A casual Monday night trip to Walmart and a hankering for everyone’s favorite All-American “sandwich” brought me to J. Anthony’s Italian Grill on Route 20 on the Auburn/Oxford line. Once again, this is another establishment that I drive by regularly and the parking lot always seems to be filled to capacity, even on weekdays. On the weekends, I’ve even seen parking attendants to help with overflow. With a customer following like that, it seemed like a place that I would need to try. Upon entering, you’re greeted with an unassuming ambiance. It is all very generic, with cliché Italian cues here and there throughout the restaurant. The bar area looked much more entertaining, with multiple flat screens playing the game of the day, dimly lit but bright enough to not need a flashlight to read the drink menu.

Taking a quick glance at the rest of the menu, it is easy to see why the place is always busy though. There are Italian classics up and down the menu, that cater to every palate and craving that you could have. They even have specials on certain nights of the week, to help drum up business I would guess. The burger I decided on for this dining event was the Mashed Burger ($9.99 – Mondays are $6 burger nights though!). This was a 1/2 pound beef burger, with mashed potatoes, onion rings and A1 sauce, cooked medium. Given the fact that I have tried many variations of beef/bacon/cheese/sauces that were offered on most burger menus, I felt the need again to try something out of the box.

The burger itself was cooked beautifully, and seemed bigger than the 1/2 pound of advertised beef. Usually when you cook a burger that large that has a decent fat ratio (80/20), the burgers will shrink significantly in size. This burger stayed large and moist and slightly pink on the interior. The mashed potatoes gave the burger an interesting texture. The potatoes seemed like they were on the drier side. If they were too mashed or fine, they wouldn’t be congealed enough to hold onto the burger. I would’ve liked for the potatoes to be seasoned more… some butter or garlic would’ve been the flavor boost that they desperately needed. The fried onion strings on top gave it a nice bite, with the tanginess of the traditional onion topping, with the crunch of the fried batter. The real kicker on this burger was the A1 sauce. It was delightfully tangy and enhanced the richness of the meat. It was like a BBQ sauce replacement, but thinner and smokier. The generous portion of fries were fried to a golden brown, but could’ve benefitted from some additional seasoning of salt and pepper.

Overall, I would call this burger quest a success. I had a delicious burger, enjoyed some great company and went some place that I had wanted to visit for some time. For those of you who were like me and drive by this restaurant everyday and haven’t stopped in for a quick bite, I highly recommend doing so soon. Have a suggestion on where I should visit next month? Tweet me @EDioufUC5 and you just might see your suggestion make the short list. Until next time my burger loving followers…