America has been called a country of gluttons, and if you saw what I ate at local Maryville restaurant “Hot Rods,” you might be inclined to agree with that reductive assessment.
The meal that I am referring to is a testament to man’s triumph over his environment, fantastic up-selling and just plain tastiness.
When I ate there last, I had something of a craving for American ingenuity—and something of a craving for a cheeseburger.
If you desire those things, then Hot Rods is really the place for you.
Their menu is exquisite, it’s plentiful, and it’s priced probably below what its delicacies would be worth on the open market, if more of America were allowed access to it.
I think that the hysteria caused by a mass encounter of Hot Rods with the rest of the country would equal the hysteria caused by Elvis, the first pizza, TiVo, Twilight and Justin Bieber, both literally (their burgers are fantastically huge) and figuratively (their burgers are fantastically delicious).
Back to my cheeseburger.
It wasn’t so much a cheeseburger as a mathematical and technological battle between man, represented by me, and nature, represented by the assortment of ingredients that went into the making of it.
I can recall a conversation I had with my uncle about the use of butter on a cheeseburger.
He claimed that it was too much; I called him a Luddite.
The burger I ordered on my trip to Hot Rod’s would have seemed like the invention of the internal combustion engine next to the invention of the ox cart to him, then.
I didn’t settle for a butter burger this time. No, instead they tempted me by having a special burger that was to be placed between two glazed donuts. I have heard this contraption called a Luther Vandross burger in other places.
Well, not to denigrate Luther Vandross, but if a mere glazed donut cheeseburger is a Luther Vandross burger, I got the Rick James burger.
The up-selling came into play here.
I ordered the cheeseburger between the two donuts, and then the waitress asked me if I wanted bacon on it, which is akin to asking Wile E. Coyote if he would like to catch Roadrunner.
But wait! She asked me if I wanted a fried egg on it, too. Who wouldn’t?
I replied in the affirmative.
And then I got a stroke of inspiration, admittedly borrowed from their already delicious Peanut Butter burger, and asked if I could have some peanut butter and jelly to use as a condiment. And of course they obliged.
My friends, eating that conception was what I imagine Nikola Tesla felt when the concept of alternating current came to him, except that I got a whole plate of fries with it, too.
It was, simply put, one of the better restaurant experiences of my life—my own personal epic mealtime, to put it another way for all the kids out there.
There is so much disharmony in the world in seeing arguments over land, morals, ideas; there is so much harmony in seeing the fruits of cow, chicken, pig and glazed donut all work together in unison.
If it came in pill form, it would probably be among the most banned substances on the planet.
But it’s legal in its current form, and you should go experience it before the nanny state finds out.
This was neither the first nor last time I will frequent Hot Rods.
Their creativity is perhaps limited only by the functional size of their menu, which is quite large even, considering common restaurant menu etiquette.
There are pepperoni burgers, olive burgers, hot dog burgers, spam burgers, sandwiches, dinners … everything you could want out of a classic American diner, in addition to the aforementioned inventiveness.
So, go forth and prosper, Hot Rods.
You get high marks out of this critic and a guarantee of continued patronage.
We may be a country of gluttons, but damn it, gluttony tastes pretty good sometimes.
The chest pains are worth it—four out of four stars.