Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fuddrucker's is getting better but is it too little too late?

I wasn't very impressed on my first visit to Fuddrucker's.  They were a chain, had high prices and didn't seem to differentiate themselves from the pack well.  Their combo didn't include a drink but added fries and a cookie.  You can just feel the greed in the menu instead of the love of the food.  That really turned me off.  After closing most of their restaurants around Austin I think Fuddrucker's may have gotten the message.  They've changed the menu a bit, the combos now have a drink though they dropped the cookie and they seem to be focusing on family and children now.  OK, maybe they didn't get the message, they just decided to charge high prices to a different demographic.  Still, the burgers are cooked to order, the fries are always hot and you can load up on all the veg you want.  Then again, why am I paying that much to essentially make the burger myself?  Now on to my gripes.

Fuddrucker's has those new soda machines that can dispense every flavor imaginable.  Two of them side by side.  If you've ever tried one it seems great at first but you really have to know how to use them to get what you want.  Say the person before you drinks Fanta Orange then you walk up and select Coke, we'll go over the learning curve in a moment, you have to remember to run the faucet a bit to clear the orange flavor out.  Unless you like orange Coke.  I personally didn't.  The next thing you notice is the kids like to play at the machine so that backs up the line, and the parents don't care if their little rug rat is in the way anyway, or the adult has never used the machine and just can't make up her darn mind because there are too many choices.  "They all sound so good," she said to me as I waited, and waited.  She didn't know I was the grumpy fat man and I smiled and suggested that you can never go wrong with Coke.  Oddly she took my advice.  I thought she'd go with grape or strawberry to relive some old memory of long lost youth.  And what's up with that big pole right in the way of the drink machines?  And having to play a live version of frogger and racer-x to get to a table.  It seems everyone decides to get up just as I'm walking by.  I survived.

Our burgers were called out so I picked them up from the front.  The proper sequence was right, left, right, down, down, down and then around the game machines, around all the people standing around for their food instead of getting a drink, and guessing which two baskets were ours.  The staff thanked me as I grabbed the two that looked correct and headed to the condiment and toppings station.  A couple squirts of cheese on the fries, a little brown mustard, pickles, relish, jalapenos, sweet peppers and pico de gallo on the burger and we're all set.  Steph eats her burgers plain so she really doesn't get the fun of picking the toppings.

At first glance we noticed the burgers looked small but soon realized that the buns were just huge. Either they ran out of regular size or the bakery sent big ones.  In either case it made the burger look small so they flattened them out a bit to compensate which really took away one of the reasons we chose Fuddrucker's in the first place.  They have a nice, thick burger.  It was cooked more medium to medium well instead of medium rare but given they smashed it down I wasn't really surprised.  The fries were nice and hot.  My Coke didn't have orange in it.  All was good in the world.

In the end I suppose Fuddrucker's still has a long way to go to really earn my respect but at least they're making a noticeable effort.

Thanks for listening to my rant today.  Talk at you tomorrow.

Fuddruckers on Urbanspoon

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