The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Red Robin

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on September 28, 2009

As we were cruising across the state to the Outer Banks, the trek left us hungry around the lunching hour.  “Fast food, or sit-down?”  As we still had 3 hours left on our journey, we decided to try a sit-down in the Raliegh area.  As we rounded the shopping center, we had any number of options to choose from.  A sushi place, a large taproom, a mexican restaurant, and a Red Robin.
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One of my long-time favorite restaurants is Red Robin.  When I was in high school, I lived near Potomac Mills, VA.  One of America’s first “Super Malls” I can remember when Potomac Mills was nothing but a large field.  In the early-90s, I think, there was a sizable mall-expansion project, and Red Robin was built at the tail-end of this expansion.  Being a kid-focused restaurant, and having bottomless fries, this targeted my mid/late-teen metabolism appropriately.  It certainly didn’t hurt that the waitresses were mostly cute, high-school-aged girls from rival high schools.  Fast forward 10+ years, it’s no longer the waitresses that draw me in, but just the nostalgia and fries.

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If you’ve never been to a Red Robin, their menu is built around “gourmet” hamburgers.  Don’t read too much into the “gourmet.”  It mostly just means novel toppings.  In the last 10 years, they have expanded their menu to include a large selection of fresh salads, and several chicken and seafood options.

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Another addition to the menu, which I think has been wildly popular is the “freckled lemonade.”  Large hunks of strawberry dropped into lemonade.  It’s never been my thing, but I am certainly in the minority.

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The Wife ordered the Whiskey River BBQ burger, which comes with onion straws on it, as well as BBQ sauce.  I have been all around the menu throughout my tenure as a Red Robin fan, but I have ultimately settled on the “Royal.”  In fact, my order hasn’t changed in probably 5 years.

“I’ll take a Royal, some pink, no mayo, with blue cheese dressing on the side.”

The Royal is a burger with regular burger, with lettuce tomato, mayo, american cheese, bacon, and a fried egg on top.  Burgers don’t come “medium,” “rare,” or “well done.”  They are “some pink” or “no pink.”  There’s something about the texture of mayo that I just can’t tolerate, so I avoid it at every turn, with few exceptions.  Regular yogurt actually falls into this category, too.    The blue cheese is my condiment of choice, IF I’m going to have anything on fries.  Ketchup and mustard are fine, but blue cheese on fries is where it’s at.  The bottomless fries, which are far less bottomless for me, now that my metabolism has slowed down, require something to keep them moving.

I know, I know.  A fried egg not only sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, but generally just disgusting.  There is something about the flavor of egg yolk, mostly cooked (VERY little runny texture), along with the burger, bacon, and cheese, that is exquisite.

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See the onions and dark BBQ sauce?  It’s tasty, but it’s no Royal.

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The fried egg is hard to see, but it’s on top of the tomato.  It kind of looks like another piece of cheese.

Like my friend Adam said to me before I gave the Royal a try, “Don’t knock it, until you’ve tried it.”

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2 Responses to “Red Robin”

  1. Girl! you lived in Potomac Mills? I’m from the area, too! Actually, Vienna, but close enough 😀
    I had the BEST burger in Red Robin. I kinda forgot the name, but it was in a cornmeal jalepano bun with grilled pineapple…DELISH!

    • hungrywanderers said

      Ooh that sounds delish! I’ll be sure to check it out next time we go to see if they still have it. Oh, and it was the Husband who actually lived near Potomac Mills while I grew up in Silver Spring.

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