In yesterday’s blog, Chuck said that we chose Lindy’s on 4th over the Guatemalan restaurant next door because he wasn’t feeling adventurous. Trust me, a meal at Lindy’s is an adventure.
Lindy's on Fourth is a burger joint on North 4th Avenue in Tucson that is co-owned by and named after former Che's Lounge (a bar just down the street) doorman Lindy Reilly and was the focus of an episode of the Travel Network's "Man v. Food."
"I almost cried," Reilly said when he heard about the visit by the show's star. "I have busted my ass for so long, so this kind of validation means so much. I’ve sacrificed my health, my marriage, so much.... It’s kind of like watching your kid graduate, you know?"
The show's star, Adam Richman, attempted to eat the O.M.G. Burger—a three-pound monstrosity made up of twelve patties, twelve slices of cheese and all the fixings. He didn't finish it in the twenty-minute time frame that makes the meal free, but did eventually consume the monstrosity which guaranteed him a spot on the wall of fame (see the wall of photos in the right hand corner of the mirror in the photo, above). (A patron tried to steal Richman's picture off the wall recently, something Reilly said he dealt with "with extreme prejudice.")
Lindy says business has doubled since the restaurant was featured on the Travel Channel. "It turned it from a bus ride into a freight-train ride," said Reilly. Lindy's used to get about two O.M.G. challenges a week, but between twenty to twenty-five people have taken it on each week since the episode aired. Despite the boost in sales, Reilly hasn't let the brush with fame go to his head. He says that he likes the smallish, homey digs on North 4th Avenue and that there aren't any plans for expanding any time soon. For the time being, he's working like usual, adding a few tables, and revamping the menu to include ginger-wasabi and habanero burgers.
Upon entering, we immediately noticed that everyone in there (with the exception of the staff) was half our age. This is a young person’s hangout.
We took the only remaining two seats at the bar and noticed something amiss. The bar stools were of normal height but the bar was proportioned for Paul Bunyan and the height ended somewhere around our arm pits. No elbows on the table here. You can’t raise them that high.
I am sure that there were some non-burger items on the menu, but I must admit to paying no attention to anything other than the burgers. Lindy’s offers two “Burger Eating Challenges.” First is the AZ Hooligan - six quarter-pound patties (one and a half pounds of glorious meat), cheddar and Swiss cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Lindy’s sauce ($14.99). If you finish this burger you get your picture on the Hooligan wall. The Second is the aforementioned O.M.G. Burger - twelve quarter-pound patties (three pounds) of Vitamin G fortified meat, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Lindy’s sauce. (Chuck and I assume that Vitamin G refers to Vitamin Grease, but aren’t certain.) Finish this burger and get your picture on the wall and a $5.00 gift certificate. Finish in less than twenty minutes and the $19.99 burger is free.
For those with less hearty appetites, Lindy’s offers a long list of more manageable burgers. I was surprised that Mr. Potato (Chuck) didn’t bite (pun intended) at The Picnic Basket – Lindy’s original burger topped with potato salad (yes, it’s ON the burger). Or, if you want to combine breakfast with lunch, you can order the Blue Suede Cow – a hamburger topped with peanut butter, bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and, onion. Or you could order (you could, I wouldn’t) the 2-Finger Peek-a-Boo – mushrooms, onion rings, Swiss, Lindy’s sauce, lettuce, tomato and, onion - all between two grilled cheese sandwiches.
Chuck eschewed all of Lindy’s creativity and ordered the Lindy’s Original (the OG) which was a burger with Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Lindy's sauce on a sesame seed roll with a side of fries (if they are crinkle fries, you know they are frozen). It was an o.k. burger with decent flavor, but had an odd texture. The same odd texture we have encountered with any burger we’ve eaten in Tucson. Even the meatloaf I made this past weekend had the same texture. I am not sure what it is, but I suspect that the meat is ground finer than we are accustomed to.
I tiptoed into creativity by ordering the Rusty Trombone – a burger patty sitting on a bed of chili and topped with fried onion rings, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Since onion rings as a side was the same price as fries as a side, I chose the former, and Chuck and I shared the sides.
When my plate hit the bar, I debated the best approach to tackling the burger. Do I just leave everything on the plate and pretend that I am participating in a pie eating contest? Maybe that’s why the bar is so high. Do I pick it up? After a few attempts and much chili fallout, I realized that this was not working. So I finally wimped out and asked for a knife and fork. Even though the cutlery was plastic, this was a better option. Mine had the same texture anomaly, but the chili was decent, if only lightly spiced. The onion rings also probably came from a bag.
This is another one of those restaurants that one goes to for the experience and not necessarily the food and can’t rate anything higher than a 3.5 Addie rating.