Our day at the Grand Canyon had been a productive one. We managed to go from the Desert View/Watchtower section on the far east end of the park all the way to Hermit's Rest. Along the way, we discovered some really beautiful scenery and great places to take photos.
We also met some stupid people who seemed to think the railings on the edge of the Canyon are helpful suggestions. We saw two clowns bypass the railings and try to walk along the edge of the Canyon on no path, with no equipment and, clearly, no brains. This reminded Dave and I of the book we read called "Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon," which you can by at every gift shop at the Canyon as well as Amazon. It is a great collection of all the people who have died in the Canyon, including those rocket scientists who think rails and fences are for girly-men.
Still, the trip was great, albiet freezing cold, and we waited until just past sunset to head back to Flagstaff for dinner and then back to Phoenix. We piled into the car, turned the heat on maximum and drove through the light snow and twilight. Dave decided to pop in the soundtrack to "The Sound of Music" and we butchered that musical to death with our own special rendition. (Although, I must say I am a natural to play Brigitta in the next staging of TSOM in Phoenix.)
We got to Flagstaff and decided to get a quick bite at Bun Huggers. This little hamburger joint has been in Flagstaff for ages and I remember seeing it as a kid. We pulled up and entered the place. It was jumping with a lot of people avoiding the cold and grabbing a burger for comfort food.
The setup at Bun Huggers is fairly simple. You go to the line, read the board, make your selection, order and they slap your burger or chicken filet on the huge iron grill and cook it. If you have ever been to Chuckbox in Tempe (or the now closed location in Scottsdale), it is essentially the same set up. You get your drinks and wait for your name or number to be called.
We all had essentially the same thing: a burger, a drink and a side. We went for the big burger with cheese. The sides were different for each of us, however. I chose the onion rings. Dave went for the Chili Fries and Neil went for the plain fries. (Please note that the receipt we got only listed the total amount, so I can't break down each item.) We each had a large drink.
The interior of Bun Huggers is Old West with some televisions mounted to the ceiling showing sports. All of the seating is hard wood as well as the tables. We grabbed a "booth" and got comfortable. The place was packed with families, college students, and people retreating from the cold. We waited about 15 minutes and our number was called.
Dave graciously picked up the tab for dinner and the total was 27.54 for burgers, sides and drinks. He came back to the table with our meals and I grabbed my burger and headed for the condiment table, Neil and Dave in tow. The condiments were set up like a salad bar and I fixed my burger just how I liked it. My only complaint was that there was really no one assigned to the condiment bar to keep it fully stocked and cleaned. After an evening of customer abuse, the bar needed a good sprucing up.
We returned to our tables with our burgers and feasted on them. I liked what I got and the fact that it was dressed exactly how I wanted it. The burger was a tad overcooked, but really hearty and juicy. For the five dollar tab, it was worth it because I had piled it high with lettuce, mustard, pickles and a dab of mayo. The onion rings were excellent. Big, crunchy and slightly salty. Each bite, down to the last ring, was very crunchy.
Dave was also enjoying his burger and had polished it off before hitting his plate of chili fries. They looked pretty good and Dave said the chili had a little bit of a kick and was "pretty decent." He said the fries were okay, but nothing special. Likewise, Neil enjoyed his burger, but was exceptionally disappointed with his regular fries. For some reason, his fries were greasy and lukewarm. Lack of quality control like that is really poor because it takes little effort to time the degredation of fries once they leave the fryer and sit in the bin with the heatlamps.
Still, we were pleased. Bun Huggers is not going to be showcased on the "Best 10 Burgers" show on the Food Network, but it was filling, tasty and satisfying. We all felt it was a fair value for what we got, and we all appreciate the fact that the burgers were cooked in front of you and you could fix them anyway you wanted.
We gathered our coats and headed back to the car for the two hour drive back to Phoenix. Even though we were full and it was night, the drive would be fun because we still had to get Maria married off to Captain Von Trapp and then into Switzerland to escape the Nazis.
And kudos to Dave for his portrayal of the Reverand Mother and to Neil for his stunning and heartbreaking rendition of "Edelweiss."
I will never think of "The Sound of Music" the same way again.
901 South Milton
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Notes: There is another location at 3012 East Route 66 in Flagstaff.