Please don’t look around in our archives for our original story about The Red-Eyed Mule. It was written before we actually started the blog in any formal, branded sense, and was one of a handful of entries – probably the first six or seven, I suppose – that was scripted as a regular entry on my old Livejournal. As our first story, it is an interesting archaeological curio, but not a particularly auspicious launch to our hobby.
A few weeks back, I asked Marie whether she’d like a nice, messy, sloppy burger for lunch, and we made our way back over to this fun little place, which Sabra Wessel and Joe Woods opened in January 2010. Time’s been kind to The Red-Eyed Mule. They survived my poorly written 2010 story – oh, it was a good review, but my prose was just so dreadful and labored – and, in September 2011, were featured on an episode of Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, being praised by Alton Brown for their Sloppy Slaw burger.
The restaurant promises that their beef is fresh, never frozen. All of their burgers are six ounces of black angus ground chuck served on buttered and grilled Texas Toast. They’re cooked to order, and while they have a considerably larger parking lot than their neighbor down the road, Brandi’s World Famous Hot Dogs, they’re every bit as crowded and crazy for lunch. If you’re thinking of arriving between noon and one, keep your fingers crossed for a table and sip a Boylan’s soda while you wait. It will be a few minutes, but it is worth it.
Marie and I each chose to eschew the sloppier and messier burgers from the menu on our trip, keeping things reasonably clean with their no-frills Jake burgers. She had hers with cheese and I had mine run through the garden. We shared fries and onion rings and were really pleased with our meals. The burgers are well done and prepared with a pretty simple seasoning mix, but they are so tasty and juicy.
As good as the food is, Sabra and Joe have done a terrific job transforming their property into a down-home, relaxed little getaway where, even with the crowds and the lunchtime wait, everybody is pleasant and in good spirits. There are plenty of things to look at and talk about – yes, that’s a black velvet painting of Alton Brown, and no, there’s no scientific evidence that the “penny in a bag of water” trick actually discourages flies – and plenty of good people whose elbows you’re certain to bump as you enjoy a really good lunch.
Other blog posts about the Red-Eyed Mule:
AJC’s Food & More (Nov. 24 2011)
A Hamburger Today (Mar. 13 2012)
Burgers, Barbecue and Everything Else (Mar. 31 2012)
The HappiTraveler (July 3 2012)
Riding Two-Up (Aug. 4 2012)
Billy’s Burger Blog (May 16 2013)
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!