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336 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70801-1307(map)
Down By the Riverside, Hanky Panky –
Being from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and also an LSU alumni, I have a great sense of adoration for the city. As such, I make every effort to combine this with my other adoration.Burgers. So on a weekend trip back home, my wife and I met a friend at Riverside Patty. This is one of only a handful of long running burger joints in Baton Rouge. It’s located in the slowly reviving downtown, 3rd St. area. From the outside it is surrounded by some great architecture from a time when people actually went downtown to work, shop, and be entertained. Once you walk in it seems as if they set up shop without telling the landlord and hope they don’t get noticed. From the decades old Ms Pacman machine to the rabbit-eared TV sitting atop the 80’s era Coke machine, this place does not scream “fancy”, or even “nice”. No, this place seems more concerned about the food. It’s a long walk down the narrow sitting area to the order counter in the back. The menu is pretty impressive. Obviously, burgers are the main attraction. There are ten different configurations of burgers you can choose. Nine if you are the type that doesn’t think a patty melt is a burger. All are 1/2 pounders! There is no option for smaller/lesser burgers here. They also have lots of sandwiches, poboys, and fried seafood (a Louisiana staple). The list of sides is equally impressive. This further proves my theory that the”dive-ish-ness” is directly proportional to how good the food is. This place, is a dive. The menu, is awesome! So enough ogling the menu. I’m ready to eat!
Patty Cake Patty Cake-
So my decision was set. I would have the 1/2 pound cheeseburger, fully dressed, a side of cajun seasoned curly fries, and a coke with crushed ice in a styrofoam cup (just how I like it). They have a lunch burger special where all three were around $7. I was given my number and was now tasked with finding a place to sit. Surprisingly the tables were very clean. I guess the old-ish-ness of the decor made me think it was going to be otherwise. There’s not much to keep you occupied while you wait. The TV reception kept going in and out and the walls are pretty bare with the exception of the framed quote from the local newspaper “The weight makes the wait worth it”. No bother, I was not here for entertainment. The wait was roughly 10 minutes, but it was worth it knowing that it was being made as I waited. You could even see the ladies in the kitchen working away on the griddle through the swinging door window behind the order counter. The door swung wide and out came a tray of food. My number was called and I quickly shot my hand up. The food is served on paper plates (remember, nothing “fancy” or even “nice” here), but this paper plate is full to the rim! I began to assess what I have gotten myself in to. The patty is obviously hand formed and griddle fried (both pluses). The bun was plain, store bought variety and the slice of american cheese was not melted at all (minuses). The veggies were plentiful and looked adequate. I dug in. This burger definitely required two hands to get started. The patty itself tasted beefy but was lacking in any kind of seasoning. Give me salt or pepper or something. Also, it was rather dry. This burger generated little to no juice. The veggies did a sufficient job moistening up the burger but the bun did very little to help this moisture dilemma. The seeded, white bread bun made this whole burger seem like a slightly above average burger I could make at home…. The savior of this meal was easily the cajun seasoned curly fries. They were crispy, perfectly battered and seasoned, and plentiful. Thank goodness for the fries!
The Wrap It Up –
Sigh… I really wanted to LOVE this burger. Riverside Patty has everything going for it. An old location in an interesting part of town, a long running history serving burgers, great portions, character! I wanted to LOVE this burger because I want there to be great burgers in Baton Rouge. Now that a Five Guys has moved into town, I fear that people will start recommending you go there for a good burger instead of a genuine local burger joint like Riverside Patty. The burger here is not bad. I just wish it was amazing. For character alone I would put Riverside Patty way above Five Guys and the price can’t be beat. Burger, fries and a drink for $7. That is spot on. That is a Christians Tailgate kind of a bargain. Now, we just need the burger to be better…