Thursday, December 16, 2010

Burger joint of the week: Hurley House Cafe in Hazen.

Burgers, breakfast and fried pies - three things that make Hazen's Hurley House Cafe a must-stop. Take a look at what this excellent burger joint has to offer.
This article updated with more photography June 13, 2016.

A good, meaty burger is a thing of beauty. Whether it’s a lovely ovoid between two rounds of bread devoid of any accessories or buried under layers of vegetation, cheese and add-ons, it’s one of those very American and by extention very Arkansawyer things.

Now, I will agree that few burgers are meals in themselves. We have come to a point where too many commercials drilled into the subconscious have sparked some to believe that a perfect meal is burger, fries and soft drink. This sort of thinking is like to kill us all.

Well, that may be a bit dire, and it doesn’t really start the conversation we should be having — about the burgers at the Hurley House Café in Hazen. That’s burgers - plural. Because Hurley House does a good share of burger-ish things.

I have mentioned before the excellent Patty Melt offered at the restaurant. Lightly seasoned meat, grilled onions and cheese on toast… it is da bomb, and I must give that nod.

I have even previously consumed the BBQ Burger — three cheeses and barbecue sauce soaking a patty on a bun, a big hot orange mess. But good.

Grav and I recently revisited the restaurant while on assignment. His choice for the day was the Big Joe ($5), a half pound burger under a big pile of schtuff — bacon, mushrooms, grilled onions, Colby and Monterey and Pepper Jack cheeses. Big, hot, a little sweaty with
juice, plenty of cheese, a ton of bacon… a satisfying and filling burger with a lot of flavor.

The flavor wasn’t just from the toppings - burger patties at Hurley House are nicely crusted, salt and pepper seasoned rounds that pick up just the right amount of grill grease to convey the idea “this is not health food.”

They are a meal in themselves, so it is best to be aware before ordering any sort of accompaniment such as fries, spicy fries or onion rings.

Of course, I knew better but ordered French fries ($1.50) with my Chili Cheeseburger ($4.75) — because there’s something fabulous about dipping fries in chili and cheese. I knew there’d be no way I could finish the burger… but the homemade chili full of tomato chunks and beef and beans simmered together so long to become a happy cumin and onion scented stew coated in a thick layer of melted cheese made stepping away from it difficult at best. This is cold weather food — good chili, good meat, good God let’s eat.

Other burgers offered by the Hurley House Café include a Hot Cheeseburger (three cheeses and Jalapenos), a Bacon Cheeseburger and the traditional regular burger and cheeseburger. There are also plate lunch specials each day and steak or catfish (or both) for dinner.

And there is breakfast... which is good, because the Hurley House Cafe is one of the very few breakfast joints along US Highway 70 between Little Rock and Brinkley.  Breakfasts come in all sorts of varieties, such as French toast and pancakes.  I must admit, on this one particular visit, the griddle was running hot. Fortunately, I like a little char. 

My brother digs the All-Meat Omelet, which is sausage and bacon and ham and American cheese all packed out in a fluffy three-egg foldover.  I'll go for peppers and onions sometimes, or just cheese, because sometimes you just need a plain Jane cheese omelet.

Don't forget to pick up a flaky fried pie in whatever flavor is offered that day.  My favorite is blackberry.

You’ll find The Hurley House Café on Highway 70 across from where Highway 63 comes in from the Interstate. It’s open at six every morning and open through lunch on the weekends and dinner during the week. For more information call (870) 255-4679 (870) 255-4679 or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Hurley House Cafe on Urbanspoon

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