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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Burger Nuts ups the ante on freebies

I recently got a bevy of coupons in the mail for all sorts of random freebies from local businesses. One of them was for good for one free burger up to a $5 value at Burger Nuts, so when my stomach started rumbling on Sunday night I decided to head out to the Willoughby location (36099 Euclid Ave.) and see what was cooking.

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I got to the restaurant close to closing time (hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday) and immediately was overwhelmed by my options. Seven different burgers, six different cheeses, three buns, and 35 free toppings: That’s a lot of possibilities. And those 35 freebies included a lot of items most restaurants charge for, including chili, guacamole, and meats like pepperoni, ham, salami and bacon.

I wanted to see what their basic burger was like so I opted for a single certified Angus patty. I like some spice, so I added pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, jalapeno poppers (yes, the deep-fried breaded delicious treat comes as a topping), guacamole, and tomato. I made it a combo, adding a fountain drink and a regular order of Cajun fries.

I waited while my burger was cooked on the griddle and my fries tossed in the fryer before my eyes. I also soaked up the atmosphere — vaguely fast food-esque with about a dozen tables and lots of local high school sports jerseys on the walls.

Burger Nuts also offers free peanuts to dine-in customers. The peanuts are up front next to the napkins and plastic cutlery, but I abstained because I was taking my order to go.

My order took a little while to cook, but that’s to be expected when food is made fresh to order.
Soon enough I was out the door with a plain brown paper bag loaded with food.

The food traveled pretty well. Burger Nuts seems to be on the Penn Station school of thought when it comes to fries — overfill the container and then throw in some extra for good measure — so my bag ended up with a pile of fries at the bottom.

My burger was wrapped in aluminum allowing it to stay toasty, though it did have a little gooey cheese sticking to the aluminum. 

Ooey-gooey Burger Nuts burger seen right after unwrapping and a short eight-minute car ride.

I thought the burger was tasty. The pretzel bun was delicious and doughy. Burger Nuts website tells me they are baked fresh each night at Orlando Bakery in Cleveland and shipped to the eatery every morning. The burger itself was juicy and maybe a tad more pink than I would have liked from a place I’m not familiar with yet. I tend to like steaks medium rare, and this burger qualified in that category. 

I really enjoyed the heat from the pepper jack and jalapenos blended with the crunch of the jalapeno popper and the refreshing guacamole and tomato. 

My biggest complaint is the amount of guacamole on my burger seemed paltry. I initially thought they forgot the guacamole before realizing it was underneath the patty instead of on top like the rest of the toppings. But, hey, free guacamole — even in small portions — is better than the $1 or more most places charge to add it to an item (I’m looking at you, Chipotle. $1.80 extra for guac?). 

A regular Cajun fries from Burger Nuts is more than enough for one person.

The Cajun fries were fresh and delicious, with a nice crunchy exterior and a good blend of salt and spices. The regular was a massive amount of fries, easily enough to split between two people. I imagine the large is designed to be split among a family of four. 

All in all, Burger Nuts is a good solid step up from fast food fare without all the frills of sit-down restaurant service. My order rang in at $8.44 before my coupon dropped the price, but I think my food was probably worth the slightly indulgent price.

Beyond the burgers and fries, which come in regular and sweet potato varieties as well as Cajun, are an array of sides and other standard diner fares and desserts. 

I’m looking forward to trying more from Burger Nuts. It’s nice to see a locally owned business thriving and providing great food. According to the coupon I received in the mail, there’s another location in Mentor-on-the-Lake at 5909 Andrews Road, but I could find nothing to support that online.  

I’m told the old-fashioned, hand-dipped milkshakes are fantastic. They come in five flavors, the usual vanilla, chocolate, strawberry varieties plus peanut butter cup, and an intriguing peanut butter and jelly offering.

And maybe next time I’ll get a bison burger with provolone, pesto mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion straws on multigrain or maybe a bratwurst burger with chili, cheddar cheese sauce and onion on egg bun, or perhaps chorizo with salami and pepperoni and Italian dressing on that yummy pretzel bread. The options seem endless.


Found some printable coupons online. Both are good through April 16. One is for a buy one burger at regular price get a second burger free up to $5 maximum. The other coupon is for $5 off any order of $20 or more.

Email me or tweet me some suggestions for the next time I go. I'm down for anything as long as it's bacon-free.

-- Nicole Franz | | @FranzOrFoe

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