But not at Sam's Olde Tyme Hamburgers in Rogers. Oh, no. What I encountered at the red-awning decked shop on the east side of town was a messy, gloppy marvel of excellence, with a perfect patty beneath.
War Eagle Mill and saw the big green T-Rex hanging over a fence. So of course I had to check it out.
I should have recognized the joint right off the bat, but I didn't, because it's not the same joint. Sam's moved here in the past couple of years out to this bigger spot, which is why it didn't immediately ring bells for me. No worries, I was here now.
I was immediately greeted when I walked in the door of the dairy-diner-styled family restaurant with its duel cash registers up front, specials board and a big rotating pie rack. Of course, pie immediately got my attention, but then I read the specials board and saw a chili cheeseburger. I'm a sucker for those.
I was quickly seated in a booth next to a group of three teenage girls. I have a girl my own, but not of that age yet, so once I ordered that chili cheeseburger (with the suggested grilled onions, without the suggested mustard) I allowed myself to follow their conversation, which ranged from boy talk to other girls in their class to quick strains of songs sung, from Aretha Franklin to Dora the Explorer.
Yeah, it was a little strange, to say the least.
There was a couple celebrating a birthday at the next table, and I kept seeing big plates go by full of food, from chicken fried steak to fried pickles to ribs. They all looked tempting.
And then this arrived at my table.
At first, my brain did not entirely comprehend what was before me, which first appeared to be a plate of chili that had attained some brief enough measure of sentience to rise from the surface.
It was beautiful, brown and hot and steamy, and it cued my reaction. Even after all the burgers I have seen and eaten, even after years of the state fair circuit and the collection of more than 200 different Arkansas burgers, even I was astounded and uttered a quiet "wow" on delivery.
My waitress had also given me the option of fries or onion rings, and I'd chosen those rings. They were a 60 cent add-on but they were worth every bit of it, hand battered and crisply fried and rather sweet. They were certainly ketchup-worthy rings, and I utilized the squeeze bottle on the table handily to make sure they were propery ketchup-laden.
But I managed with the fork, enjoying those sweet grilled onions and the firm 1/3 pound patty. All the time there was a voice in my head warning me of the gastronomic challenge I had taken on, with whispers of heartburn in my future. But I did not care. I pulled my fork through the puddle on my plate again and again and again. It reminded me of the eating of chipped beef on toast, what my military friends called SOS, but with a flavor I could not refuse.
I did lament to my waitress while settling the tab that the chili cheeseburger was just a daily special. She let me know that it's always a daily special that I can have any time I come back. And I will. Because I have no willpower when it comes to a really dang good chili cheeseburger, and this was one of the best I have ever tackled.
Sam's Olde Tyme Hamburgers
223 E. Locust
Rogers, AR 72756