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Where: JD’s Post House
Address: 5201 Mahoning Ave. NW, Champion
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
Menu: Six burgers ($5.99 to $9.49)
By Anthony M. Fuda
Off the beaten track, as you drive North on Route 45 in the middle of Champion, lies JD’s Post House.
The definition of a post house is a stable for horses to rent to visitors. Also, a post house was a relay point for the mail service’s pony express days, where you would ride in, drop off your horse, then pick up a new horse and continue on your way.
This Post House is sort of like that, but we leave our horse-powered car outside and sit down and have a burger, or Prime rib, which is the house specialty. And then, after we eat, we head back out on our way.
We weren’t sure what to think when JD’s Post House hit our radar. The response from people who have been there was all over the map, from “We love it”, to “We’re never going back!”
Having to find out for ourselves, we made the drive to Champion and brought open stomachs and open minds.
As you walk in, there is a sign that says to try “our famous Prime Rib”. Enticing, but we turned our eyes to the “Hand Pressed Burger” section of the menu. There are six half-pound choices, all served on a Kaiser bun: Bronx Bomber; Whimpie’s Works (cheese, relish, tomato, lettuce, onion, mayo and a pickle spear); Bacon Cheeseburger (cheese and crisp bacon); Scott’s Favorite (grilled onion, mushrooms, melted Swiss); Champion Burger (BBQ, onion rings, bacon and cheese); Double Burger (two half-pound patties). You have your choice of American, Swiss, and provolone cheese.
The sides are separate, or you can make your burger a platter for $2.29 more. If you choose the platter, you can opt for two of the following: home fries, French fries, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, applesauce and cottage cheese.
We ordered our burgers, and actually all went with the same sides - French fries and coleslaw. There were no complaints about the portions, and the slaw was chilled perfectly (which is very important). The fries were thick-cut and just crispy enough.
Our server, Morgan Powell, said she was only a couple of weeks on the job, but ran the show expertly. She started with a pleasant greeting, then brought our burgers out and made sure we had everything we needed to start our review.
The burgers were all as we ordered and were lightly seasoned, telling us the cook knew what he was doing. And the Kaiser buns were soft and fresh. We thought they might not make it through the meal with the size of the patty and the amount of toppings, but the bun did just fine.
I went with the Whimpie’s Works and first noticed that the burger was cooked perfectly, char-broiled on the outside and a nice pink color in the center - and the flavor was reflective. The toppings were picked-from-the-garden fresh. I especially liked the full piece of green-leaf lettuce and the thinly sliced onion. The burger, combined with the toppings produced a tasty sensation you would be proud to serve at any gathering.
JT said, "I went with the bacon cheeseburger and thought it was a very tasty sandwich. The patty was cooked thoroughly with the charred grill lines not only adding to the texture of the beef, but also giving the burger that look; you know, like one of those perfect burgers you would see on a commercial or in a magazine ad. The bacon was very crisp, the way I like it. And the toasted Kaiser roll did it's part by supporting this half-pounder. The fries were good and way more than I could eat, and the slaw was just delicious!"
Eric had the Champion Burger and said, “The Champion burger had a great taste. The BBQ sauce was a good compliment to the meat. Plus, topping it with bacon and onion rings can never be a bad thing. It's safe to say this burger isn't just a "paper champion"!”
We tried to persuade him to get the Scott’s Favorite Burger, but Scott chose the Champion Burger and said, “This is a good burger. The BBQ flavor cooked in the beef kept the burger moist throughout the meal, and a well-cooked piece of bacon always add to the burger’s appeal.”
As you’re passing through Champion, give your horse-powered machine a little rest, and stop at JD’s Post House to try one of the quality burgers. If you still have room left, take a look at the dessert selections.
3 1/2 stars
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