sliced jalapenos on top. Sounded top-notch, especially when paired with the waffle fries that come with it.
The food came out quickly, since they pride themselves on doing a quick lunch rush turnaround. The burger looked pretty good, honestly. I know a lot of the people around me were picking off the jalapenos, which I found amusing, but then it started to make me a little nervous. Did they know something I didn’t? I stuck by my guns and kept everything on the burger they brought out. I was going to conquer this burger as designed. The meat itself was juicy and tasty – really quality stuff. However, I was super underwhelmed by the lack of heat in this Firehouse burger. I thought it would be tons spicier, and it ended up not being much kick at all. Not much more than ketchup and some pepperjack maybe. I thought I’d be sweating, but I was just disappointed.
I think I might have had the expectation set too high, awaiting the heat. It just never showed up to the party. What’s bad about the experience was that the burger itself was really good. I could tell that, honestly. But I just wanted some fire along with it. I think next time, I’ll order a different burger, knowing it will be just as tasty, and then I won’t expect any heat. The other burgers on the menu looked great, as well, so I’d probably not be disappointed with any of them.
The waffle fries are delicious as usual, so not much to report on that. Just a big let down on the heat-aspect of the lunch. I’ll go back to Champp’s at some point, I’m guessing. Maybe not my first choice for a full-service restaurant, but it’s right around the corner from work, so it’s easy to get to for lunch if I have to.