Cheeseburger Bobby’s, Marietta GA

I’ve done our favorite quickie burger joint a disservice by mentioning them in the very first chapter and not returning to them for so long. Cheeseburger Bobby’s is a surprisingly great little place whose owner, once upon a time, inflicted the godawful Stevi B’s Pizza on the planet and evidently felt the need to do the food world some justice and come up with a much better concept. His debt paid in full, we consider him forgiven and shall move on.

Atlanta, as I have mentioned, is a little crazy for burgers, and we have a handful of local chains, notably Canyon’s, competing for attention. Cheeseburger Bobby’s first store, in Hiram, was a smashing success in 2007, and they’ve opened a further four locations in the northern suburbs, with two more due this year. They have not yet troubled the perimeter, forcing Atlantans who want to try one of the best burgers in the region to venture outside 285.

The Marietta store opened last year in a space vacated by a Great Wraps. There’s not very much seating available, and there is regularly a small crowd. This past Thursday, my daughter and I dropped in for an early supper. We do this often.

Cheeseburger Bobby’s promises that their beef is delivered fresh daily and never frozen, and they provide a fixin’s bar with, among other things, three types of lettuce, dill or sweet pickles, and red or white onions. Theirs are certainly among the best burgers in the region (possibly top five, definitely top ten), and unquestionably the best priced. Two people can eat here for under twelve bucks, and they have both a bribe card program to get you back in and a stack of coupons that never seems to reach the bottom. They also do custard, and I’ve taken to turning down the dollar custard coupons, as my wallet is bulging with them.

They also grill up a mean hot dog, one of the four or five best in town, and, sensibly, have celery salt on the fixin’s bar. A liberal sprinkling of that, ketchup, mustard, white onions and relish and I’m happy as can be.

Every so often, we’d splurge on a little dessert and get some custard, but a few weeks ago, they introduced one of the weirdest and most wonderful concoctions around the city: a Twinkie milkshake. It’s unbelievably rich and served with whipped cream and half a cake. I’m never going to lose weight with these things on the menu.

I think Bobby’s has been in this space for a year now and it really worked its way into our affections without much effort or muscle, just doing the right thing and doing it very well for a nice price. It’s the immediate default when we’re thinking about a quick meal and don’t want to either drive anywhere or spend a lot of money. They seem to be making out okay, with an incredibly upbeat and friendly staff and a dining room that rarely lacks customers. It’s our neighborhood place – long may it thrive!