• What: Great American Burger Co., 202 Durham St., Soddy-Daisy.
• Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
• Phone: 423-618-3186.
• Price range: $1.75 for Rippers (deep-fried hot dogs)-$5.25 Philly cheesesteak.
Maybe it was the Stars and Stripes already painted on the side of the building that led Greg and Mindy Carder to name their new venture the Great American Burger Co. Or maybe it’s the all-American menu they decided on: hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue. Whatever the reason, Great American Burger is a good fit with the nearby ballparks on the north end of Soddy-Daisy, where little leaguers play the great American pastime.
The menu offers the traditional favorites, with a few modern twists.
Want traditional? Order the pork barbecue sandwich ($4.25). Want a twist? Try the barbecue tacos instead ($4.25 for two).
Hamburger sound ho-hum? Say hello to the Aloha burger. This variation is topped with cheese, pineapple and a special sauce. It’s priced at $4.25, a dollar more than the basic burger.
The hot dogs are a definite twist on tradition. Called Rippers, they’re made with deep-fried wieners and served with chili, slaw and bacon as options. They range in price from $1.75 to $2.95.
You’ll also find a chicken sandwich, BLT, fried bologna sandwich, barbecue bologna sandwich and smoked sausage with peppers and onions, all priced at $3.50 to $3.75.
Sides include slaw, baked beans, potato salad and fried okra (all $1.75) as well as french fries, onion rings and corn nuggets in the $2 to $3 range.
The restaurant’s Facebook page lists other occasional specials, such as fried pickles ($2.95) and fried green tomatoes served with ranch dressing ($3.50).
The Kids Meal offers a choice of hot dog, grilled cheese or chicken nuggets with french fries and a 12-ounce drink for $4.50.
Desserts change daily, but recent offerings have included homemade chocolate chip cookies and banana pudding made from scratch.
This was our first trip to Great American Burger, so we opted for two menu mainstays: a cheeseburger, served with fries, and a barbecue sandwich, with slaw on the side.
Every bite was delicious. The cheeseburger was made with Angus beef, so it was very flavorful. It had all the expected toppings: tomato, onion, pickles, lettuce.
The barbecue was neatly cut, which seemed oddly different from how most places serve it. But it was much easier to eat. Sometimes an awkward bite of a pulled-pork sandwich can pull the bun apart. There was no chance of that with these smaller cuts.
The best part of the meal was the french fries. I like fries well enough, but these were exceptionally good. I would describe them as shoestring crinkle cuts. Crinkle-cut fries are usually much thicker. Put them in a to-go bag, and the steam leaves them soggy. These were just the right thickness and texture even after our trek to a nearby picnic table.
Great American Burger Co. is housed in a couple of prefab buildings. It’s a takeout-only establishment, with the walk-up window in the red shed up front. There are a couple of picnic tables for eating on-site, but the Soddy Community Center next door has a covered pavilion with additional picnic tables. And there are more tables along the grassy bank at Soddy Lake just across Dayton Pike.
It was a surprisingly pleasant summer evening (reasonable temps, low humidity), so we opted for a table with a view of the lake. We shared the space with the world’s most indecisive geese, who came running when we arrived but quickly dispersed when they saw we weren’t sharing. They spent the rest of the time slowing traffic as they crossed and recrossed the highway. Chickens could learn lessons in perseverance from these geese.
Mindy Carder took our order and poured our drinks. She was still making small talk when Greg Carder handed our food up to the window. That was fast, but that was fine because we were hungry. No complaints here.
We’ll be back for more. The prices are reasonable, and the food is good. There are only 19 items on the main menu, not counting sides, desserts and drinks. We’re looking forward to trying the rest.
<em>Contact staff writer Lisa Denton at email@example.com or 423-757-6281.</em>