It’s been a weird couple of months.
People can adorn their homes with candles and incense that smell like celebrities’ vaginas. Pictures of Dr. Phil’s cursed mansion have emerged on Twitter. And so has a super zoomed-in image of the sun’s surface, which basically looks like a bunch of cheese curds smothered in brown gravy. Then there’s the presidential election. And Baby Nut. And Elon Musk’s dance moves. And the chef’s kiss emoji.
Of all the outlandish stuff that has worked its way into my consciousness since the first of January, the wildest, yet most delightful, has been the discovery of The Peak Inn’s $5.50 burger.
We’re living in a time where a genuinely delicious, made-from-scratch burger that sets you back five bucks and some change is a rarity, though a welcomed one.
The Peak Inn opened in November at 132 North Peak Street, in the old Peak & Elm space. The spot is run by Joel Morales and Marc Hooper. Morales, who is also a co-owner at Adair’s, calls the spot a “grown-ups bar.”
The menu here is straightforward. There’s domestic, import, and local beers. There’s a decent selection of mid-range liquors. And dishes range from cheesesteak egg rolls to chicken rollatini. “We work with fresh ingredients and make most things from scratch,” says Morales. “Even our noodles and dumplings.” He explains that it’s more cost-effective to make the food by hand and that’s how the bar is able to serve its burgers for an affordable $5.50.
There are three to choose from: the straight-up cheeseburger (beef, American cheese, mustard, lettuce, pickles, and onions), the Child’s Play (beef, American cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickles, onions), and the Lil Kahuna (beef, American cheese, housemade Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, onion, and pickles). The chuck is seasoned with salt and pepper and ground in house. Each patty is served as a quarter-pound smashed burger that’s cooked until slightly crusted on the outside.
The Lil Kahuna is my personal favorite. The burger is, of course, a nod to Pulp Fiction and comes served on a sweet bun from Signature Baking Company, which is similar to a Hawaiian roll. The bun is placed on the grill so that the interior becomes crispy, while the exterior remains soft and pillow-y. The housemade Thousand Island dressing is a blend of mayo, ketchup, onions, eggs, and pickles. It’s mixed with shredded lettuce to create a creamy and tangy slaw with balanced acidity. It comes served on a metal plate lined with black and white checkered deli paper. You’ll likely need extra napkins.
It’s dark. The walls are made of exposed brick and wood paneling. Canned beer is served alongside small chilled glasses. There’s a faux fireplace and jukebox and a red pool table and a large Persian rug. There are TV trays stacked in a corner, which can be used to set your food and drinks on while you lounge on a leather bench and watch sports on a flat-screen TV. It’s kind of like being in the basement of that one friend you had in high school’s house whose parents let you drink underage because ‘they were upstairs’ and it was ‘better to let the kids experiment with alcohol in a safe space.’
Go to The Peak Inn. Order The Lil Kahuna. Eat the entire thing. Pat yourself on the belly, or wherever it is that you pat yourself after such feats. Bask in the afterglow that a rare $5.50 burger emits.