Back in August, the Champaign-Urbana community received some exciting and tasty news: one of our local gigs, Farren's Pub & Eatery, was crowned the top burger spot in the state according to a TripAdvisor report. Ever since I caught wind of this news, I've been dying to try this burger mecca, but I never got around to it because it's located off-campus in downtown Champaign. With my graduation just about three weeks away, I knew it was now or ever. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold, so I wasn't able to physically go to the restaurant. Instead, I had my purchase catered to my apartment via EatStreet so I could grub in my germ-contained apartment and in some cozy pajamas. Nonetheless, I'll share my opinions and experiences from the online shopping to the final, meaty bite.
The restaurant offers a fair selection for its customers, from the traditional sandwiches and burgers (of course) to tacos and even cupcakes! Though many options were mouthwateringly tempting, I just had to pick one of the burgers to investigate this tasty case. I ordered one of Farren's most popular items according to EatStreet: "The Motherlode," which was garnished with sautéed mushrooms, bleu cheese sauce and Swiss cheese atop a hamburger patty. I asked for extra onions on the side to help open up my congested cavities, then I waited about 50 minutes for my order to arrive. The food itself was about $10, so not a bad bargain at all!
While I was waiting, I was able to track my order thanks to EatStreet's real-time updates that communicated to me which step my order was in between the order processing to the car dispatch. The order came almost right on time, give or take a few minutes. The food was packaged tightly in its container and was still steaming hot. Here it is in all its shiny, greasy glory:
The extra onions and my choice of fries came on the side, along with a container of bleu cheese dressing. I peeled back the burger to peek at its layers; from the bottom up, there was a bun, patty, mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese and a generous amount of sautéed mushrooms under the top bun. The patty was thick, juicy and soft but still held a distinct shape. See for yourselves how big this beefy boy was!
After letting my eyes and camera eat first, I went to town. The buns overall were nice, not tough or soggy. I'm not a big mushroom fan, so the 5-10 mushroom cuts were plenty for me, but that probably also means there would be more left to desire for others. The onions were sweet, reminding me of caramelized unions a bit, but perhaps the Swiss cheese contributed to this taste a bit. The meat? It hit the spot, but it became heavier and heavier as I ate. My burger was also tiptoeing on the rare side, increasingly pink as I bit closer to the center, which isn't something I normally go for. The patty also fell apart, making it messy to eat because the buns that held the entire sandwich together were, as I stated, rather soft. I had to scoop up my scraps and eat them separately at times. My favorite part about the burger was, without a doubt, the bleu cheese sauce. That sauce was so rich and made this burger a stand-out that I'll remember for months to come. As for the fries, they were pretty average. The taste and texture were very similar to other fries I've had, so I wouldn't be surprised if they came straight from a vendor.
All in all, I really enjoyed the burger, but I wouldn't say it's the best I ever had in Illinois. Out of 10, I'd rate it an 8.5. Messy food is oftentimes the tastiest, but because the meat and buns were both a bit soft, it was hard to enjoy all the flavors together once things fell apart. Nonetheless, each ingredient was tasty on its own, but they also each worked together to better the burger. Plus the bleu cheese sauce was simply incredible. I was pleasantly satisfied for the price, and I'm happy to finally check this experience off my list before parting with C-U!