Review #29 - Cheesy Jane's

Posted by Burger Boy | | Posted On Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 9:28 PM

In my experience, one of the hardest burger joints to find is the one that has both a good burger and good sides. All too often I have a great burger, but the sides don't seem to get the attention from the kitchen that they deserve. Chris Madrid's and Chester's both have good burgers, but their fries are mushy and not to my liking. Occasionally, you run into a place where the opposite is true- the sides are good but the burger isn't (Bunsen Burgers had interesting tempura fries and a good milkshake, but an uninspiring burger).

Cheesy Jane’s, at 4200 Broadway St, San Antonio 78209, has a good burger and almost universally praised sides. From the delicious fries, to the spicy jalapeno splinters, Cheesy Jane’s always delivers on all fronts. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve got the trifecta for a burger place—Good burger, good fries, and a good milkshake.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I’ve been a regular at Cheesy Jane’s for years. I eat there on a weekly basis, and I’m always happy I did. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Burger - 7 out of 10

The burgers are delicious. The burger has juicy fresh meat without being too over or undercooked. I think they’re very well seasoned, though there seems to some disagreement among your reviewers on this point. Burgers are available in a number of sizes, from 1/3 to 1 pound.

Since the burger is the keystone of this blog, here’s what some of the other reviewers said about Cheesy Jane’s.

Where’s the Beef – I got the 1/2 pound and it was a good decision. A little thicker than most San Antonio burgers. It had a nice flavor and the bun was good and toasty.

Fry Daddy – A pretty good burger that unfortunately has fallen prey to the underseasoning epidemic afflicting many of San Antonio's burger joints. My burger was also a little heavy on the mayonnaise, although I know Burger Boy would argue that it is impossible to have too much mayonnaise on anything.

Justice Warren E. Burger – They might have put crack in my burger, because I absolutely loved it, but no one else I talked to really did. The burger was hot, fresh and well seasoned. It was thicker than I normally like, but it gave the burger a certain hardiness. The cheddar cheese was tasty, and the bun was well buttered, with a perfect crispness from the grill. It was a smaller burger than normal, but the Chief Justice doesn’t mind a small burger (or pink dress shirts).

The sides - 7 out of 10

I think Cheesy Jane’s received the highest average rating for sides of any place we’ve been to yet. Since I’m too lazy to go back and actually check, if anybody finds a place where the sides received a higher rank, you can tell me but I’ll ignore you.

It doesn’t surprise me that the sides at CJ’s were highly ranked. They fries are crispy on the outside and just the right consistency in the middle. They are salty. They are seasoned with other seasonings besides salt which I can’t name because this is a burger blog and I don’t know turmeric from a tunic. Or something. My fellow reviewers were also very impressed with onion rings. Since I don’t eat onion rings, you’ll have to read their comments below to get a feel for how delicious they were.

The milkshake, as always, didn’t disappoint. It is thick without being too thick to drink. They bring you the extra in the metal mixing cup. I hate it when milkshakes come out with chunks of ice in them; CJ’s has never delivered anything but the smoothest milkshake. As a side note, Cheesy Jane’s is also very civic minded. If you’ve ever been to the Witte Game Dinner (which features a buffet line longer than the eye can see covered with more varieties of game than you can imagine (venison, elk, buffalo and pig)) then you know Cheesy Jane’s supports the Witte by making their famous milkshakes with alcohol. Unfortunately, you can’t get the alcoholic milkshake at the restaurants (at least I’ve never tried). While I didn’t think the milkshakes could be improved upon, alcohol manages to do the trick. If you want the ones with alcohol, you’ll just have to go to the Witte Game Dinner.

Some praise for the sides:

Where’s the Beef – They had the holy trinity of tots, rings and fries, and you could even get a mixed basket of all three. Definitely an innovative idea. The tots were standard (I don’t think anyone makes a “hand breaded” tot), the onion rings were very good, the fries were pretty pedestrian.

Burgermeister Meisterburger - The combo fries, tots, rings was an awesome buy. Rings had a tasty seasoning on them that made them just a cut above your normal onion rings. Shakes are not to be missed!

Fry Daddy – I feel my high rating is justified by the fact that Cheesy Jane's does a good (although not an extraordinary) job at preparing all 3 sides in the burger sides food pyramid.

Justice Warren E. Burger – The fries were not great. No seasoning and not much flavor. The tots were good, not great. (Kind of tasted like all other tots). But the onion rings were something special. Great seasoning (maybe some of the crack that they put in my burger spilled into the onion rings). They looked like they were going to be the frozen kind, but I thought they were delicious. I give the place extra points for completed the always sought after sides trifecta.

Prefers his Tots Tatered – The milkshake really scored some points here. I love it when places give you the leftovers in the milkshake container. The other sides were average. While tots, fries, and onion rings were all on the menu, none of them really stood out.

Price - 5 out of 10

The price is average for most of our burger places.

Ambiance - 6.5 out of 10

The ambiance at Cheesy Jane's is 50s diner, in sharp contrast to the Malt House, which sounds from its name as if it were a 50s diner but is actually a Mexican restaurant.

Located in the shadow of the soon to be completed Broadway condominiums, Cheesy Jane’s Broadway location seems a bit out of place in its converted gas station. I’m not sure if this makes the location a more or less authentic 50s diner.

One touch I really appreciate, in common with many burger establishments, is that CJ's has a "wall of fame/shame." Back before Polaroid stopped making film, they used to take your picture if you ate the pounder (look in the right side of this picture). You could write your name on the photo and tack it up to the wall. My picture graces the walls of at least two of the Cheesy Jane’s locations (Alamo Heights and Helotes). I can’t get my picture on the wall in Boerne because by the time I got there, they’d run out of film for the camera. Oh well. I’m still happy to head into Cheesy Jane’s and consume a pound of hamburger, a side of fries and a cooling milkshake. What could be better?

These pictures of food on the walls make me hungry. Very hungry.

Unlike some of the burger joints we've visited, Cheesy Jane's is definitely a family establishment. Most people in Cheesy Jane’s have kids with them, so the place is definitely noisy. That being said, I often see older couples (without kids) sitting in there having a glass of wine with their tots. I’m not sure it would be the place I’d go for a date (OK, I admit it, I’ve been there with my girlfriend), but it must be a testament to the deliciousness of the food that they come there anyway.

I think some children might be visible in these pictures...

Spiderman rides this train, each car of which is adorned with advertisements for local businesses. My kids love the spider man. Every time he comes around they comment on him. Which is often. Can you find spiderman?

This artwork sculpture further enhances the "50s diner" atmosphere. I know from personal experience that those wierd looking black circles below the sculpture actually swing back and forth like pendulums if touched. As the circles rock, so do the cars. Rockin'. So if you've got anyone under 4 feet tall with who might be inclined to touch the art, don't sit in the booths right below the art unless you want to spend the entire time making them sit down and leave the art alone.

They also have security in the parking lot. This 17 year old girl could definitely intimidate anyone contemplating grand theft auto. Nevertheless, she was very friendly and kindly consented to posing for this picture. I blurred her face because I think it makes her visage more ominous.


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