The name “Mugshots” reminds people of a challenge that this eatery offers: finish a monstrous three-patty burger and all the trimmings in 12 minutes and you get it for free, get your name and photo on the wall of honor and are provided letters of apology to your physician and family (okay, maybe not the last one …). Like a showdown at high noon, that challenge is something that the wise try to avoid and the young approach with gusto and indiscretion: “I’ll make you famous!”
Mugshots, in Vestavia Commons (the original opened in Hattiesburg, Miss. in 2004), is a fairly new casual dining sportish-bar, a new-ish location of a new-ish chain. They believe in burgers at this place. They tout the fact that all are half a pound of ground round and each grilled to a nice, safe medium well. But as I ate there, I kept hearing the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in my head.
I found my burger – and the experience in general – maddening. Flashes of brilliance mixed with pedestrian over-exuberance. The fact that many people have suggested that I go and that it’s on several lists of best burgers makes this review … complicated.
Let me pull out mah notes, here … ‘scuse me, while I whip this out …
Me and beautilicious (my hamburger trail buddy), we ordered two different burgers offa that thar menu. I had the “McDonald,” which they called, “By far the best burger on the menu … it’ll knock your clothes off.”
Well, it didn’t, and it didn’t knock one buckskin or hoop skirt off of no one, but iffin that’s the best burger there, than that’s sadder than the cow-poke what said, “I’m putting my money on the Clanton boys; they ain’t never been beat at Corral.”
But, lookey here, you see, the bun on that-thar burger was as tasty as a shot of whiskey after being on the dusty trail all day. Sweet. Soft. Purdiest and tastiest thang in that meal.
But boy howdy, that bun was busy. Why, they’d put nigh onta’ ever livin’ thang you could image on it. Cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomater, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, and ungyuns. Saltier than salt lick I got out on the back forty … And that meat, I know, I’m justa galoot; I tells ‘em to only cook it til it stops mooing. Pardna’, they cooked that thang til it wuz pert near dunner ‘n my boot.
And them thangs they called beer-battered fries … You might can fool an old cowboy once, but I looked them hornswagglers in the eyes and said, “Haven’t I seen you before round these parts? Maybe at Cap’n D’s or some other place?” And you know what, those yellow-livered slivers did? Nothing. Sat there looking guiltier than one of them veg-e-terrians at a cattle rustlin’ convention.
And that sweet thing, beautilicious, you know they brought her a hamburger sandwich with nuthin’ to go on it ‘cept peanut butter? Darn tootin’! Meat, bun and crunchy butter. And you know what? It twernt half bad. Hell, I might even get me one some day.
You know where they get their meat? Naw, not New York City. Houston. Yep. Probably couple million head of cattle on the trail tween here and Houston. None of them good enough?
Oh, it twernt bad, fer the most part. It’s just a bit trigger-happy. Green. A hot shot kid, full of piss and vinegar. It’ll mellow. Age. Learn the ropes of life like, “Sometimes, you eat the bar. Sometimes, it eats you.”
But til then, keep it simple, abide. Less is more, sometimes. Happy burger trails!
Meat – 7 … I think I’ve said enough about this topic. If it had any juiciness left when it got to me, I couldn’t find it.
Bun and fixins’ – 7.5 … Accentuate the positive: the bun is awesome. Alone, the big, fat yeast roll would get a 9.5. But throwing everything on what is supposed to be your place’s best isn’t impressive; it’s overkill. And the lettuce had a distinct twinge of soapiness.
Sides – 7 … I’ve seen your face somewhere before Mr. Fry … Don’t tell me. Okay, tell me. It’s killing me. BTW –I saw another table with fried dill pickles. I still want them!
Service & Presentation – 7 … Beautilicious got a large plastic cup to-go. She was pleased and wanted to make sure that it was noted. Gene was pleasant and attentive.
Ambiance – 8.5 … While I haven’t mentioned much about this, the atmosphere is fun and inviting. It can get loud and the beer is cold. The patio is a great locale for people watching and waiting for a movie at the Rave. Kid friendly, friend-friendly, date-friendly.
Bonus X – No points, but from appearances the other food there looked good. Have heard that the Veggie Black Bean burger is good. Asked the staff if it was cooked on the same grill as the beef. It is cooked separately (on a flat-top used for veggies).