Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Pad

We are on the search for the best burger in Topeka. Here is how we rate the burger joints that we will review. First we put heavy emphasis on where the joint is headquartered, Local (Topeka) will garner an automatic 10 bonus points. Kansas owned chains (headquartered in Lawrence, Wichita, etc) an automatic 5 bonus points and National chains (those headquartered outside the state) will garner an automatic 0 bonus points. The ten categories that we will use in our search for the best burger in Topeka will be 1.Burger Patties Quality, 2. Bun Quality, 3. Customer Service, 4. Garnish Quality, 5. Fries Quality, 6. Atmosphere, 7. Order Accuracy, 8. Cleanliness (Restrooms, Dinning area, Entrance, etc), 9. Building Accessibility and 10. Price. All categories will earn a score between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the poorest.

It has been years since I had been to The Pad, the iconic north Topeka burger joint, that briefly had a second location on southwest Washburn. So I was eager to get once again wrap my mouth around and sink my teeth into one of their burgers to see if it was as good as I remembered it.  According to Topeka Capital Journal's, "Best of Topeka" survey, it has been rated one of the top five burgers in Topeka.  So what did my taste buds say?
photographer Kevin Surbaugh

 Bonus Points: 10

1. Burger Patties Quality 7
It was nice to finally eat the cheapest burger at a local joint and be able to really taste the meat.  A nice 1/4 pound burger. Diffidently the biggest burger we have reviewed thus far. Can't say where's the beef at this place. Although, I can't really place my finger on it, but the taste of the burger was a little off. Seemed a little bland, maybe a little old.  Just not sure. Neither really describe the taste I was sensing. Not sure how to really describe it.  For the most part it was great. The fact that this is another one of those places that serves Pepsi™ instead of the better tasting Coke™ didn't help. A nice ice cold Coca-Cola™ might have improved the taste greatly.
photograph by Kevin Surbaugh

2. Bun Quality 10
A nice buttered toasted bun that actually looked and tasted toasted.  

3. Customer Service 10
 Cashier was very attentive to the customers and doing her part to assure the kitchen staff received our special requests so the cooks prepared the burger exactly as we had ordered.  Mine was ketchup only and the wife only had mayonnaise and pickles on her burger. So kudos to them, especially during a busy lunch rush.

4. Garnish Quality 10
Garnish was good and fresh with plenty of pickles. This place doesn't try to chimp you on the number of pickles that they put on your burger, like so many places that only put two or three. The Pad Restaurant actually put five pickles on my wife's burger.

5. Fries Quality 10
 The Pad is one of the few places that serve curly-Q's which in my book makes them better then McDonald's™ Fries. These homemade french fries still had some of the peelings on them. The best part I could actually taste the potatoes, there was no questioning, "where's the potatoes," like at those places that serve those worthless shoestring fries.  In my book, The Pad does a better job with their fries then their burgers. To bad, we aren't searching for the best fries in Topeka.
photograph by Kevin Surbaugh

6. Atmosphere 9
The Pad is another one of those sit down places that is better known for it's burgers and fries. It offers a little fast food vibe, with music barely audible in the background. A salad bar is also available to complete the true sit down restaurant option.

7. Order Accuracy 10
An excellent job on the staff, who prepared our orders exactly as requested. On my part I ordered my quarter pound burger with ketchup only.  My wife ordered the same burger with mayonnaise and pickles only.

8. Cleanliness (Restrooms, Dinning area, Entrance, etc) 10
Despite being during a busy lunch rush, the restaurant  appeared to be in great clean condition. The restrooms were clean, as was the dinning room and entrance.  The condition of the restaurant actually exceeded what I was expecting during such a busy time of day. 

9. Building Accessibility 8
 The building was very accessible, except for one thing. That one thing might give some people with limited mobility a little trouble. There is a heavy door in front of the set of separate restroom doors. Some with mobility issues could have trouble opening  this door and those in wheel chairs might find it a tight squeeze to then open the next door to the respective restroom. An easy fix would be to remove this outer door, thus creating a kind of mini hallway .

10. Price 8
 Burger costs more, but there was more meat. Drinks were way overpriced , like so many places, considering the the syrup itself is only 25¢. They could still a good profit by charging only $1/cup, but the same could be said of most establishments.

Burger $3.25 x2
Fries $1.15 x2
Small drinks $1.69 x2
Total $13.27 

Total Points: 10.2 
A great score, thanks in part to the bonus points earned for being a local owned restaurant.

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