Saturday, January 27, 2007

Restaurant Review - Master Burger

I figured since my first review was a very positive take on 5th Street Diner - I'd post a lousy review. I wanted to make sure I could adequately explain why I dislike a place. Problem is - we have been eating out less and less in recent months so it was difficult coming up with a place where I could remember why I hated it.

Yesterday, I was provided the perfect example. Master Burger is located in the food court at the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing PA. If you don't live near Reading - don't make a special trip.

Driving by the mall almost a few weeks ago, I noticed their sign announcing "Master Burger now open!" I though - hmm, never heard of it. So I researched it, googled it, asked around - no info. If it's a chain, it's not from around here, and it's probably not very big.

I was really hoping it would be something impressive - maybe like Fudruckers, or even 5 Guys. So, when a couple of us husbands needed a place to get some chow last night while our lady companions scrapped around at some kind of party - we decided to check it out.

At first, we were pleased to notice they prepare their burgers as they are ordered. Then we noticed that they prepare them one at a time. Then we noticed it only took them 30 seconds to prepare each one. Yup - there were burgers sitting in some kind of steamer device, which were then thrown onto a grill for a few seconds, slapped onto a stale bun, then topped with bitter LT&O. I discussed the quality with my companion and his 3YO son (who had quite possibly the world's nastiest looking chicken nuggets I've ever seen). We agreed at the time that the burger itself was better than a typical fast food burger, but certainly disappointing.

After sleeping on it - I'm going to have to take that back. If I really put Master Burger up against any other burger joint, I'm pretty sure it might never win. Oh, and the fries were pretty lousy also.


Kate said...

you've got to be amazingly lame to mess up a lowly frozen-then-steamed burger patty.

amazingly.....many do. How sad!

the other husband with the 3YO son said...

I'm surprised you didn't comment on the customer service...

When we first approached the establishment, we assumed the standard "studying the menu" position (about 10 feet from the counter, looking up at the menu). At that point the young lady behind the counter asked us for our order. I said we were still looking. Ok, she should have known the "studying the menu" position, but I'll let her slide on being anxious to provide good service.

Next, we make the classic "ready to order" move of walking up to the counter and staring at her. But, at this point, she is looking past me into space as if I'm not standing with my nose 2.5 feet from hers. Finally after many looooong seconds she asks "OH! Are you ready to order?". Not sure whether it was sarcasm or if she was just that out of it. She takes our order without major incident.

The farther into this story I go, the more I think the poor girl is maybe just incredibly farsighted. As soon as she was done taking my order, she ignored GDS who was standing right behind me in our little line of 2 and asks a man with a family if she can take their order. Where is the man and his family? You guessed it .... standing AT LEAST 10 feet from the counter looking up at the menu!!! Although they aren't really ready, the man stumbles through his order while GDS is standing there dumbfounded glancing back and forth between the girl right in front of his nose and the family who is 7 feed directly behind him!! This out-of-order order taking might not have been a huge deal, if not for the previously mentioned fact that they make only one burger at a time. GDS now had to wait through the cooking of not just my burger, but of the 4 burgers for the family, before his was even started!!

Now, for the final insult ... about half way through the meal I realized I was running out of ketchup (after all, I was sitting next to a 3YO ketchup fiend), so I headed up to the counter to grab a few more packets. Granted, I didn't need her assistance, but as I approached the counter, and before she could see my intention, my farsighted friend turned and walked back into the kitchen area leaving the counter completely empty. Had I wanted anything from her ... well ... I would have been out of luck.

In summary - I'm adding another thumbs down in addition to GDS's.