I received a complaint that my burger hunt hasn't yet ventured from Columbus (have you seen gas prices?!) so Sunday night, while Husband and I were planning our next burger destination, I said we had to at least drive to Delaware or Grove City. Grove City won. I did receive a recommendation for Lilly's Kitchen Table, but I first heard about it when John Corby and his roving band of Big Bass Brothers reviewed it (don't hate me because I listen to talk radio) very favorably. Alas, it's one of the few podcasts they don't have; but you can read a recap through the link.
And so it happened that Husband and I found ourselves driving of the edge of the map, all the way to downtown Grove City, which is actually pretty cute. We had never been there before. There are scrapbooking shops, quilting shops, and even a Graeter's and a yoga center.
Lilly's is a diner; I have no doubt they have some incredible omelets and plain old fried eggs for breakfast, but we were here for the burgers. I'll probably never find out about breakfast, because it's a trial for Husband and I to get to Northstar for breakfast, and they're only 2.5 miles away. No matter.
Husband tried the "Townsfair" burger, a basic cheeseburger (pictured at the top of the post), and I chose the "Wally" burger (pictured above), a cheddar/bacon/bbq sauce affair; one of my favorites. Husband opted for fries while I took the house made chips.
The Wally burger (cut open, pictured above) came on the very important toasted bun. It was covered - covered - with cheese. The construction of the burger was interesting in that the patty had been covered with bbq sauce, and then bacon, and then topped with the cheese. This kept the toppings from slipping and sliding all over the place - very smart. Husband's burger was also covered with cheese, and came with topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato, white onions and pickles. I was a little envious of his condiments, truth be told. My burger was tasty. The bacon was good and crisp, and of course there was all of that cheese. Always a good thing. The good beef (hand formed Angus patty) wasn't drowned out by all those toppings; my only complaint - a big one - was the burger was cooked a too far, in my opinion. This made it really dry and made me yearn for some pickles, lettuce and tomatoes. I stole some mayo-covered lettuce from Husband's burger and confirmed my suspicion that condiments would have improved the burger. The housemade chips which accompany the burger are first rate. Thick but not too thick, they are doused with a good dusting of salt and pepper and are crisp and savory. I would probably drive all the way back to Lilly's just for a plate of the chips. Bun held up for the most part throughout the eating process; quite a feat considering the toppings and sauce involved. The Wally burger gets 3 fries; the dryness would have earned it a 2.5, but those chips edge up fry score.
Husband's burger was a triumph of a cheeseburger. The aforementioned condiments kept it moist and flavorful, with a good balance of rich meat/cheese/zingy pickles/onion/mayo. I'm not sure if his was cooked less than mine or it was the condiments that kept everything juicy and tasty. The fries which accompanied his were probably frozen - they were a strange cut - but they had been well-chosen, instead of just choosing whatever kind of fries were the cheapest, someone actually tasted fries and chose some good frozen ones. They were dusted with seasoning salt and were very addictive. I'm giving Husband's burger 4 fries.
I'm trying not to let the distance influence my decision, or the fact that they were playing a steady mix of "old guy" rock (I still have American Pie in my head). Lilly's was really, really good.
Two tanks of gas for two burgersâ¦what a haul. Wife and I both worked near Grove City years ago but neither of us had ever ventured into downtown Grove City. Quite a haul from Hudsonville but a nice little downtown and nice little diner. In what seemed a typical small town diner ritual, two Wrangler-clad fellas listened as a loud-mouthed old fart held court at the table next to us â¦ dispensing opinions and info on relevant and irrelevant subjects alike. Strangely charming in a down home, blade-of-straw-in-your-teeth, Aw Shucks sort of way.
Be warned, Lillyâs is only open from 7am-2pm. We were the next-to last table to arrive at 1:15. Although Wifeâs Wally Burger was an OK version of the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, the house made Potato Chips were great. Clearly sliced and fried there, they were crispy on the edge and still a little starchy potato-y in the middle. Unusual, but really great. My Cheeseburger was first-rate. A nicely-grilled and juicy patty on a puffy bun. Crisp lettuce, mild onion, mayo and the all-important pickle provided the right balance to a slice of good-olâ American cheese. The Fries were clearly brought in but were wonderful. Long and wide with ridges running the length. Crispy goodness. Quite an experience and quite a good burger. 4 Fries (Husband's burger only).
Consensus: Stick with the basic burger, and be sure one person in your party orders the fantastic housemade chips. 3.5 fries