So, I recently decided that I didn’t feel like a big enough jerk after standing in line for a free sushi burrito, and thought that in order to really cement my jerkiness, I would stand in line for another restaurant opening. Last week, Good Stuff Eatery opened its first location outside of D.C. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a small chain run by Spike Mendelsohn, a Top Chef alum, and his family. I’m always on the search for a good burger, and since I’m a bit of a shame-filled Top Chef lover, I thought that I would stop by on opening day to see all the excitement. The family behind this chain obviously knows how to work a crowd and how to employ social media perfectly. With promises of prizes that included a cruise, free milkshakes, and cookbooks, there was a decent line of people outside before the eleven a.m. opening.
I was standing behind a couple of girls who started fangirling the second that Spike came out. It was pretty clear that a nice majority of the girls (and probably some of the guys) were just there to see Spike and squeal over his good looks. This pretty much epitomized the whole ‘celebrity chef’ thing that I just don’t get. I don’t watch Top Chef to root for the cute guys, and I don’t eat at a restaurant because I want to hook up with a chef; I just want to eat some amazing food and not worry about how many times a chef’s been on TV. If I dream of making love to anything, it’s a chocolaty dessert, not man-candy in the shape of a chef.
In this day and age though, I guess I can understand the importance of celebrity. It doesn’t make food any better, but it does get the much needed publicity out there to the masses. Spike knows how to play this up extremely well. In between taking selfies with people, he was going around shaking hands and videotaping some of the highlights of the day. His cheeky attitude is present everywhere from the shirts his staff wear proclaiming the best burgers around to the signs on the wall that say ‘It’s so fresh you’ll think it’s Amish.’ Spike and his family understand what it means to run a business that stands out these days, and it seems like they’re doing it well. I probably would have been more impressed if he made the Steakhouse Burger that I ordered, but I think most of the girls preferred the selfies…he is, admittedly, pretty good looking.
Though I had to wait about ten minutes for my burger, I didn’t mind because I managed to snag myself some free monthly milkshakes and chitchat with the guy who won the cruise. When I did get my food though, I made an immediate beeline for the second floor, which provides ample seating for people to dig in. My burger was cooked to a pretty solid medium-rare, but if you want something more well-done, then you are free to request another temperature. I did think it was pretty funny when I came across pictures and tweets from people who were complaining about the ‘raw’ meat. I’m not really sure when medium-rare became raw, but I just hope that no chefs adopt this sort of outlook towards meat because I think I’d rather become a vegetarian than eat my burgers and steaks well-done.
This particular burger was topped with roasted cremini mushrooms, onion straws, swiss cheese, and tangy steakhouse mayo. I could have done with more mushrooms on my burger and the onion straws needed more crunch to them, but I think there was potential there. The quality of the meat was the real star and I’m willing to give the different burger toppings another go before I’m completely disappointed. For extra hungry people, the burgers may be on the small side, but if you pair it with fries, or fries and a shake, I don’t think anyone will be leaving hungry.
I anticipated needing a little bit more than just a burger, and after debating a bit between the Onion Petals and the Sunny’s Handcut Fries, I ended up ordering the fries. These fries were crispy and had just the right amount of sea salt on them to make them delicious. I hate it when I get fries that are overloaded with salt and lead to me downing multiple glasses of water, and thankfully, Good Stuff knows the perfect fry to salt ratio. I heard chatter about some sort of dip bar for the fries, but it was so packed that I never got to check it out. Luckily, they were good enough on their own; however, I will be on the search for this elusive bar the next time I’m in.
It was a bit of a madhouse and I’d like to come back again sometime so I can see what this place is like on a normal day, but I expect good stuff from Good Stuff. It was pretty rough around the edges that first day, but it could grow into something more. The same day that this burger place opened, I heard that another one of their restaurants, We, the Pizza is coming to Philly; I’m now looking forward to trying that out, too. As much as this may not seem true, I’m not super into gimmicky things, but I’m glad that I stopped by on opening day…even if I did have to stand through some cheesy speeches with a bunch of fangirls.
Yum that looks delicious!
I certainly enjoyed it!
I’m with you–undercooked beats over-cooked by a very wide margin. “I expect good stuff from Good Stuff” You just could not resist, could you?
Why would I pass on that literary gold mine right there? I wish more restaurants would use names that I could use in such great ways.
Very interesting… I’ve always wondered how top chefs’ food really stacks up, as judged by normal people and not celebrities and “professional” eaters. I can’t say that Good Stuff sounds like a destination for me, but it was an entertaining read all the same!
Thinking about it in a “top chef” sense, it’s probably not what you’d expect, but comparing it to places like Five Guys, I think it holds up. If I wanted a true Top Chef experience, I’d probably go to a place that highlights something other than a burger