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Video Fri Apr 17 2009

Burger Project on Cheeseburger Show

cheeseburgershow.jpgThe Cheeseburger Show made its debut yesterday on CLTV, starring Tribune writer Kevin Pang and a cavalcade of Chicago food and cultural celebrities, from Q101 DJ Electra to chefs Homaro Cantu and Doug Sohn to "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me" host Peter Sagal, all talking about one of America's favorite foods: the cheeseburger. Episode 1 is now available online.

The show immediately brought to mind the Chicago Burger Project, a long-running blog whose mission has been to try every burger (as well as fries and shakes) on Time Out Chicago's 2007 list of the city's best burgers. They've been plowing through as time and bellies allow, veering off-mission occasionally to try more recent additions to the burger scene. So I got in touch with one of the CBP co-founders, Nathaniel Grotte, for his thoughts on the Cheeseburger Show.

A couple of things I have to call out:

- Pang praised the "sharp tang" of American cheese at Top-Notch. The cheese is either sharp or American, but not both.

- Doug Sohn likes the burger at Jury's?! Whoa. OK. I know that place has fans, but I've been there more than a couple of times and am always disappointed by a . Maybe Doug is too exhausted by the high quality and brilliant execution he deals with at work that he prefers to relax with a slab of mediocrity.

- I assume that the (albeit unspoken) conceit of this show is that Kevin Pang's on a quest to find great burgers, which is what people always assume that the Chicago Burger Project is about, when, in fact, it's actually about making fun of Time Out Chicago. It's my belief that really good burgers make for kind of boring analyses, but bad ones can be very entertaining (see the "rollercoaster of flavor" at Riverview Tavern). It's my hope that Pang runs across some real duds and gives people hell about it, because that's good television.

Overall, though, Grotte enjoyed the first episode and said he'd tune in again. I agree -- it's fun and funny, and bound to stay interesting, especially if Pang's net is wide enough to cover some of the more colorful places in the suburbs as well as the city. Keep an eye on his progress by following the "burger yeti" on Twitter.

Andrew / April 17, 2009 2:53 PM

I also had to raise my eyebrows at Homaru Cantu's professed love of The Daily's burgers. The last time I ate there, the food seemed like it'd all been shipped frozen...

Andrew Huff / April 17, 2009 3:04 PM

I don't mind The Daily's burgers, actually. I wouldn't be surprised if their burgers are off a food service truck, but they're good sized and fairly decent. Maybe you got a bad one...

Kevin Pang / April 17, 2009 5:34 PM

Many thanks for the mention and interest. The only thing I’d add to Nate Grotte’s comments (and I'm a fan of his site) is that yes, I see the validity in exposing places with dud burgers, but a name like the Tribune still holds a certain weight in the community, and one bad mention could shut their business down. And perhaps the larger point: why waste film highlighting a place with bad food?


Audarshia / April 20, 2009 9:36 AM

Hey, I'm giving Kevin props too this week on Playboy. I thought it was a really fun and lively show, and YES, I did seek out a "tasty burger" after viewing it.

The only recommendation I'd have is for Mr. Cheeseburger Bureau Chief to put the ADDRESSES of the places! He had the neighborhoods, but I cannot even remember the name of the one in Beverly (I really want to go there), but in order for this to be truly effective those should definitely be included.

Other than that, great job!

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