786 Echles St.
There's been a lot of internet chatter about Stuffy's, the "serious burger joint" over by the University of Memphis. Warren, the monkeys (Satchel, 9, and Jiro, 7) and I decided to check it out last Friday night after soccer practice. It's in the building that has been several other restaurants over on Echles. Their sign has a bit of a font issue--as in it is way too small to read--so it's a bit tricky to find unless you know exactly where it is.
We arrived around 8pm and there were just a few other tables. In the back, a young man was playing piano, and after awhile several of his friends (I presume) turned out to hear him play. But at no time would I say it was crowded.
We approached the ordering window and studied the menu. I appreciate it's simplicity. Basically at Stuffy's you need to decide if you want a single or double, what toppings (the usual lettuce, tomato, etc., fried mushrooms, fried onion, banana peppers, or jalapenos) you want, and what kind of mayonnaise (Old Bay w/dill, lemon cilantro, chipotle, bbq, hot wing with blue cheese, steak sauce, caper & dill, Italian, and horseradish). For a little extra you can get bacon, chili, or cole slaw on your burger.
I especially liked that the kids' meals were reasonably priced ($3.99) and included the option of carrots instead of fries. There was a choice of chicken tenders, wings, a burger, or a BLT. All meals come with a drink, so overall I'd say it's a pretty good deal. I ordered the monkeys each a basic burger and fries. They were drawn to the juice display on the counter, so we subbed a bottled juice for a fountain drink for an up charge. Satchel wanted some hot wing mayo on the side, which I thought was cute.
Warren and I also went with burger combos, or so we thought. Turns out only the special Taco Burger of the night came as a combo. We paid individually for the fries and drink add-ons. That was pretty dumb considering I just drank water. At least that's my explanation for our $28.14 bill.
Actually now that I look at the combo prices on the special, maybe it does add up. $8.25 for Warren's large, $7.25 for my small, and $3.99 each for the kids, plus the juice upcharge.
We got our drinks which proved a little challenging since several choices had pieces of paper taped over them with the word "out" on them. Then we went about picking a place to sit. Warren rejected a booth, or maybe it was just a table, near the wall because it looked dirty or greasy or something. Then I took the kids to the restroom to wash up since we'd just left soccer practice. Both the men's and the women's rooms were one toppers with no changing table, but only the men's was in service.
I'm going to give Stuffy's the benefit of the doubt here. With all of the internet buzz, maybe they've been slammed. Hopefully they'll be able to get everything working again soon.
Back at our table, there was a little table topper advertising Coke Zero, which Jiro referred to as "Healthy Coke." Then we had a little discussion about what actually constituted healthy. Both monkeys were thrilled when our food arrived, thus ending my lecture.
The burgers all arrive wrapped in foil.
Inside the foil is the good stuff. I ordered mine fairly standard with the addition of banana peppers and hot wing mayo. Also, supposedly it's the "Small Stuffy" though it didn't seem small at all.
Here's a close up of the hot wing mayo with blue cheese that Satchel got on the side. It wasn't especially spicy.
Warren immediately fell in love with his burger. He cooed about it's "bakery bun" and immediately started telling it that he liked it more than Huey's.
He had mushrooms and onions on his burger. Not sure on the mayo.
On to the kids. Despite being a part of the kid's meal, the burgers were nice and big. Satchel moaned that he didn't want cheese on his, but I explained that cheese comes standard issue (and stuffed inside the meat) at Stuffy's. Then he stopped complaining and went about adding ketchup-ed fries to his burger.
Jiro asked me to put ketchup on his, then he happily ate it until there was none left.
Satchel, who actually ate his fries, couldn't finish his last few bites.
We were kind of joking about the piano player when we first sat down and definitely got a few giggles when he started playing Billy Joel, but he was actually pretty good and the kids seemed to enjoy it. I was especially impressed when Satchel said, between bites, "That's Beethoven!"
Also at one point during our meal, the guy from the back came over to check on us and see how everything was, which I thought was a nice touch. We had no complaints, and no leftovers. I really did not want to eat all of my food because it was so much, but I couldn't stop myself because it was really good.
I still kind of like Burly's better, mostly due to the awesome Buffalo fries, but their heinous service and non-existent milkshakes--oh and a small fire--have kept me from going back. Stuffy's is actually right off of the bike path that leads down Southern, so we might someday make a trek over on our bikes. However, if we ever find ourselves hungry & in the University District, then it's definitely on.