I didn’t feel I had to wait all that long before visiting Big Orange, though. I mean, after all, Scott McGehee and John Beachboard have their ducks in a row with Za Za. They know how to run a restaurant.
That being said… okay, I’ll just say it. Wow.
The place was hopping. After I ordered my Dreamy Creamyscicle float ($4) I just sorta watched for a few minutes. It was loud. People were talking. Babies were smiling. One round tray after another was coming out of the kitchen crowded with burgers on plates, fries in bowls and chips in buckets. There was a very good vibe going on. In fact, I think I heard the Doobie Brothers way in the background.
I knew I’d be ordering more food than I was going to eat there — the hubster’s been getting over a cold and I wanted to take something home to him. He was getting a salad. He didn’t know it at that point but since I knew I needed to try a burger and a salad he was just going to have to deal with that. He should have sucked it up and come with me, quite honestly. Hunter would love this place.
I sipped a little on my float while my order was in. The Dreamy Creamyscicle is unlike any Creamscicle-type beverage I’ve had before, and it took me a few minutes to figure it out. The secret? Real orange juice. No joke. Ah, it was so good.
The menu says burgers will be cooked to medium well unless ordered otherwise. Yay. Okay, Big Orange is using fresh-never-frozen Creekstone beef. So of course I order it medium rare. And Big Orange gets the big star — because my burger was PERFECTLY medium rare. No bleeding, warm not hot pink center, nicely crusted burger, char-grilled over gas with barely enough salt and pepper to give it character. The Angus beef just sings “hey, I’m a cow. I’m so tasty!”
And you know I’ll brag on a good burger patty. But this burger was the real deal, top to bottom. Custom made buttered bun that perfectly fit the patty. Butter leaf lettuce. Micro-thin slices of red onion. Flavorful tomato. I tasted Maytag blue cheese but didn’t really see it (honestly, I ate the damn thing so fast I likely inhaled it). Sweet and spicy pepper jelly with just a hint of cumin. This — this is the sort of burger I would make at home if I had the time and dedication to treat my family right… and didn’t have a job, you know? There’s a lot of work and man hours in that burger.
I cut it in half (I’ve been doing that, taking half home for later or for the hubster so I don’t overeat) but the heck with it — I ate ALL of it. I didn’t even regret that move until I was almost home and the sudden sensation of FULL sunk in. I shouldn’t do that. But I couldn’t help myself.
The chips, though — get them. Share them. I took a ton home with me because there were just too many of them. They’re crisp and thin and sturdy enough to dip or put on your burger — that is, if the burger wasn’t so good you needed to enhance the crunch of… okay, I’m about to go on a tangent again and I shouldn’t. They’re good chips. Get them.
I had figured the salad would have been more like the Za Za sort of salad, tossed with dressing and bowl-served. Nope. The salads I saw today have their very own character to them. Still fresh, though.
Big Orange is open 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. I’m wondering if it’s going to be open on Mondays after Labor Day… we’ll see. It’s in the Promenade at Chenal, across the alley from Bravo Cucina Italiana. (501) 821-1515 or check out the website.