The history of the hamburger is fairly mythical. The Menches family of Ohio claims to have invented the hamburger at an 1885 fair in Hamburg, New York, when heat and humidity forced them to stop butchering pigs. In all probability, the hamburger was a good idea waiting to happen, and a bunch of folks stumbled upon it around the same time.
The Ram Restaurant & Brewery might not have invented the hamburger, but it has been serving them since 1971 when the Ram Pub opened in the old Villa Plaza in Lakewood.
Today, The Ram has locations throughout the nation, and the burger is still front and center on its menu - more so than ever with its current promotion, Burgerama - "The transformation of the burger to an art form." The restaurant chain has created "10 works of art," according to promotions, which include The Ricardo, Moody Blue Cheeseburger Salad, The Elvis, Reuben Make Me A Burger ... and the two huge burgers I tried Saturday night at the Ruston Way location: the Hillbilly and The Cheeseburger Skirt. The Hillbilly comes with frizzled onions, blue cheese crumbs and blue cheese mayo. The Cheeseburger Skirt - and specifically "The Skirt" is a bunch of cheese allowed to overflow and fry on the griddle, creating something like a dairy based piece of female clothing. It's a stretch, but it will fill your stomach. Actually, both burgers, are a lot of food - especially with fries included. - Ron Swarner
[Ram Restaurant & Brewery, various locations, theram.com]
Carrs Restaurant and Bar
Word around town is Carrs in Lakewood has delicious biscuits and gravy. The automobile-themed restaurant serves American food in a casual, comfortable atmosphere. Plus, seating is adjacent to Carrs' bar - which is always nice.
Having been open two years, Carrs has had plenty of time to tweak the biscuits and gravy recipe - and perfect it they have. Made from scratch, the country gravy is a process. This kind of gravy requires constant stirring and attention or gooey lumps occur. Once stirring has achieved a thick, pillowy consistency, chopped sausage patty is folded in, cooked on the grill until browned on the outside, yet moist and juicy inside. Lightly peppered gravy is then spooned over two tennis ball-size golden biscuits, split, buttered and slightly toasted on the grill.
Not a biscuit fan? This rich and heavy, meat-filled all-American classic breakfast gravy is available with toast or hash browns ($6.59), and can have eggs added to it ($8.49) and be served with Southern-style chicken fried steak ($11.29). A regular plate of biscuits and gravy is simply massive; I took more than half home.
Plus: Huge portion for the price.
Minus: Breakfast only available until 3 p.m. - Jennifer Johnson
[Carrs Restaurant and Bar, 11006 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood 253.584.4622]