Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Skips Diner

Simply skipping along on a sunny afternoon. Skipping all around the room. We think of years past when as kids we jumped and frolicked along. Knowing, that nothing would ever be wrong. Nothing in our hearts but a song. And so we skipped here and there. Seemingly without a care but not unaware.
On a certain Friday afternoon we skipped right on over to Skips on Holmgren Way, less than a stones throw away. Many a time had we passed this establishment, on our way to some other secret hint. Another joint with the best burger.
“Why not try Skips?” Nick would say.
“No reason at all,” I would relay.
And so, during Burger Testing Season One, we went to Skips, where they ruined our fun!
“We do not take plastic, debit, checks or credit,”
“Pay attention, you should have read it!” the waitress bellowed.
“Who amongst us has cash to pay?” we asked.
“No one, at least not today,” responds Tom.
Finding a day when an entire panel will pay, is more difficult with cash than credit any day.

We put our collective feet down and made a point to skip the town and into Skips with a few dollars in our pockets. They don't take credit, but we will rockets (rock it)! Or keep a few dollars in your lockets? But please don’t drop its? Anyway, today was Skips day to sock it!
I want to string together crappy rhymes all day, and I probably would, but it will take four hours and I just don’t want to stay up that late. So here it is; we finally made it to Skips. Nick had always wanted to go, the rest of us were just along for the ride. Sure we want to hit up any place with a good burger, but what was so special about Skips?
Maybe it was the fact that it was one of the few remaining structures in Aswaubenon that was built before 1920. Ok, I don’t know that for fact, but when you step in the door, you certainly go back at least 20 years. So to the jerk kids today, it might as well be 1920.
There is nothing really spectacular about this diner. It has tables and greasy spoons, but is not ideal if you’re looking for the best diner in the world. The abundance of old folks playing cribbage is above average however. The outside walls were mostly windows which was nice in a place like this. Except the building is out of place in the middle of Packer territory. Unless you consider that it was a hotbed of excitement in the roaring 60's.
The employees are diner folk, very nice older women as waitresses, a hairy old angry guy with a paper cap cooking in the back, and a strange young lanky lad bussing the tables. We did not feel out of place or even lose face, when we sat at their largest table for eight. We did however feel some sort of disconnect.

This Friday, the panel, save Tom, made it to the test. Kayla also joined the group and was a delight for sure. Amongst the newcomers was a mistress named Heidi, a new coworker of Nick’s, out testing the waters at a new place. Well good for her. Hopefully she joins us again, but I cannot blame her if she does not. And as always, Kayla has shown to be the most resilient friend to the burger testers as we may have.
So let’s skip to the brass tacks. The menu was somewhat promising. A promising lineup of burgers. The only extraordinary burger was the Skips Burger, the others were routine but abundant, and available.
Neither of our guests ordered burgers, I was the only one to order the Skips Burger so I will go first. I chose the burger only because no one else would and it was Skips signature burger. In doing so, I may have become the ass of the group. The burger featured a beef patty and a brat patty. I was apprehensive of testing a burger mixed with a brat. Unfortunately, the brat did overpower the burger. The discs were about the same size and obviously a brat has more seasoning. Oh, someday I will have to write about the marvelous Titletown Cajun Burger, it was truly a delight (they did the sausage burger thing right). Anyway the burger part was good but the brat part was overpowering and extra greasy. It still tasted very good so I gave it 7 taste.
Sarah really enjoyed the service and the food. But clearly, the establishment was not her cup of tea. Her lowest score was a 3 and went to atmosphere. Overall she gave a 7, which easily would have been an 8 almost anywhere else.
Plain Jane, er, Nick gave the atmosphere the highest score of all, a 4. In fact, he gave it a better rating than anyone else. Maybe it was the fact that he was pinned as the Skips guy, so he felt obligated to give them a pass. But I think he was perhaps the most honest. They truly did have a good burger, a better bun, the waitress was nice and nothing was really wrong. We couldn’t knock off points for anything, so I think Nick gave it an honest score, an overall of 8.
And then there is always Karen. Who did she meet in the bathroom today? Well, probably no one at Skips, maybe the bus boy, Ray. I’m not sure who copied who, but Karen and Sarah gave the exact same scores for every category. I think Karen wanted to give the place an 8 overall because of the burger alone, but settled for a 7 due to all the elements.
So together, most of the group was pleasantly surprised by the charm of the waitress. She was not spectacular, but for some reason, the group thought she was very good. Burger flavor was a solid 8 across the board. They had good burgers to be sure. One jerk gave a 7 for taste, but that was because he ordered the brat burger thing. Condiment availability and ease of consumption were all rated high. I think the buns played a big role in ease of consumption. They may be easily overlooked, but Skips had some good buns. The buns enabled an ease of consumption and were tasty. The major downfall was the atmosphere. In today’s world of fast cars and loud music, we just cannot stay still long enough to appreciate old folks squabbling over a Cribbage game gone awry.

