Saturday, February 7, 2009

Burger road trip

Around Thanksgiving I was at Dotty's Dumpling. There I ran into owner Jeff Stanely. I actually go there every few weeks now. I know most of the wait staff by name, is that good or bad!?!? I was talking burgers with Jeff and he gave me a place to try. Paul's Tavern in Dubuque IA. Now I have gone on a one day burger run before that is an hour drive, this would be about an hour and a half plus drive. This will be about 195 round trip. I have been trying to get there for the past two months but weather or something else came up. Finally I had a nice day for the drive from Madison WI to Dubuque.

I get to Paul's about 12:30 pm. Be ready when you walk in! There are wildlife trophies everywhere.
All the wildlife trophies are Paul's. Paul's Tavern has about 4 booths and about 16 stools. I take a seat at the bar, I could not get a seat close to the cook. I look up and there is a Polar Bear staring at me. There is about 12 of us at the bar with people coming in and going out. I get a soda and tell the bartender I will order in a bit. What I want to do is just sit and take in what is going on. Little did I know that I will get a lot of info talking with the staff. I think I learned what to ask when I was on a burger research with George.

Now the oven/broiler was made by Norge. I was told it was called a Broilator. I search the web and found Norge but not the broilator stove. I did find an ad though, Norge. When you open the door, the pan slides out towards the cook. The burgers are cooked on both sides by a flame, so no flipping. The burger is fresh and made by hand daily. It is a 90/10 blend and I was told it is about 1/4 lb. The burger is served on a toasted white squishy bun (pictured are my burgers and bun.) They will cook to order and the toppings are cheese, tomato, onion if you want. The Broilator can hold up to 8 burgers at a time. This Norge Broilator was made in 1932 and was new to Paul's in 1948. The original owner Paul is 82 and now his brother Tom has own the place for 18 yrs. Dave another brother works there also and who gave me most of the information about the burger and Paul's. I was told most of the staff is family by a regular.

My burger was HOT, I ordered a Hamburger and a Cheeseburger. No toppings just some yellow mustard. I liked the Cheeseburger best. The toasted white squishy bun was a nice touch. It was not lightly toasted this was done. The price is cheap also, 2 burgers, 2 sodas and a beer under $10.

This place is unique and some people may call it a dive. To me it is a it is a local bar that has it regulars and has not changed in a long time. Nothing fancy here, just a place people go to talk, drink and have a burger. Saturdays are the busiest day for burgers. The day before Thanksgiving and Christmas they offer free turkey and dressing. They serve more burgers that day then they serve the turkey and dressing. Could it be because the next day people will be having it for dinner, I doubt that. Who would pass up a free meal and order burgers instead? Dumb question, I would! What I will remember about Paul's besides the animals mounted on the wall is the way my burgers where cooked. Hopefully I can find some more info on the Norge Broilator. As I am getting ready to leave the jukebox starts to get played. I better get going before one of the regulars grabs me for a dance, I think to myself. I shake hands with Dave and tell him I will be back. An hour and a half trip seems short when you have a good time.

Paul's Tavern
176 Locust St. Dubuque

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Harmony Bar & Grill

This event happen on January 17th 2009.

Took my seat close to the griddle as I could. I usually try to do this when I visit places. I do this because I get to watch and second I can talk to the cook or waitstaff. To me it is another Wisconsin Tavern. The decor is great! Once again look at the ceiling, the decorative molding, it is like the Main Depot.
Harmony is also a great place to hear Jazz.

Now they sell a lot of Walnut Burgers.... which is a veggie burger. No go for me!! I order a Cheeseburger and fries. The burger is a 1/3 lb. fresh patty. Watching it cook on the griddle, it seemed bigger then a 1/3 lb. The griddle must be on a low setting, it seemed the burgers were on it along time. I am talking 5 minute plus a side it seemed.

The Cheeseburger arrives...I am starving, no breakfast. The Cheeseburger comes on what I call a kaiser bun. It is not a hard roll like you would think but a lot of bun. I am thinking too much for this burger....maybe a 1/2 lb. burger but not a smaller one. Like I said it was on the griddle along time... That being said it is a flavorful, beefy burger. Not dried out and not the juiciest burger either. The burger hit the spot though.

Overall the Harmony is a people's place, neighborhood bar. Blue Collar, hardworking people mixed with the "Professionals." It is a place people got to relax and unwind. I know I will be back. Maybe next time I will try a Walnut Burger....HA HA!!!

Hamburger America Gear

Well time to catch up with things. Been awhile since I put a post up. Have to flash back to Christmas. My family knows I am a burger nut and they even encourage it. Heck my brother and Dad have gone on a few burger hunts with me. Pictured is some clothes I got for Christmas. That is a Hamburger America T-shirts, notebook and apron. I guess they are buttering me up so I take them on more burger hunts.