A classic burger joint with history and longevity.
Esquire recently conducted a poll to determine America’s Most Life-Changing Burger Joint and, for those living under a rock for the past month, Dick’s Drive-In destroyed the competition. It was a nice win for the home team, but it got me thinking: what is the most life-changing burger I’ve ever experienced?
Considering it’s been my favorite food since childhood, I have countless choices. Eventually, I settled on two co-champions. The first was at Eleanor’s in Uniontown, WA. It’s about 20 minutes south of Pullman, WA, and anything situated roughly five hours from Seattle makes for a terrible inconvenience. Fortunately, the second life changer is a heck of a lot closer.
The History: The eldest of John and Babe’s trio of Red Mill Burger shacks opened in 1994 at the interchange of Greenwood and Phinney Avenues, with the second location (Interbay) opening a few years later. The latest expansion came last fall at the Totem House in Ballard, with Red Mill paying tribute to the building’s roots by adding fish and chips to the menu.
The Experience: Other than fish, things haven’t changed much in almost twenty years. If it didn’t exist in 1994, it’s still not accepted today. This includes plastic currency and cell phones—they’re just rude, dude! They also aren’t particularly fond of a certain former Seattle Supersonics owner. Here’s a veteran tip: skip the massive lines by calling in your order. Just be prepared for the envious glares when you walk past in order to pay.
The Food: I’m going to keep this simple: order a Bacon Deluxe with Cheese and Babe’s Onion Rings. The burger is a thick juicy patty, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onions, secret Mill Sauce and pepper bacon all neatly constructed on a Kaiser bun. Don’t be tempted to add ketchup and mustard, because they merely drown out the powerful flavors
The onion rings are an even greater achievement. Most rings tend to be a greasy, soggy mess, but Babe’s are incomparably thick and crispy. Don’t believe me? Just ask GQ Magazine. They ranked them #1 in America a few years back as well. Fitting for a city that seems to have conquered the burger joint landscape.
Red Mill Burgers | 312 N. 67th. (206) 783-6362 & 1613 West Dravus (206) 284-6363