Doing a little shopping in Trenton, I was on my way back home about lunch time and something caught my eye, “Home of the 48-Ounce Burger”. I couldn’t imagine 48 ounces of anything! Are our stomachs even that big? Can they hold 48 ounces?
When I walked in, I heard “Beulah Land” playing over the speaker – it sounded like old timey shape-notes gospel. I was sure that Randy’s was a hometown restaurant owned by Southern Christians. This place was not far from downtown Chattanooga – maybe 15 minutes at the most. It is set up like a Shoney’s, except you seat yourself.
There was an Alabama colored wall with the Alabama elephant on it and then there was a Georgia sign on the wall – but I didn’t see anything orange or with a big “T”. After washing up in their restroom, I seated myself at a booth table. I noticed two ‘big ol’ boys’ with white shirts and ties come in and take what seemed to be their regular seat. They didn’t look around or anything – just went straight to it and told a waitress passing by what they would like to drink, before they even sat down.
The whole place had to be full of “regulars”. Those men talked to everyone that passed by their table. It was almost as if it were “come to meetin’ Sunday”. Just down home folk and everybody knew everybody. I could tell those ol’ boys were PBE’s (Professional Buffet Eaters) as they grabbed plates at the bar and walloped piles of food on their plates.
I would almost bet you that they had both had the 48-ounce burger before. The waitress came to ask me if I knew what I wanted and I looked a little bewildered as I wasn’t even given a menu. I told her that I had never been there before and she grabbed a menu for me and took my drink order. She must really be used to everyone being a regular and I felt as if I had caused her an inconvenience.
I had been eating so much garden vegetables lately that I went all out in getting a good burger and even wanted a fried something on the side. Most people around here like fried pickles. I had only had them once and thought I would try them here. I also wanted to try their fried mushrooms, so I planned to just go ahead and have a heart attack and order both. I got the mushrooms as an appetizer for $4.95 while I waited on the rest.
I asked the waitress if anyone had ever eaten the 48-ounce burger and she said that many people have and that their picture was on the wall. The PBE’s were listening and one of them hollered, “Go ahead and order you one, I think you could handle it!”
I tried the mushrooms that were brought out to me. They were not good. I could not eat them. The breading was a bit hard on the outside and the inside was a little slimy on the crust. I smelled them to make sure they didn’t smell spoiled – what does a spoiled mushroom smell like? I think the mushrooms were fine; I was even brave enough to scrape off the breading and try one. They were okay, but whatever they dredged the mushrooms in before coating them, must have had a mayonnaise or oily base to them. I’ve had better.
When my $5.99 burger and the $2.95 pickles arrived I was given a packet of dressing for the pickles, but there was no mustard on the table. I didn’t see the waitress again so I went up to the cash register person and asked if I could get some mustard. The lady at the register was very chatty. She asked me, “Are you the one that got the mushrooms?” I said yes. She said, “Do you want the mustard for your mushrooms?”
I didn’t think it was any of her business if I did or not, but I said, “No, I’d like it for my hamburger.” She said, “I have packets of ketchup and mayonnaise under the counter,” then she whispered a secret to me “but no telling how old it is!” One of the cooks walking passed had heard me ask for mustard and he went to the back to get me some, leaving me with miss chatty-tell-all.
She said, “I just love the mushrooms here!” I didn’t tell her that I wasn’t fond of them. She went on to say, “The best burger around is up the road at ‘J’s Hole in the Wall’ in Bryant, Ala. – that is the best burger I have tasted!” She seemed to be confiding in me a lot. I felt almost as if I were a spy gathering all the intel I could get. She went on to say, “I want to try J’s mushrooms… you get a whole lot more for a lesser price than we charge”.
I wondered if this was a trick.
Was I supposed to tell them to keep their burger and overpriced, slimy mushrooms and head on up to ‘J’s Hole in the Wall’? I took my seat and doctored my burger with the mustard and put a fried pickle in my mouth. I wanted to spit it out! It tasted as if they poured a can of salt on them! I had fried pickles before and I can take them or leave them – but these I would definitely leave! I thought, maybe the pickles were just very dill and I should try another one – but no… they were really that salty. It didn’t taste like they just salted them after coming from the fryer, it tasted as if they also salted them before they were battered!
I really didn’t want to have a heart attack, so I did leave the mushrooms and the pickles and just worked on the burger. It was pretty good. They make their own bread rolls for the burgers. In fact, the waitress had said that if anyone wants to eat the 48-ounce burger, they need to call ahead so they can make sure to make the bun.
The PBE’s got up to leave and the one who suggested I get the 48-ounce burger patted his barrel-stomach and said, “They are gonna have to roll me outta here!” with a chuckle. I guess if you are a regular and you have your insurance paid up and your cholesterol medication ready – you could enjoy Randy’s Restaurant and maybe even try the 48-ouncer! But according to miss chatty… the best burger is at a hole in the wall.