Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Under New Ownership

During our last trip through Cottonwood, AZ, we stopped at Bing’s Burger Station for lunch one day—an experience that we fondly remembered. So a return to Bing’s was a “given” even though this Cottonwood stay would be short.

Everything looked the same. You still expect Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) and Buz Murdock (George Maharis) to pull up in front in their classic Corvette convertible.

The giant gas station attendant still gives customers a snappy salute when the walk through the doors.

And antique gas pumps are still strategically placed throughout the dining room.

“Bing’s is located in an early 1940’s service station. Originally the service station began its life as an Atlantic Richfield station…. The building is all metal, but has been updated with a stucco exterior.

The original bay doors have long since been removed, but when looking at the front of the building you will notice the two sets of
four-panel windows on either side of the front entrance, which were the original location for two service bay doors.

“Inside Bing’s you will notice a functioning garage door over the entrance to the patio. While the door has been updated, its original purpose was to allow service station personnel access to the current patio area to perform mechanical service to customer vehicles…” (

But upon our arrival we learned that Bing’s founder, Judd Wasden, had sold the business about a year ago to Stonie, Debbie and Sam Orth. So while the externals look the same, does the heart of an old-fashioned burger joint still beat true? We are happy to say “yes”.

Now when you look at the massive array of food we ordered, do understand that we arrived at about 3:00 p.m., and that this would be our only post-breakfast meal of the day.

For me it was the single cheeseburger to which I added bacon and a “garden” of lettuce, tomato, and onion. This remains a great old-fashioned hamburger made from 100% pure ground chuck that is never frozen, and the patties are hand-formed daily.

Cooked on a flattop, mine (and Chuck’s) developed that wonderful crust that conveys an intense beefy flavor. And while I forgot to specify a degree of doneness, the burger was very juicy—even at medium well. And for additional burger perfection, they come on a toasted bun.

Chuck vacillated between the double cheeseburger and a single cheeseburger with a hot dog. The latter won. His burger was as good as mine even though—purist that he is—his only add-on was onion.

And the hot dog was no skinny, stadium-type dog. This was a jumbo quarter-pound dog that had been grilled and then nestled into another toasted and seeded bun. I am no great fan of hot dogs (except for the Sonoran dogs in Tucson), but will admit that with its slightly smoky flavor this was a pretty good hot dog.

As did the previous owner, the Orths cook their French fries in rice oil. I love shoestring fries and these were virtually oil free and nicely crisp.

The only downside to the meal was our shared order of onion rings. And I think this is mainly due to personal preference. We like our rings thinly sliced and lightly beer battered. To us, the onion rings in Southern Louisiana are perfect—especially those served at 2Paul’s in Lafayette. These rings, like most of the rings we have encountered since leaving Louisiana, were thick-cut and thickly-coated. For the style, they were well-prepared. They just weren’t the style we like.

I am torn about the rating. Do I deduct for the onion rings? Or do I assume that others would really like them? So I’ll hedge. I’ll deduct 0.5 Addies and award Bing’s Burger Station 4.5 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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