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Ghetto Burger Sign on Memorial DriveIn a pilgrimage to find the best burger in Atlanta, where better to go than the 
Best Location for Hamburgers in the Nation
, right?

Such renowned publications as The Wall Street Journal and CNN.com must have some sort of merit in their declarations. I am here to say, I doubt the validity and unbiasedness of their proclamations, specifically regarding “America’s #1 Burger.”

Let me digress, I am a huge fan (more than apparent) of great dining locations and famous ones at that; however, nothing is less fulfilling than visiting a more than publicized spot, only to see the hard truth.



Outside Ann's Snack Bar

“There’s No Hands Like Miss Ann’s”

On Tuesday, Big Swiss and I made our way through the dreary rain to a tiny spot in Kirkwood, the nationally acclaimed
Ann’s Snack Bar. Fortunately, this place has grossed enough revenue in the past 30 years to constitute a screened-in porch for customers deemed to wait in Purgatory (Big Swiss, 2012). This debasing label reflects any amount of people greater than the sum of eight; you see, at Ann’s, only 8 customers at a time are allowed to experience “the hands.” Hence, if you were so lucky as to get their during primetime, you are subjected to wait under the outside awning we refer to as “Hamburger Limbo.”

Before I start ranting, let me give the visitors of this site what they want,


Good:

If you are a fan of Chili, you will wont have an issue with their huge, flagship, sandwich. I eat a lot and was unable to finish the combo, both Kevin and I took our foiled burgers home. The location is also very enticing; dirty, small, run-down, but with a certain allure. This place feels like the ultimate “hole-in-the-wall” burger joint.

Bad:

Over-Hyped: This place was ranked #1 in the nation by WSJ and #1 in Atlanta by a “so called” food critic on Yelp. We have had the pleasure of tasting some really amazing hamburgers all over Atlanta, so what we were expecting from Ann’s was near-perfection; sadly, this did not happen.

Other Thoughts:

Caution: This place is not in the best part of town. Take a tour on Google Maps Street View if you wish to verify my opinion.

Bathroom:

Non-existent, nada, zilch; they do not have one for “public use”; judging by their cleanliness, this is probably a good thing.

By Big Swiss


Ann’s Snack Bar Phone Number, Directions, Menu, and Hours: 

1615 Memorial Drive Southeast Atlanta, GA 30317 | 404.687.9207
Monday – Saturday
11:00a.m. to 7:00p.m.
Sunday
Closed


Anns Snack Bar Rules

I will be the first to admit, I was more than excited to experience such an attraction; after visiting their website, I was dumbfounded at their stats, referrals, and apparel. I longed for one of their T-Shirts, only to find they were merely drop-shipped to prospective customers and not available in person.

This lack of physical marketing, along with their now camouflaged set of “8 Rules,” strikes me as a perpetual disregard for “Ann’s Lore.” In addition, according to Wikipedia, “[Ann Price] has been trying to sell the restaurant since 2009, initially setting the value at $1.5 million, but as of late 2010, the difficult real estate market has forced her to lower her asking price.”

I understand that one cannot run an establishment forever, however, it would be nice for them to embrace their fame and abide by their perceived image; although this may sound unnerving, I’d rather see a tourist attraction than an abashed, expiring business. Furthermore, it is the “Ann’s” brand and its supposed legitimacy that compels, so how could a potential buyer ever hope to make a living without the presence of Miss Price, especially after the proposed investment.

“Ghetto Burger” with Fries $10.00

It’s review time; fortunate for Swiss and I, we arrived around 2 0’clock and were able to avoid the wet, outer canopy. To my surprise, Ann Price was not there, although what owner ever is; instead, her brother and a very lovely elderly woman. The mood of the bar was stoic; hardly any noise, sound, or expression circumvented the tight enclosure.

