Get your burger fix at The Fix
Hamburgers should be a sure-fire smash addition to the Niche Group’s hegemony over Worcester dining. In recent years, America’s been waking up to the realization that the major burger chains no longer serve up meals very fast nor very cheap. What they do seem to offer are expensive marketing and industrial simulations of common food items. We’re ready for something better.
So where do you go for an adult-style burger? There are a few places in town, but now Shrewsbury Street makes the scene with The Fix. Initially unexcited by the concept, my eyes were opened by the sample they offered up for the Taste of Shrewsbury Street: crispy-rich pork belly cubes with tasty pickle chips and barbecue baked beans. That sampling whet my appetite and made me long for a return visit.
A few weeks later, I met a couple friends for dinner at The Fix. It’s sited in the old Mezcal location, and after being seated, we scanned the surroundings to get a sense of theme. Antiquey handbills for patent medicines and wall-sized chalkboards advertising the day’s specials and illustrated with multi-color masterworks of hobo-like characters give the place a strange feel.
Perhaps strange is appropriate. After all, the day someone decided to grind meat, form it into patties and grill them over flames must have been an unusual one. Let us give thanks.
Carol served us that evening and assisted us through the draft beer selection process. When she got to Wormtown’s Be Hoppy IPA, I stopped her and placed my order. This is an IPA that holds its own with any of the others. It’s so easy to buy local when we have Wormtown around!
If I have a problem with nachos, it’s that I find them irresistible. And most places serve up such a mountain of chips, slathered with toppings and cheeses, that inevitably I make it my mission to plow through so many I go into nacho-overdose. Never mind that I lose any appetite for my entrée; it’s the weeks of shame I must suffer for yet another nacho binge.
The Fix does things with a few differences. Their portion of House Fried Potato Chip Nachos with Short Rib, while smaller than others, was perfect for three guys to share. We each dug out a couple chunks of tender, meaty short ribs, and by the time we were finished, we were ready for our burgers. One of my friends takes pride in his homemade potato chips. He reckoned the Fix’s were almost as good as his own. This was an exciting compliment.
My other companion was tasked with the analytics: “A good combination: short ribs full of beefy-good flavor with sweet roasted corn, the mild burn of fresh jalapenos and spicy-sweet barbeque sauce interlaced with melted cheese!’
A blackboard feature simply titled “Lamb” was immediately my burger choice; I haven’t had a lamb patty in years. This one, ground domestic lamb, thick and juicy, was still pink in the center and topped with creamy herbed goat cheese, slices of sweet red onion and a bristling layer of tender salad greens. All of this was packed in a moist brioche bun ~ hamburger nirvana served with golden fries.
One of my friends chose The Fix’s BBQ Bacon. It came topped with bacon, grilled onion, BBQ baked beans, smoky Gouda cheese and barbeque sauce on another of those deep-brown brioche buns. When I’d look up from my own burger, I’d observe him using his knife and fork to plow through his. When I return to The Fix, I might request the BBQ Bacon topped with a bowl of creamy coleslaw.
The third person in our party kept things simpler with The Classic Burger. It’s served with your choice or all: leafy greens, red onion, tomato, pickles, American cheese and garlic mayonnaise. All of our dishes came with french fries, but we could have chosen onion rings.
If there was any downside to the evening, it was the wait-time for our burgers. Carol stopped by a couple times to explain what was going on in the kitchen. Fortunately, we had plenty to talk about, and the time passed painlessly. If fast is what you want, every town has a strip lined with drive-thrus that specialize in it.
But if you insist upon in tasty flavor combinations and quality ingredients, head to The Fix Burger Bar.
The Fix Burger Bar
166 Shrewsbury St., Worcester
By Bernie Whitmore