Location: 3901 Old Monroe Road – Indian Trail, NC 28079
Hereford: Everyone has complaints about their job. I certainly have my fair share. One thing I can’t complain much about is my co-workers. I work with some very nice people, and I say that despite the fact that a disproportionate number of them are from New York 1.
One of my favorite co-workers (and, I suppose, New Yorkers) is Angela. Sure, she can be mean to me sometimes. She tries to convince my students that I’m a brony. And that I have a tramp stamp. And she calls me a loser. And she makes fun of my shoes (and a lot of other things that make me cry when I get home).
Despite all that, she also does nice things such as invite me over for Christmas dinner and actually read this blog. In fact, she wanted to come along with us for a review. That request was complicated, though, by the fact that A) she has very young children and B) she lives in Indian Trail 2.
We made plans to find a burger place to review near her home, but Dr. Google couldn’t prescribe too many options for Indian Trail. There were two possibilities we found, and Angela said she hated one of them. The other was Omega Coney Island, which she said she had never tried before.
Thus, we stopped by on a weekday afternoon. I’m sure that this pretty much describes everything in Indian Trail, but it was out in the middle of nowhere. There are no other restaurants or businesses (or even buildings) near it. It’s plopped down in a clearing in the pines on an otherwise empty road.
Omega Coney Island is every bit the typical small, southern, family restaurant I grew up with. In every way it fits that mold, from the front porch with the hanging baskets, to the false vintage signs inside, to the Fox News on the television.
The Coney Island part of their name led me to expect a more urban experience, so this surprised me. Some of my favorite eateries have been small, family restaurants 3, but I’ve also frequently had some terrible food at these places as well. Not having many options in a town sometimes means restaurants don’t have an incentive to try very hard.
While the place screamed small town, there were a couple of nods to big city life. There were multiple signs for the New York Yankees (which was to be expected) and, surprisingly, the Detroit Tigers. I didn’t get a chance to speak to the servers about it, but there seemed to be a strong Detroit connection. In addition to the Tigers stuff, they also had a refrigerator full of Faygo, the renowned Motor City soft drink, and they even had it in glass bottles.
They had a surprising number of burger options on their menu. They had a Monster Burger, with two patties, a Chili Cheese Burger, and a BBQ Burger that was advertised as being “smothered” in BBQ sauce 4. I, however, went with the Julio Burger, which features a patty mixed with onions and jalapeños topped with cheese and maybe has a racially insensitive name.
Here’s the Tale of the Tape:
EXHIBIT A: JULIO BURGER
(with onions and jalapeños mixed in the patty and topped with cheddar cheese )
Official Diameter: 4.5 inches
Official Height: 3.25 inches
Cooked to order: Surprisingly, yes
First, I should note how shocked I was that they cooked their burgers to order at Omega Coney Island. At least where I’m from, most family restaurants don’t do that sort of thing. Customers want their meat charred, and honestly I probably do too if they don’t use high quality meat. But, they asked me how I would like it and I said medium and, even more shockingly, I got medium. My expectations recently have become so low in regards to properly cooked burgers that it makes me want to reward a restaurant for simply giving me what I was asking for.
That said, that doesn’t mean my burger was great. I thought the meat was subpar and lacked flavor. The jalapeños gave some spice to the burger, but it wasn’t significant 5. My largest complaint is that the burger was simply bland.
Moreover, the bun for the burger didn’t hold up at all. In the end it looked like I had smashed it in anger. It eventually became more difficult than it was worth to even finish the burger, so I didn’t.
It seems Omega Coney Island is more notable as a breakfast restaurant than a dinner one. Although we showed up at a reasonable time for dinner, there was almost no one there. Yet, I hear it’s packed on Saturday mornings. They serve breakfast all day, with all of the typical omelet and griddle options.
The only other food I ate there that evening, though, was an order of hush puppies. They came out raw in the middle, yet crispy on the outside. Clearly, the oil was too hot.
Lately I’ve been struggling with what to do in these situations. Do I keep some food I’m unhappy with, or do I send it back? I was raised not to complain, and it feels rude to do so. But, on the other hand, if I’m unhappy with the food I’m unlikely to return and surely the restaurant would rather have the chance to make me happy. Right? So I informed the server of the problem and requested new hush puppies.
The new order came out and it was raw in the middle.
I really don’t want to write this section. Some restaurants put a lot of time, money, and thought into their restaurant and its decor. Some restaurants are cool by the accident of time and being around forever. And then there are places with four walls which would seem silly if they had nothing, so let’s throw up some license plates and buy a box of “vintage” signs from the “let’s-make-a-restaurant” store.
Atmosphere Rating: 1
Did you complain about the burger the same way you complained about the hush puppies?
No. Not really. Kind of. I mean, what are you supposed to say when you were underwhelmed by your meal and they ask you how it was? If I was at someone’s house I would never, ever gripe. But this is a place of business. Competition. Profit Motive. Supply and Demand. They need to know my thoughts to survive. Right? Right….?
I told them it was “ok.” The cashier asked, “Just ok?” I said yeah. She didn’t ask for clarification.
Angela said I came off as a jerk. Maybe, but I knew I was going to come home and write this review. I couldn’t very well tell them it was splendid and then write that it was below average later. That would make me, like, a New York-level jerk or something.
Well, what did Angela think of her burger?
Actually, she didn’t get one. I know, what the hell, right?
Will you come back here again?
It’s unlikely, but that has as much to do with proximity to where I live as anything else. I wouldn’t mind trying their breakfast.
Does Omega Coney Island earn the Charlotte Burger Blog Seal of Approval?
I think the answer is fairly obvious.
- Yankees suck. ↩
- She tries to get me to call it the “IT.” I’m not giving in to that one. ↩
- My favorite barbecue restaurants are usually small, cinder block places. ↩
- Which I’m not sure sounds as appetizing as they think it does. ↩
- I want to go on a rant about it being a “Julio” burger and does that mean it’s supposed to be a Mexican-themed burger, because that doesn’t sound right, and if it is supposed to be a Mexican-themed burger, then just throwing a few jalapeños on it is lazy. But, I figure there’s a chance that this burger was named after some guy named Julio and I would seem like some idiot white liberal looking too hard to be offended, so I’ll bury it here in a footnote. ↩