Burly's is no longer open.
Burly's Burgers, Fries & Shakes
662 Madison Avenue
There was a lot of buzz about Burly's Burgers, Fries & Shakes when it opened, so I had to check it out. After a successful lunch with co-workers, I enticed Warren, the monkeys (Satchel, 9, and Jiro, 7), and the monkeys' friend, Kai, to go for dinner last Saturday night.
As you can see, Burly's is heavily lacking in curb appeal. I'll go ahead and credit nearby neighbor, The Trolley Stop Market, for making most of us feel "safe" checking it out.
You can enter from the front or the back, but either way, it's kinda sketchy. Actually the back is sketchiest as it requires walking up a flight of steps. The interior is nice enough--nothing special. The stark decor in combination with the bold red and black color scheme leads me to believe that Burly doesn't have a woman in his life to add that much appreciated "woman's touch."
When we arrived around 6:30pm, there were a few other tables, but it was far from bustling. Since they cook everything to order, that was just fine with me. I had three hungry monkeys in tow and I was concerned about a long wait. Even though Burly's looks as though it's a place where you'd order at the counter, get your own drink and napkins, and sit down and wait for a number to be called, it offers table service. Our waitress came over to give us menus and take our drink order. Since the name of the restaurant is Burly's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, naturally we were interested in trying the shakes.
"We're out of ice cream," the waitress said.
"You're kidding," I said. They were out of ice cream three days earlier when I came to lunch with my co-workers. The explanation given was that they were open 24/7 during Music Fest weekend and ran out. I was willing to accept that explanation on Wednesday, but not Saturday.
"How hard is it to go to the store and buy ice cream?" I asked.
"I think the Blue Bell delivery is a bit sporadic," the waitress replied.
They have Blue Bell signs everywhere, so I imagine they feel the need to serve Blue Bell, but come on. If one out of your three main menu items is not available, it makes you look really, really bad. I've seen Ben Vaughn stocking up at Piggly Wiggly. Surely, Burly could make a Sam's run.
The fact that we'd hit Jerry's Sno Cones earlier in the day allowed me to get over not having a shake with dinner. I went ahead and let the monkeys order sodas, figuring they'd get combos, when I discovered at my previous lunch that ordering hamburgers and fries separately doesn't yield a larger serving of fries. It just costs more and doesn't include a drink.
By the time our waitress came back with our respective sodas, we were ready to order. Burly's offers a kid's combo, so I asked how big the burgers were. When the waitress said they were on the small side, I went ahead and let the monkeys order full size burgers. They've been on a serious eating kick lately. Kai insisted he only wanted fries and wasn't hungry, but I convinced him to get a kid's burger just in case. Once our order was in, we commenced with the waiting.
The monkeys were pretty jacked up from a day of activity and just generally being together, so giving them sodas and then asking them to sit still for thirty minutes was pretty torturous. They were playing a verbal version of TF2 (Team Fortress 2) which was pretty intense as you can see from the pictures.
Every so often they would pause and Jiro would ask, "Where's my hamburger?" I assured him it was cooking--we could smell them. Then Kai, whose dad is a chef, would optimistically add, "Well, at least we know it's fresh."
While we waited, the waitress did her best to avoid us. I saw her check on every other table, escape to the back to wash cups, etc. Taking a cue from another patron, I went up to the soda fountain and got refills for the table. (I switched the monkeys to water.) I saw a man I believed to be Burly come out to chat with another table, then disappear outside. I also saw a girl come in who appeared to be making deliveries. I even saw the man I believe to be the main hamburger maker, come out and hang by the counter for awhile.
I felt guilty for bringing three hungry kids, knowing there might be a long wait. I should know better by now.
Eventually our food did come out--our order was 100% correct much to my surprise and delight. We couldn't wait to dig in.
I had the Farm Burger (with bacon and a fried egg) at lunch and loved it, but I wanted to try the Blue Bacon (with blue cheese and bacon) with a side of Buffalo fries. (I think the most exciting thing at Burly's is the variety of flavors for the fries.) It looked and tasted great. Burly burgers are total Home Burgers, which I consider a good thing. The bacon was crispy and cooked to perfection. I want to eat Buffalo fries until I explode, leaving just a puddle of hot sauce behind.
Warren ordered the Burly Texas burger (with salsa, chili, jalapeno, and cheese on Texas toast) with regular fries. It was so freaking spicy. I have no idea how he ate the whole thing.
Jiro got a regular Burly Burger with regular fries and ate every single bite.
Satchel ordered the Bacon Bacon burger minus the lettuce and ate all but just a few bites. He got the garlic parmesan fries with the garlic parmesan on the side. He really liked those too, but was crazy jealous of my Buffalo fries. I did agree to exchange a few with him, though, because he is my baby and I love him.
Kai's burger was really tiny, and he was glad to have it. The wait definitely increased his appetite. He also had Buffalo fries and loved them.
What none of us loved about the fries was the fact that we had so few of them. Due to our hunger, I didn't count them while we were there, but looking at the pics, it seems that they give you maybe 15. The "healthy choices" part of me is really quite pleased with this. Once you eat the whole burger and the 15 fries, you are pretty darn full. I can't even imagine the pain that a milkshake would bring, should they ever restock the ice cream. But, I think there should be more. Especially if you don't get the combo, and you order separately. (Maybe my lunch order was a snafu. I haven't done a just order fries test.)
All in all, I'd say the food is worth the wait, but I wish the service was better. I really wish they'd move to an order at the counter and sit down model. Once our waitress brought the food, she had to go back for napkins, ketchup, etc. I don't know, maybe they could just already have those items on the table.
Burly's does deliver, and that might be the way to go assuming you plan about an hour ahead. I was told that they do the sauce on the side when you get fries to go, so it may or may not be as good as having them in the restaurant.
Burgers range from $6.50 to $8.50 and combos, which include fries and a drink, range from $8.50 to $10.75. (If you want flavored fries with the combo, add another $.50.) Warren thinks it's over priced and would rather get a Big Red burger at the Trolley Stop. I don't think I'm going to crave the burgers as much as I will the fries. OMG, the fries! I hope they get their act together and stay in business. There's definitely a lot of potential here.
As a side note--Jiro and I checked out the bathrooms. No changing table, but clean enough.