If you are still reading this post, read a bit more. Skips may be the absolute best burger per dollar joint in the state. Better than sleaze holes like the MacDonalds! At skips, you can get a delicious burger and fries for $5. This isn’t just another value meal. The burgers are top notch compared to places that charge similar rates. It would be like the most gourmet of Big Macs, for a fraction of the cost. If you want, or need a great burger and only have $5, head to Skips. We understand not everyone can always afford to try some of the outrageously priced places we test, but Skips will give you a taste of the real thing for a fraction of the cost.
Skip with it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


We’re going to get naked for a burger test! Oh wait, we are going to a strip club. Either way, someone is naked! Oh wait it’s not really a strip club. Obviously it was once a strip club. They called it Xcetera. But it was not even Xcetera anymore. They wanted to move away from the strip club label so they renamed the place the Broadway Supper Club.
And they were right to do it too. Because there are no strippers there anymore. I tried to relive the experience and see if anyone in the group wanted to get naked. It didn’t work. I would have done it, but I think Karen has a camera phone, and you know, what with you tube and such these days...
Anyway, it was mentioned on a random blog once, that a place called Xcetera had good burgers. After much research, we concluded the former Xcetera was now the Broadway Supper Club.
We walked into a dark, damp, dungeon of cellars. One half bar, one half, some type of former stripper club restaurant. We all had a good chuckle at our surroundings. Instead of window curtains, they had what appeared to be shower curtains around the walls. In fact, it seemed a bit cluttered.
Seriously, it’s the burgers that are important. Unfortunately, we waited nearly 45 minutes for our order. Obviously Nick was going to smoke the waitress score with a 1, but he gave her a 3 like most of us did. She was nice and obviously did her job despite the slow service.
Whence the burgers finally did arrive, they were met with delight. For such a shady, dirty strip club of a place, we gave eights across the board for flavor. Something about their burgers was right. And that’s saying a lot when so much about the place was wrong.
We all gave high scores for condiment availability, except for Nick, he must not have received his Catcup. And although good, the burgers were a bit sloppy jalopy. It was not as easy to eat the burgers as it was to taste their excellence.
As you can imagine, in a dungeon of a former strip club, the presentation scores were average to low. The bun was a low score too, and so was overall experience. Obviously the burgers themselves tasted very good, but everything else, hurt the experience. It’s hard to enjoy a great burger if a shower curtain is falling down on your head and there is no lighting in the joint. Clearly, the atmosphere was a very low score.
Overall, if you are blind, deaf and mute, this is an awesome place for a burger! Otherwise, you get a good burger but you leave feeling a little dirty and not quite right.
Lets talk about the panel, Nick, Karen, Tom and I made it out this week. Sarah was on vacation, in a better place. I was the jerk of the group by giving a 6 overall when everyone else gave a 7. I think Tom was the one that said it reminded him of a place called Studio 8.
I think you have heard enough by now. I was under whelmed. Nick liked the burger but was unimpressed with the place. Karen showed off some of her dance moves, but cared for little else and Tom was too nice to a dirty establishment. I just wanted to dance on the rusty pole.

So now for the moral of the week. What is it? What is the biggest lesson I’ve learned that I want to spin off on the burger blog? I don’t know. No burger will ever be the burger you dreamed of, but if you find one that works, stick with that shiznit. Because it might be the best you can find. Ok, lets do a better one.
Um, come up with some secret signal that no one else will know. Say, put your butter knife perpendicular to your fork or vis a versa. Something like that. To signal that you favor, or disfavor the burger, or a need to dance… That way, you don’t need to worry about influencing your fellows with a certain rating. For example, if you are unsure of your burger, cross your utensils. If the person across from you does the same, then you have a basis to work with. All you have to do is share one word with the person across from you. Something like, “It’s a nice day” meaning it is good. Or, “The floor is sticky” meaning it is bad and there is no chance. I don't know, whatever.
Anyway, enjoy your damned burger.