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By Anthony M. FUDA
The friendly family atmosphere brings you in, and the inexpensive, great-tasting food keeps you coming back.
We’re talking about the Yankee Kitchen, at the intersection of route 82 and route 193, where you can walk in with $5 and walk out stuffed. And did you know the Yankee Kitchen also has one fine burger?
Actually the menu offers 14 eight ounce burgers — and two junior burgers. The burgers have won the area’s Best Burger Award, so we are already off to a good start.
The Yankee Kitchen is like that place where everybody knows your name, minus the beer. The patrons are very loyal and the restaurant exudes a welcoming quality. The decor reminds you of your own kitchen with the carpeted floors and hardback chairs. It’s your kitchen, except for the cash register and the industrial stove.
The Raptis family has provided the enormous portions of food to the area since 1975. Owners Nick Raptis and Perry Gouirgalis moved the restaurant to its current location in 1981 to better serve the large number of customers who pass through the doors each day.
The restaurant’s success is a result of the employees’ hard work and dedication. The Kitchen boasts experience, with six cooks having worked at the restaurant between 18-28 years each, and one of the waitresses has logged 27 years.
We made our way through the crowded Kitchen to a roomy table, and our waitress, Megan Logan, prepared us for our burger evening. She provided the witty banter we always like and made the evening fun — and that makes the burgers that much better.
One of the chefs, Lyle Almburg, said, “Burgers have always been our bread and butter.”
The burgers ($4.10 to $5.95) are served on a nicely toasted bun, and you can add lettuce and/or tomato for 25 cents each. Or you can make it a Deluxe Platter, getting fries, lettuce and tomato ($1.85), and if you choose, you can substitute onion rings ($2.50).
The burgers arrived and we were down to business. We all agreed the toppings were very fresh and the flavor of each specialty selection (jalapeno, blue cheese, feta cheese, barbecue) added the perfect touch to the burger. We were told by the owner they do not season the beef, which makes the toppings that much more important.
Scott had the Blue Cheese Burger and said, “The Blue Cheese had just the right kick, enhancing each bite without being too overpowering.”
Eric went with the Bacon Cheeseburger and said, “The overall burger was cooked thoroughly and the bacon was deep fried, which made it good and crunchy.”
The sesame seed buns were good, but with the abundant toppings had trouble making it through the entire meal.
The only thing we did not care for were the pre-frozen crinkle cut fries. We prefer a fresh-cut potato, but we added some ketchup and made do with the crinkles.
JT summed up the evening, saying, “The Yankee Kitchen has a great burger menu, and kudos to Megan; service was outstanding. But I did miss having a beer with my burger.”
If you are looking for a great lunchtime burger at the right price then the Yankee Kitchen is the place for you.
One last very important point. When you go, make sure you have cash — don’t leave home without it! — because the Yankee Kitchen does not accept credit cards. But it does have a new ATM so you can get your paper money.