Acting on a tip from one of my burger informants (not Tony B.), I investigated CJ's Butcher Boy in Russellville. Now most of you know that the What-a-Burger is in Russellville as well, so if you're gonna make burgers, you better bring it.
Let me start by telling you that I consider burgers to be a complimenting side dish to french fries. Maybe I did not make my love/devotion to french fries clear (see HERE for background). That being said, THE FRIES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING AT ANY RESTAURANT. No burger, shake, BBQ, sandwich, or any other kind of food can be properly enjoyed unless the fries are up to snuff.
Which leads me into my report on CJ's. Located literally right off exit 81 on 40 in Russellville, CJ's proclaims boldly to make the best burgers and indeed has one some "Best Of" awards recently.
The decor aspires to be 50's diner, but more realistically resembles a drive-in movie theater snack bar (not such a bad thing).
There are quaint 50's-style things on the tables, etc.
There is actually a butcher case right in front so you can see the steak they ground for the burgers and the various accoutrement.
Amy thought it was odd that the restaurant was staffed entirely with women (except for one teenage boy). Naturally, I didn't notice cause I was looking at the burgers and fries.
Let's see, what will I order. WHA? Strike one.
FIVE DOLLARS AND 28 CENTS FOR THE "SMALL" SIZE BURGER? No no no, my good woman. You must be joking. Is Russellville somehow economically linked via space/time wormhole to Beverly Hills? This better be the best burger I have ever had...
The burger came and looked good, but strike two. No cheese. I ordered it. The girl wrote it on the paper slip. But no cheese. Incidentally, we were the only people with an order in at this time.
Let's see, let me just...wait for the burger to not be looking and-AARRGH!
Juicy and fresh ground chuck as advertised. And bland. No charring/searing of the meat to produce that familiar taste. No seasoning. Meh. Amy gave the burger the sideways thumb. The Grunion gave his bottle a thumbs up and laughed at our misfortune.
And now for the fries. All I can say about these is that they were crisp (which you don't get extra points for cause they should be) and that they were hot (also, no extra points). Other than that, they were like the burger. Meh. No discernible taste to speak of. Meh. Also, we paid 10 bucks for combos and I got 32 fries (of course I counted, this is science).
Here at CJ's, for the first time EVER, Gibby left fries on the table. Not just in his basket, but in Amy's as well. BIG strike three.
The Grunion was ASTOUNDED. "Hey man, are you squandering my college fund for this?"
And so, in deference (but with great respect) to my informant (not Tony B.), I must declare that CJ's is missable. In my opinion, the burger is good, but not worth the dough, and they are not only stingy with the fries, but they are forgettable as well. Normally I do not even post a report on the joints I don't love, but I did with this place cause they so boldly declare that their burgers are the "best." Not "great" or "awesome", but the "best". And that made me kind of angry when I found out it wasn't true. Drive the extra mile to What-a-burger.
CJ's does get an honorable mention for these kick-butt topiaries out front though (the Grunion wanted a photo with them cause he wants some like em on either side of his crib and he wants to show his designer).