Back in April of this year I met up with Thomas Robinson, author of one of my favorite food blogs, Eat Local Memphis a Zinnie’s. Thomas’ Eat Local Memphis is, as he puts it, “an underground movement to support local eateries and highlight the culinary adventures of this awesome city’s diners and the colorful people who feed them!” It’s an excellent collection of local eats from all over. Soon after reading through his site, I too got on board with the movement and have committed to only writing about local food.
So back to April 2012. Thomas pinged me on Twitter and had a lot to say about his favorite local burger from Zinnie’s. I don’t recall all the details of how it went down but Thomas and I scheduled a burger meet-up with the very talented Tiffany Langston from Tiffany Tastes and Katie Benjamin who shows off her art via a flickr account. I recall the burger being ok, but the least impressive part of the lunch, compared to the company I was with. While the flavor from all the seasoning was very good, the patty was overcooked, and I struggled to formulate a post, because it was Thomas’ favorite. Luckily, he beat me to the punch and fired off his post about our lunch and I never got around to writing my own.
Fast forward three and a half months to the present. Earlier this week I posted a photo to the Best Memphis Burger Facebook Page of the burger I had from the Majestic Grille before the James Taylor concert. I also commented that it didn’t live up to the review I gave it in late 2011. In fact, I had to send the burger back because it was so far past medium, it just wasn’t enjoyable. Anyway, a few people commented and liked the photo and then the post went quiet, for a few hours that is. That’s when a some new followers hopped in and began talking about Elliots Burgers on 2nd and Zinnie’s on Madison.
I pretty much gave up on Elliot’s. One burger there was enough for me to know I was looking in the wrong spot. Zinnie’s, on the other hand, was pretty tasty that first visit. I just don’t want a thick burger cooked that Well-Done. The Zinnie’s comments kept coming in and before I knew it, Bill Baker, the owner of Zinnie’s was commenting on my page. He reiterated Thomas’ opinion about how great the cheeseburger was and said I should have been served something less crisp if I specified my temperature. One of his patron’s also chimed in on the thread. She raved about the food and insisted I give it another try as well.
Social media is funny animal. So many companies are so buy just promoting themselves, they forget to do the most important thing, engage. Talk to your customers, answer questions timely, and be willing to converse about good things and bad. Show that you care. The fact that Bill, who I don’t know and had never met before, took the time to have a conversation about his food, and on someone else’s site, where it could have gone south for him real fast, speaks volumes to me. I wanted to get back to Zinnie’s ASAP.
A tweet and two texts later, a plan was in place for a Wednesday lunch. Four friends and myself all made our way into Zinnie’s. One guy got the grilled chicken salad, while the remaining four of us ordered the cheeseburgers. Two medium-rare and two well-done. I was in the medium-rare group. My new experiment is if I order it Medium-Rare, maybe I’ll have a better chance of getting a Medium burger. At this point, I’ll pretty much try anything.
As it turns out I need another plan for burgers cooked Medium. Our server, who was incredibly friendly and very proud of the menu and food at Zinnie’s, brought out two plates and announced that they were the Medium-Rare burgers. For a minute my excitement really made me smile, but then I broke off a small piece of burger hanging off the bun. No Medium-Rare. No Medium. No Medium-Well. Just Well-Done. Sigh. It gets frustrating that so many restaurants struggle to cook a burger to order.
Temperature aside, the Zinnie’s burger wasn’t bad. Not nearly all dried up the way you’d expect a Well-Done burger to taste. It wasn’t juicy, but it was still tender and had a lot of flavor from the seasonings. From the photo, you can see the beautiful fresh toppings served along side. The tomato was just gorgeous. You know that Ripley, TN tomato that you get in the middle of the summer? The kind you can sit down with and just eat plain or with a couple shakes of salt. That’s the one. The onion was crisp and a deep share of purple. It had the perfect bite was a great match for the garlic seasoning on the burger. Temperature aside, this is a good burger folks. For flavor and based on the price, it’s a great buy and a delicious lunch. I may have sold it short too fast.
The fries as you can see are your ordinary crinkle-cut fries. They were served nice and crisp. Nothing special, but better than a bag of chips.
I give the Zinnie’s Cheeseburger a pretty generous 4 out of 5 stars. Good flavor and a very reasonable price. Much more flavor than the burger a few block east on Madison. I could have gone higher had I not had two recent lunch visits and two Well-Done burgers.
1688 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
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