I'll be turning 27-years-old tomorrow and because my birthday falls on Wednesday this year, I used Labor Day weekend to celebrate with friends, family, and Boyfriend. We did not have work on actual Labor Day and as the weather was poor, Boyfriend and I used the day for shopping and for a dinner in the South Side to celebrate my upcoming birthday.
I dined with friends the day prior at La Casa Narcisi and exhausted myself attempting to be classy. Dinner with Boyfriend was all about burgers, fries, and beer courtesy of Winghart's Whiskey and Burger Bar. I've heard a lot of great things about Winghart's and was eager to dive into a juicy burger worthy of a birthday meal.
There are five locations of Winghart's and each includes a menu boasting a large selection of gourmet burgers, fresh cut fries, and brick oven pizzas. You can even wash down your burger and whiskey with a funnel cake. We arrived at the Winghart's on East Carson to find empty (dirty) tables and alarmingly loud televisions playing a Simpsons marathon.
One of my and Boyfriend's major pet peeves when dining out is not knowing whether or not we are to seat ourselves; Winghart's has now joined that club of offending restaurants. After mild confusion, we chose our seats and a server quickly came over to offer food and drink menus. We had to request that our dirty and oddly wet table be cleaned, but our server did so with a friendly demeanor. It was difficult to thank her or to discuss menu options (or anything at all) due to the cranked volume of the bar televisions, but we eventually became accustomed to speaking over Bart and Lisa.
To drink, Boyfriend and I each ordered water and Southern Tier's Pumking. I love pumpkin beer, but I won't drink it until September, so this was perfect timing. Winghart's has an extensive draft list (with multiple pumpkin options) and also has several whiskey options, but my brain was set strictly in a pumpkin beer direction.
For our meals, Boyfriend and I each ordered burgers and an order of fries with beer cheese to share. Boyfriend ordered the Market Square Burger, topped with mushrooms, bacon, and gruyere. I opted for the Nad-alie Burger, capped off with a three-cheese pierogi and a burgandy au jus. My burger generally includes carmelised onions, but I declined.
While we waited, Boyfriend and I enjoyed our Pumkings while shouting still over the Simpsons. Food is prepared downstairs, which I appreciate, because I absolutely despise being able to see into a restaurant's kitchen. We didn't wait long until our food was delivered to the table.
I was very excited to dig into my burger and it did not disappoint. The meat was cooked medium, as requested, and the bun was good, too. The burgandy au jus created enough moisture without making the bun soggy and the pierogi on top was perfectly crisp, yet filled with creamy potato goodness. I would order this again and had no trouble polishing off almost the entire thing.
(Market Square Burger and Fries with Beer Cheese)
Our shared plate of beer cheese fries was more than enough for us both and I was elated to see that the fries were smothered in cheese. For my birthday dinner, i must insist upon an over abundance of cheese and this dish definitely required a fork. Boyfriend and I both enjoyed the fries and welcomed the mess.
In theory, the Market Square Burger should have been perfect for Boyfriend. He loves mushrooms, cheese, and bacon on burgers; however, he had not anticipated Winghart's house-made honey mustard sauce. He felt that the sauce took over and the other flavors which should have made an awesome burger were lost in a sea of mustard. Boyfriend did appreciate that his burger was appropriately cooked, but less of a mouthful of mustard would have suited him better.
Halfway through my burger, my Pumking was gone and I missed it. Luckily, I could see the clearly labeled tap just behind the bar. Unluckily, our server had better things to do than to refill my empty glass. She was sitting at the bar on her laptop and after waiting a considerable period of time, Boyfriend finally got up and asked her to get me a refill. Again, she acted with nothing but positivity, but I wish that her friendliness was coupled with attentiveness. She did accept our City Dining Card discount, which should only be used on purchases $30 and more... Our total was closer to $26, so our server did redeem herself a bit.
We polished off our meals and headed home before the new tableful of 21-year-olds got too rowdy. All-in-all, I would visit Winghart's again and my belly was happy with the Nad-alie burger and delicious fries, but more attentive staff would have made this good birthday experience a great one.
So, Winghart's, kudos to you for your beer selection and pierogi-topped burgers; shame on you for your extra loud environment and inattentive staff. On my birthday (weekend), I expect my birthday wishes to come true, so next time, I expect better service, cleaner tables, and less mustard.