Okay, I have a significant pet peeve about waiters. I’ll air it right now: Unless you have a perfect photographic memory and a flawless record of error-less order-taking, do not attempt to take someone’s order without writing it down.
That’s how I got that burger right there, the Skipper’s Burger at Thirst ‘N’ Howl, with American cheese instead of Pepper Jack. And how one of my companions received Pepper Jack on his Thirst ‘N’ Burger. I wish it weren’t the only issue I’d had at the restaurant out on Highway 10... because I rather liked the burger itself.
I stopped by a few weeks ago with a couple of my favorite dining companions for a quick spot of lunch. The idea of a Gilligan’s Island themed restaurant seemed fun and lighthearted, and I’d already been alerted to the perceived awesomeness of the burger by an astute and happy reader.
The restaurant was smaller than I had expected, a real storefront bar and grill down the strip from Blue Cake Company and the like. There was a TV playing an endless stream of Gilligan’s Island reruns, a bandstand and some light beach themed decorations. It was also close to empty, being about two in the afternoon.
One of my dining companions warned me about the tea. He had arrived earlier and said it tasted wrong somehow. On questioning our waiter admitted it came from a mix, “a very good mix, you should try it,” he mentioned. I opted for Dr. Pepper instead. That’s right, I’m a tea snob.
My two dining companions dared each other to give the Volcano Burger ($7.50) a try. It was listed as coming with pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, Million Dollar Sauce and jalapeno peppers. They backed off, neither one really wanting to take the risk in the middle of a work day. The Island Burger ($7.50) was tempting with its slice of grilled pineapple. When both of my companions decided on the Thirst N’Burger ($7.50) I figured I should go with the basics and settled for a Skipper’s Burger ($6.50).
The onion rings were cornmeal breaded and appeared to be pre-made instead of housemade. I can overlook that. They were cooked through well enough to have that sweetness in them that I like.
The burger… well, it was a pretty good burger. Served with American cheese, the Skipper’s Burger is a classic All-American burger (you can also have it with Swiss or pepper jack). It’s a nice Cavender’s-and-black-pepper flavored half pound burger patty cooked medium well, sitting on a soft untoasted and unseeded bun, griddle-cooked with cheese melted into the patty. It comes with ridgy hamburger dill slices, red onion, a couple of chunks of tomato and green leaf lettuce with a gob of mayo under the top bun and a good quality stoneground type mustard on the bottom. It’s a very good example of what most people think of in a burger.
But it does seem a little bit pricey for this market, just because of the whole fries/chips thing. I have become spoiled with great burgers at the same price that came with fries instead of chips.
Still, Thirst ‘N’ Howl’s burgers should be included on any list of good burgers in Little Rock. They are worthy. Let’s see how well the restaurant manages to hold its own amidst the plethora of burgers around these parts.
You’ll find Thirst ‘N’ Howl at 14710 Cantrell Road, the last shop back on the left in the little center. They have a Facebook page. (501) 379-8189. Check ‘em out.