We stopped for dinner and found the place closed for "light repair." A note on the door assured us that they "loved us" and that they'd be open tomorrow. (Colleagues inform me that this isn't the first time that Lindy's has been unexpectedly closed.)
Our next visit was more successful. The place was empty when we arrived, but people popped in and out; most of them seemed connected to the restaurant. The only drawback was that the room was hot and stuffy.
There are four fantasy-comic decoupaged bar tables, a bar that runs along one wall and a semi-open kitchen in the back. The walls are painted deep-red and decorated with original artwork, two beautiful wood-framed mirrors and beer posters.
Instant photos of a motley crew called the AZ Hooligans highlight one wall. The folks in those pics earned that title by eating the entire AZ Hooligan--a pound-and-a-half creation consisting of six patties, cheese and the house sauce. Lindy's also serves a three-pound burger called the O.M.F.G., which is more than any human should eat at one sitting. You win a Lindy's T-shirt and gift certificate for downing that one.
For the more rational eater, there is a full slate of burgers with unique toppings, including sauerkraut, fried egg, feta cheese, olive relish and peanut butter, just to name a few. All the traditional toppings are available as well. All burgers come with tomato, onion, chopped lettuce and Lindy's secret 100,000 Island sauce (more about that later), and are served on a sesame-seed bun. It would take weeks to sample them all.
John ordered the single Hawaii 5-0 burger ($6.99; all regular burgers are available with double or triple patties). As expected, the 5-0 includes pineapple and teriyaki sauce. He also ordered the highly recommended tater tots--extra crispy--and a Bodington's Pub Ale, on tap ($4).
I opted for the "Shroomin'" cow single burger ($6.99), which comes with, as the name indicates, mushrooms and cheese. I ordered onion rings ($3.49) as a side and a bottle of Amstel Light ($3.50).
Service was super-friendly, and within no time, we had our burgers. And what burgers they were!
Gooey, messy, juicy, hot ... what other words can I use to describe them? The 5-0 was slightly sweet thanks to the pineapple, and slightly salty thanks to the teriyaki sauce. The other toppings only added to the juiciness.
The tots were sizzling hot and crispy to the core. Although we'd ordered them plain--a most creative assortment of toppings is offered--these were undoubtedly the best tots I've ever had. There were lots of them, too.
My burger was topped with a passel of fresh, sautéed mushrooms and both Swiss and Cheddar cheese, as well as the usual tomato, onion, lettuce and Lindy's sauce. I ate every savory bite.
About that secret 100,000 Island sauce: I tried to decipher what was in it, and got as far as mayo, red pepper flakes and maybe paprika. It wasn't fire-hot, but there was a definite undertone of heat--a plus on an already great burger.
The rings were also hot out of the fryer and had a crispy egg batter on them. They were a great complement to the burger.
It was on the eve of the Street Fair that we next stopped in, and there was a lot of activity both on the street and inside the restaurant. However, the service was still tops, and all the food arrived in a timely manner.
Oddly, the menu had changed from the previous week. Gone were the chicken wings I had planned on ordering. There was a new specialty burger, the "Donkey Punch," that Lindy's calls "the world's hottest burger." Here, you'll find four patties, pepperjack cheese, jalapenos and Lindy's sauce. I don't think you win anything for eating this big burger.
John ordered the cheesesteak ($7.49) and a basket of rings ($3.49). And I ordered the mac 'n' cheese chicken patty ($6.99) and the potato salad. Two different veggie patties can be ordered in any way that the meat burgers are prepared.
The 12-inch cheesesteak was tender and well-seasoned, with the edges holding a nice char. It was loaded with provolone cheese and onions. It's not Philly-style, but if you want whiz, it's available.
It must be noted that Lindy, who seems to do all of the cooking, knows his way around a grill and a fryer, and my chicken patty was the best proof that the man in the kitchen knows his stuff. All too often, chicken patties are overbreaded, undercooked and greasy. Not so here. The breading practically snapped without a trace of grease, and you knew you were eating chicken. The packaged mac 'n' cheese on top made this a kid's idea of heaven in a basket. The potato salad was no slouch, either.
If you are a burger aficionado, I highly recommend Lindy's. This is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of place with a strong sense of what they're trying to do: making great burgers and tots.