semester, I wrote about The Back Abbey with the promise that I would soon
review Eureka!Burger. Someone had told me that The Back Abbey was the best, so I went there first. That person was wrong. Eureka!Burger is better. I forgive that person,
though, because The Back Abbey provided a perfectly good meal, and because that person happens to be my sister (that second reason is tentative; she should know
better). I realize that people may be emotionally invested in their support of one
of the restaurants—of all the
debates that rage in Claremont (Frank vs. Frary, Oxford comma vs. confusion, Pub
vs. studying, etc.), where to find the best burger is certainly one of the most
Is The Back Abbey bad? Absolutely
not. It’s just expensive, which makes me feel guilty. Guilt is bad for digestion. A $13 burger should taste like it came straight from Jean
Georges. If it doesn’t, it feels like coins are grinding against my teeth. A
Back Abbey burger also doesn’t come with fries, which cost an extra eight bucks.
Fries and a burger, then, are $21. To be fair, Eureka! isn’t a charity either.
Burgers range from nine to 13 dollars. But they, at least, come with a side.
The base rule for Eureka! is that
you can’t go there on a weekend, because the wait will be around five days. The
wait time can be so long that they established a texting service to tell you
when it’s safe to come back. On Family Weekend, my friend rode her bicycle there to get a spot on the waiting list, and then biked back to campus to wait. This
strategy is a little risky, because the text will tell you that you have 5
minutes before they give away your spot. I got to watch her and her parents run
frantically to their car, which was entertaining, but not very practical.
There’s a reason so many people
scramble to Eureka!, though: the food is good. The restaurant is essentially a sports
bar, complete with hip waiters, music and HD televisions. The scene is
definitely a contrast to The Back Abbey’s European atmosphere. The menu has all
the standard items of an American burger joint, including onion
rings, tacos and salads. But Eureka! provides an interesting flair to its dishes. I recommend the truffle fries ($7.50), which are “infused” with truffle
oil and topped with melted gruyere cheese. The sweet potato fries ($3.95) are topped
with a generous amount of cinnamon and honey.
But Eureka!Burger’s ten burger options are
what make it truly special. I haven’t had a chance to go through all of them, but I
haven’t been disappointed yet. The most interesting is the Fig Marmalade Burger
($10.75), which includes melted goat cheese, bacon, diced onions, spicy
mustard and fig jam. The sweet marmalade is what makes it strange. Once you
get over the idea that there is fig jam on your burger, you’ll realize that it
tastes pretty good. I also threw in caramelized onions for an extra dollar,
because caramelized onions make every situation
better. I’ve also tried the Jalapeño Egg Burger ($10.95) and the Cowboy Burger
($10.75), which were both solid. If you don’t eat meat, the veggie burger is
supposedly quite good.
Of course, burgers are only part of
the story at both of these places. The Back Abbey
may have better beer, but Eureka! also has a good selection, along with some
pretty darn good Pear Cider. Judging the alcoholic drinks is somewhat difficult for me,
considering it’s illegal for me to order them. The waiters always tend to frown
at my age, despite my considerable charm. I’ll leave it to those older
and wiser than I to make their own conclusions on the beverages. In the
meantime, I’m happy with the burgers.
580 W First St. Claremont, CA 91711