Cheeseburgers Nos. 1, left, and 2 are the signature sandwiches at Christy’s, which has restaurants in Starkville and Columbus. Photo by: John Dorroh
March 4, 2010 10:29:00 AM
I have written about burgers before, and I will probably do it again because ... because ... well, I have a passion for really good ones. Burgers are big business and the second-most popular food in the United States.
There''s something about the aroma of the cooking beef as it fills up the air, saturating one''s clothes with molecules of pure smoky bliss. And no, the meat does not have to be black angus. Contrary to popular belief, plain ole ground beef can make for a very tasty burger.
An unscientific study
Recently I conducted an unscientific poll, asking 53 individuals in the Golden Triangle several questions about their burger preferences.
Question No. 1 was, "What makes a really good burger?" If the person responded with, "What do you mean ''really good burger''?" then I did not use their responses. If you have to ask, then you probably don''t know.
The last question, the most important one, was "Where do you go when you want a good burger and you don''t want to prepare it yourself?"
More than half, 53 percent, said Christy''s offers the best burger. About a third, 31 percent, responded with Mugshots, and the remaining 16 percent was a combination of most of the usual chains, including Wendy''s and McDonald''s, with a sprinkling of McCluskey''s Deli and Brian Michael''s Meat Market in Starkville.
That being said, I visited the new Christy''s off of Highway 45 North in Columbus shortly after they opened in the site of the old Sports Page sports bar on Lincoln Road.
Put your money where your mouth is
I ordered the regular burger, no fries and a tea. My burger arrived at my table in about seven or eight minutes, and I was excited like a kid on Christmas morning. I was on the verge of naming him when I bellied up to the condiment station: lettuce, onions, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup and jalapenos. My burger was almost too thick before I loaded it up with extras, but now it was impossible.
I wondered how in the world anyone could put their mouth around the Christy''s double burger. People who can do that are special, and we''ll leave it at that.
How did it all begin?
The present owner is Todd Burkis, a native of Belleville, Ill. His general manager is Bill Moshier. Both Burkis and Moshier are each clocking well more than 55 hours a week, just to keep up. Burkis drives between Columbus and the original Christy''s in Starkville.
Burkis'' background is in sales. He graduated from Mississippi Sate University with a degree in business.
One day while he was on the golf course, a friend mentioned that Christy''s in Starkville was for sale. That was 1997, and Burkis made the purchase. In 2002 he tore down the original building and moved into its present location on Highway 12 West in Starkville.
Christy is the previous owner''s daughter''s name. Product recognition dictated for Burkis to leave it alone, and he did. Good call.
"Several customers at the Starkville Christy''s told us that they were from Columbus and kept asking when we were going to open a restaurant there," said Burkis.
"I couldn''t find a suitable site on Highway 45, and then I found this location (old Sports Page).... Business here in Columbus has more than doubled our Starkville business in five weeks."
What''s for lunch?
Burgers are the calling card at Christy''s. The basic burgers include The Big Christy ($4.50) and The Double Christy ($6.50), with extras, such as cheese, bacon and mushrooms costing a bit more. The condiment bar is free and includes all of the usual items that one might want, including those ever-popular jalapenos.
Because the burgers are so colossal, you can order a smaller version, which is "more normal," less intimidating. Don''t be afraid to ask for it, no matter what the menu reads.
"We don''t use the dressing bar in Starkville. We thought that we''d try it here in Columbus and see how customers like it ... and so far, they do."
There are five types of sandwiches: grilled chicken ($4.95), catfish, Philly cheese steak, Buffalo chicken, and BBQ pulled pork, all $5.95.
Want a platter? There are chicken tender platters (four tenders, fries and a drink) for $7.95, catfish and Buffalo chicken tenders, both at $8.95.
Salads, a children''s menu, sides, which include onion rings, and soft drinks and tea round out the menu.
The interior is anything but drab, with bright red-and-white checked tables. With a full-time staff of five and 12 part-time, you should not have to wait long to receive your order, but do remember that it is not a typical fast-food chain.
"Our portions are huge," admitted Burkis. "We intended to keep the menu simple and serve a quality meal with big portions. People want value, so we don''t count the number of fries. Instead, we just fill up your basket. The rest is up to the customer," he said.
Christy''s is located at 110 Waverly Road. The doors open for hungry customers seven days a week at 10:30 a.m. They close at 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and at 8 p.m. Sunday.
John Dorroh is a semi-retired high school science teacher, who writes a business column for The Dispatch.
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