You have to admire their overhead cost or lack there of; everything from the cups, plates, utensils, and of course napkins were disposable. Also inexpensive, they use generic buns, such a fatal mistake for most burger joints; their condiment regime (“secret ingredients”) includes orthodox Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard, and Paprika.
Ghetto Burger Recipe
From my experience in the restaurant industry, the eight at a time scheme is vastly inconvenient for The French Fries from Ann's Snack Barcustomers but a great bottleneck for incoming traffic. As we were greeted by the kind woman, another customer trailed behind; we were able to place our meal, he on the other hand, was forced to wait. He was prompted for his order but cut off mid-sentence by the brother; so not only is there an eight person limit, but one has to endure the cook’s pace as well as his discrepancy. I realize this is their shtick,
“Ann Don’t Take No Crap,” but the abrupt interjection was a tad demeaning. Moreover, when Swiss requested to use the restroom, he was instructed to visit the Exxon down the street. Consequently, it is probably raw gestures like these that paved their way to fame.

I would approximate a 25 minute cook time; as an appetizer, we received our bare stereotypical, French Fries. With the addition of the abundantly supplied Paprika, the reformed fries were gone by the main course.

We both set our sights on the “Ghetto Burger”Two Beef Patties, Chili, Mustard, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Grilled Onions, and Cheese

I of course, exempted myself from the Mustard and Mayonnaise variables. Ironically, they did not list Paprika as an ingredient; despite the copious amount they use as seasoning.


“Best Burger In The Nation,” My Honest Opinion


Ghetto Burger from Ann's Snack Bar At first glimpse, the dish is definitely visually appealing; it would be foolish not to appreciate the ample amount of beef between those two toasted buns. Slightly stuffed from the fry installment but still anxious, Swiss and I scarfed down the first half of our sandwiches. We stared, chewed, gazed, masticated, and almost in unison, gave each other the look of “Really?” 

Compared to previous endeavors, I felt the flavor to be deficient. My first objection is the temperature of the Chili; the degree of the sauce is “too hot for a burger.” This seems odd, but their is certainly an unwritten medium for burger-warmth. This piping temperature lining the patties directly contradicts the cold, crisp Lettuce and Tomato atop. Combined with contrasting textures from the brittle Bacon and gelatinous Chili, my ultimate conjecture is incongruence. The ingredients, or at least their layered order, were imposing on my taste receptors.

Big Swiss always adds a needed perspective to our scouting, he rather enjoyed the collage of innards; nevertheless, we came to a consensus, we are not gluttons for Chili. Perhaps lovers of the meaty sauce value the Ghetto Classic for what it’s worth; after all, Wall Street Journal’s judgement is seldom wrong, just as I am rarely sarcastic.

My next critique of the institution is cleanliness; as previously mentioned, they advocate using bare hands. Arguably, I do not see how the FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) either allows or ignores, such primitive methods. While this is a personal conniption, I wonder how other customers feel about the hygiene.

Nevertheless, Ann’s Snack Bar is a World Famous Entity with a Nationally Recognized Burger; my argument, I do not feel they encompass the caliber worthy of such high praise. Yes, their burgers are unconventional and their motifs are unique, but claiming the “Ghetto Burger” as the nation’s favored beef-wich undermines the creativity of all other Atlanta Hamburger Venues.

  1. Erik Dennihy says:

    I do not see how anyone, especially CNN, could ever view Ann’s as the number one burger in the nation

  2. Tim Jeore says:

    Burgers I do adore. Put your meat on this patty because I would love to havey

  3. Chris Stark says:

    I always thought the Varsity had the best burger in Atlanta. You guys should do their review. They have delicious chili dogs too. 🙂

  4. Blake New says:

    is this that locale in the middle of nowhere? By far the rudest place i have ever been

  5. Shane Whicked says:

    Burgers and Fries Go Yumm

  6. Jim M says:

    Great Big Burgers can be found at US Cafe

  7. Jordan H. Phanny says:

    Do you guys recommended any Burger Recipes?

    I love the Bison Burger at Ted’s. You guys should check them out

  8. Wendy says:

    The Name says it all, no matter the burger joint, you gotta love Wendy’s more

  9. Don M. says:

    Its not Paprika… its just plain ole seasoning salt… I’m always concerned about the heaping amounts used as well.

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