Burgerthon, Episode 2/ Rodeo Burger

Homemade relish, low prices, friendly service...how could you go wrong?! By grilling a burger that's only a'ight, that's how!

BY EMIL TIEDEMANN

I'VE lived in Edmonton ALL my life, 32 years total, so it always amazes me when I still, steadily stumble upon places in town that I've never been to before. Places I've never even heard of, actually. Case in point, Rodeo Burger, just across the street from the University Hospital (8525B-112 St./ 780-435-6733). Apparently, it's been there for about two years, but it's certainly brand new to me.

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Despite it's big red sign, and being street front on a road that has taken me to or from Whyte Avenue many a time...oh, and specializing in burgers(!)...I had yet to make my acquaintance with this place, which I'm sure is frequented by the on-a-budget U of A students on their lunch, coffee, or pot breaks. Good on Rodeo for taking up residence before the fused Tim Horton's/ Wendy's just steps away, and nestled comfortably in between a taco joint and a pizza joint. No wonder we're all so fat!

Standing outside Rodeo Burger I could not only determine how many fellow grease gurus I'd have to seat compete with, but through the wall-to-wall window I could even see right into the open kitchen, where diligent staff crafted hungry clients' burgers quick and fresh. Just how I like it.

I put my order in, the Rodeo Burger ($4.89), with cheese ($0.50) and bacon ($0.50), combo (add $4), totalling $9.89 (+ tax). Myself being an intimidated Rodeo virgin with a rather cowardly stomach, passed on options like The Western (bacon guacamole), The Aussie (egg on top), and The Outlaw (mushroom patty), and went straight for their signature sandwich, sided with a serve-yourself soda and fries that almost outdo the greasier-than-anticipated burgers themselves.

From my eyes' point of view the Rodeo Burger was top of the class, but it lacked any real originality, other than the homemade relish, "made with fresh cucumber multiple times a day." Especially for a place that especialized in these things! Yes, the bacon was crisp, the cheddar was melted, and the onions were caramelized, but the headliners (the meat 'n' buns) were comparatively half-assed.

Rodeo Burger's The Rodeo Burger comes complete with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions,
and homemade relish; add cheese and bacon (& fries) for your best results!

Don't get me wrong, I scarfed it down like there was no tomorrow (or like I was one of those U of A kids on his pot break!), but there's really no necessity in me coming back here, especially considering that the taunting delights of Deluxe Burger and the Burger Joint are just so damn plausible.

But there are other things to consider here. Again, them "healthier & tastier" fries--made from Canadian-grown taters and cooked in 100% sun-flower oil--are reason enough. Plus, they're licensed, which means you can enjoy a cold beer (domestic or imported) or a glass of wine with your meal. Rodeo also offers flat-screen TVs, inspiring dips, sauces, and seasonings, chocolate, toffee or caramel cookies ($0.69 each), and friendly, speedy service. These days, that latter one can be hard to come by!

The Rodeo Burger/ 3 outta 5

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