It hadn't occurred to me until I drove by one day and glanced at the sign, which was promoting its 100% beef burgers. It might as well have been a challenge.
There are several burgers offered at Chip's; the hamburger comes with mustard, the cheeseburger with mayo. The Hickory Burger... well, it comes with barbecue sauce and Cheddar cheese, and I decided what the heck, I'd try that.
After placing my order, I had a seat and waited. Chip's at lunchtime is always a bustle. Chip's at seven in the evening is a quiet place. There were a few regulars, but the place was winding down and it was quiet save for one mumbled conversation in a corner and the TV turned to the final moments of "Wheel Of Fortune."
My order number called, I went to the counter and claimed my tray — a large tumbler of iced tea, a nice-sized bowl of salad and... well. We will get to that.
But I wasn't there for the salad. I was there for the burger. The Hickory Burger ($5.20) was served up on a toasted seedless bun, a single robust half pound patty smothered in barbecue sauce and shreds of Cheddar. And when I saw it I remembered something I should have considered before I ordered. I'm not a huge fan of Chip's barbecue sauce. In fact, when I order a sandwich there I usually have the sauce left off, so I can add just a tiny touch of it to the bun.
This? My error. But a correctable one. I simply took the butterknife that came with my tray, scraped the sauce off onto the side of the plate and ate the rest. And it was good.
I picked up a cheeseburger a few days later to go... and forgot to shoot it, darn me... but was comforted and relieved at how good it was without the sauce. Once again, a soft crusted burger, but the choice of mayo and cheese and tomato and lettuce between the buns was quite a bit better than the barbecue sauce.
You’ll find Chip’s Barbecue on West Markham a block west of the Markham Street Baptist Church. They’re open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m Monday through Saturday, and like all good Southern barbecue joints they’re closed on Sunday. (501) 225-4346 or check out the website.