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Charcoal Oven burgers are smokin' with flavor

The Charcoal Oven offers plenty of charcoal flavor ... and burgers, too.
BY GREG ELWELL Published: April 20, 2011

On a busy stretch of Northwest Expressway, I find the difficulty of getting into Charcoal Oven, 2701 Northwest Expressway, tends to diminish my odds of eating there. Is that fair? I don't know. It's just true.

I was raised to believe that anything difficult is probably not worth doing, which has, you can see, served me well. And when I'm heading southeast on that road, it takes honest-to-goodness effort to turn the car around and get in there.

Would I do it if the food was amazing? Absolutely. For whatever reason, good food is one of the only things for which I am willing to work hard.

Do you know, in order to get seats for two at Nic's Grill at lunch, I will arrive for my massive cheeseburger at 10:45 a.m.? It's true. But that burger will blow your mind.

Charcoal Oven? Well, it's not quite that good. And it's a little pricey.

The cheapest burger you're going to get there is $3 and that's for a kid's burger. $4.19 and up are the full-sized burgers with a wide range of toppings to choose from. A combo meal will easily run you $7 or more.

But pay close attention to your choice — they don't all come with lettuce and tomatoes. In fact, most don't.

Recently, I tried a few different burgers and found that out for myself. First, I got the Theta burger, with a thick, sweet hickory sauce and cheese. That's it. Burger, bun, sauce and cheese.

That might sound like a complaint, but it's not. The Theta is kind of perfect. They really do use charcoal and it comes through in the flavor of the meat. And that smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the hickory sauce. The cheese melts into the whole business. It doesn't look pretty, but it tastes pretty good.

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