Day 11: The Fast-Food Burger

1 Aug

I’ve been passing by the giant wall mural advertising “Choppers – Home of the Chop-pak” ever since I moved to Chicago, and I’ve always wanted to know what exactly a Chop-pak is. I had the same reaction to the “Redamak’s – Bite Into a Legend” billboard outside of New Buffalo. I am living proof that billboards do work.

The Chop-pak is, according to Choppers, “The Happy Meal for Adults.” That means it doesn’t come with a toy. It does come with a double cheeseburger, coleslaw, and fries. Let me just say that I’m getting really tired of fries. Burgers tend to be different from place to place, but fries are fries: skinny, fat, or steak, dipping sauce or no dipping sauce, the essence of the fried potato remains remarkably unchanged. At this point, I would really like some onion rings. Or a salad.

But back to the burger. Unlike the other places I’ve been frequenting, Choppers is a true neighborhood fast-food place, the kind of place that’s ubiquitous in Chicago, serving up burgers and Italian beefs to hungry teenagers and construction workers. The burger itself reminded me of a Whopper back when they actually tasted good: slightly chewy, well-charred, covered with American cheese. The fries were of the steak variety, and probably from Ore-Ida. The coleslaw was – well, it’s nice to get a veg, isn’t it?

Choppers real claim to fame is the milkshake, and I’ll have to agree. My apple pie shake was so thick the straw stood up. And you can mix and match to come up with delicious combos like peanut butter chocolate.

I will say that going to Choppers made me appreciate the quality of the burgers at places like Edzo’s or Epic Burger; all that fresh-grinding and hand-forming sounds pretentious, but really does make a difference. I don’t know what Patty Burger’s excuse is.  

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