I'll be running a periodic series in a quest for the best burger in Plainfield. I'm using a completely arbitrary system of my own devices. In the end, I'll crown the non-people's choice champion for Best Burger in Plainfield. Today's burger: Mongo's.
So I nearly stopped writing for the Patch. I have a couple other things happening, and I'm starting to get going on my own website/podcast, but that's not why I was thinking about ending my blog.
I was thinking about it because I truly and genuinely hate a portion of the commenters on the website.
I'm not talking about a large portion of you guys, but I obviously really don't like the exact people most of you don't like. I don't like them as someone who writes for this site. I don't like them as someone who reads this site. And I don't like them as someone who lives in this town.
But instead of letting them win and not writing for you guys anymore, I'm going to change the rules of Burger Wars. And by change the rules, I mean i'm extending the borders. I'm willing to drive 15 minutes for a burger, so here is the new rule I'm making. If I can get to the restaurant within 15 minutes from the corner of Lockport Street and Route 59, then it counts.
So on that note, I'm reviewing Mongo McMichael's in Romeoville. If the name sounds familiar, that is because it's the nickname of former Bears legend Steve McMichael. This is his joint. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the World Championship Wrestling belt on the wall from his days as a pro wrestler.
Secondly, you notice the man himself. McMichael was there, as he often is. Unfortunately, he was only there for around five minutes before he left. If I didn't need to get gas I probably could have met him!
Shot of me waving my fist in the air...
On the non-border front, the place does also have great drink specials. Case in point, we went on a Friday night. They had five dollar pitchers of either Bud Light or Miller Lite. You can't beat that on a Friday night!
But I'm not here to rank a drink special. I'm here to rank a burger.
The Place: Mongo's
The Burger: The Mongo Challenge
If there is anything I love, it's a good eating challenge. The Mongo Challenge is pretty standard, eat a one pound burger topped with cheese, bacon, and onion, and then finish a pound or so of fries, and you get an autographed T-shirt from Steve McMichael.
What is sometimes worrisome about eating challenges is that quality can sometimes slip. I'm reminded of a time I did an eating challenge at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill in Las Vegas.
Luckily, this burger did not suffer that same fate.
Meat: If you aren't gonna season a burger, then you better make sure the burger is cooked to exact specification and give it that perfect outside carmelization on the outside.
This burger did both and it succeeded in doing it two times over, because it was two 1/2 pound burgers stacked on top of eachother. The burgers didn't taste like they'd been frozen, which is always a good thing. The patties aren't on the level of HopScotch & Vine but were still solid.
Meat Score: 7.
Bun: It seems the kaiser roll is the go-to bun at this point among restaurants. I like this, because it's, of course, a huge step ahead of Wonder bread or the tasteless buns that used to be so prevalent on the food scene.
The bun started to go a bit to the soggy side when I was eating, but they can't be killed for that because of the pure size of the meat that I was eating.
Bun Score: 6.
Toppings: In a situation like this, I think that lettuce is too much. It adds crispness to it, but that crunch can be replicated by onion. That's exactly what this burger did. The bacon was cooked exactly how I like it. Stiff but no so cooked that it breaks off and disintegrates within the confines of the bun.
It could have used a sauce, but in the end, it really didn't need one.
Toppings Score: 7.5
Total Score: 20.5
Yep, we have a new leader! Mongo's is the first burger to break the 20 point threshold! Seriously, even if you don't want to go and do this eating challenge, do yourself a favor and eat this burger. It's the first one I've eaten out of the four that didn't have any big problems. It was what it was. Delicious and done well.
THE ED ARTER BANG FOR YOUR BUCK SCALE!
Named after the Patch commenter who came up with the idea, this will give you guys a better idea how how far your money will go for your burger.
This burger comes in at 19.99, which is the most expensive of those that I have reviewed so far. It's also twice the size of any of the burgers I've reviewed and provided with the largest amount of fries to accompany it. Taking into consideration the shirt if you finish, I'll go with:
Value if you don't finish: 4
Value if you do finish: 8
As for me, I'm definitely going back. I put down this burger challenge in less than six minutes. The burger was that good. Next time, I'm gonna try to eat 3 of their half-pound burgers. Yeah, I'm off the diet wagon. If I finish all three burgers then I'm going to take the championship belt off the wall and make a run for it. Just kidding — Steve McMichael could still break me in half!