When I first met Bobby Couch
, a then-Paragon Culinary School
student, he was undertaking a nearly 24-hour hell day of a final exam
back in the summer of 2009. During dinner service, a serious kitchen accident occurred, leaving the military veteran with severe burns and an option to quit and retake the test later.
"Fuck that, I'm finishing," he blurted to school dean Victor Matthews
, who had responded to the screams from the kitchen and returned to our table with an amusingly bemused but somewhat proud look on his face.
Obviously, Couch's name stuck with me, and I wasn't surprised to later run into the resilient culinarian during his later stints at Nosh
, the Craftwood Inn
and, most recently, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
I was however surprised to receive this email from him a couple of days ago:
I just soft opened my "onion" fried hamburger restaurant next to the zodiac venue. We are still working a couple kinks out with the fountain machine etc. but I remodeled the entire inside of the former "slice" pizzeria and I believe it looks pretty damn good. The menu is straight forward, small and good.
And, I was admittedly surprised by his trust in the location, which has seen quite a number of hopeful eateries come and go in recent years.
"I'm confident," he later told us. "The product is fresh and good. ... I'm not just a jackass cooking hamburgers." Couch also notes that since he soft-opened on Aug. 2, he's had a handful of customers who've literally been by to eat every day since.
So, last night, we stopped by after work to grab a quick bite, indeed finding Couch's self-assessment pretty accurate. First, click the photo below to read about the El Reno-style Fried Onion Burger
, which enjoys its own annual festival
back in Oklahoma, Couch's childhood stomping ground:
Here's a look at the new signage:
And a look at the revamped interior:
And the menu:
Caramelized onions are the key to the famous onion-fried burger:
The finished burger, an 85-15 mix of sirloin/chuck to fat, picked up fresh from Andy's Meat Market
The Coney, sourced from Flint, Mich.-based Koegel Meats
, which are quite popular in Detroit:
Lastly, really good, salty hand-cut fries: