WEEK 3 — CHADDER’S
The Munchmobile went on a solo ride this past week, due to the absence of my dear friends Ben Wagner and Jamie Wood, who went on a search for quality barbecue deep in heart of Texas. Nevertheless, I decided to press on in their absence and bring you, the good people of the Utah Valley, the necessary dinning knowledge you deserve.
This go-around I decided to make my way over to the new burger joint in town, Chadder’s . I remember hearing about the place a couple months ago from one of my friends. She said that Chadder’s was basically a knock-off of the famous burger chain In-N-Out. Trust me when I say this: no matter the situation, you never want to be labeled as a knock-off.
But before I get into my opinion of this establishment, let me talk about the food. It didn’t take me long to choose what I wanted because I was familiar with the menu. That’s because it is identical to that of In-N-Out. (This will be a recurring theme throughout this review.) I was feeling pretty famished from a long morning and decided to order the Stubby Double, or double cheeseburger, and a side of French fries. I was surprised when the total came out just under $7. I don’t recall the exact prices at In-N-Out, but I’m pretty sure that it didn’t cost as much.
The burger was as advertised and for that, I guess, I really can’t complain. There was a bun, meat, cheese, onions, lettuce and tomato, which combined to make a marginally tasty burger. The meat patties were a lot smaller than expected, but when you are dealing with a knock-off you learn to expect to be unimpressed. The one thing I thought was noteworthy was the vegetables. Nothing turns me away from a burger more than defunct veggies. The freshness of the tomatoes and onions were noticeable, which is not customary at most fast food restaurants.
The fries were just like those of In-N-Out except smaller and not as crisp. But get this! Chadder’s has fry sauce, something I never saw at In-N-Out! Could this mean that the two establishments are completely different? I wish I could answer in the affirmative, but the fry sauce is pretty much the only difference in the two burger joints. Don’t think that this will last long: seeing as In-N-Out is opening a number of Utah locations, they will have to incorporate fry sauce if they want to pass the state inspection.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what Chadder’s is all about. It is clear from the get-go that they are not going for originality. So why does someone use the exact same business strategy that has been proven successful in other states here in Provo? To make a really easy buck. For who knows how long, the residents of Provo have heard the fervent requests of California, Nevada and Arizona transplants for In-N-Out to build a place close by. Even those who never lived in these areas were jumping on the bandwagon. Enter Chad Stubbs. Seeing the perfect opportunity to cash in, he comes up with the idea of Chadder’s. Apparently Chad’s intentions had nothing to do with money. I don’t want to tell his story, because I feel he does it best. Here’s an excerpt from the Chadder’s Web site:
“It all started with a Dream! A dream of having a Burger drive-in that would bring back the feeling I had when I was a kid. You see, to me a Burger drive-in is as American as Baseball and Apple pie!
I remember when I was a kid in Southern California my parents would take us kids to McDonald’s every Saturday after our little league baseball games. We would stand by the window and watch them make fresh cut fries from whole potatoes, while we waited for our food to be cooked. The menu was very simple and the only choices we had were a Single or Double and cheese or no cheese. But it didn’t matter to us because we knew exactly what we wanted before we ever gotten there. And I would always finish my lunch off with a Strawberry shake. And I want my kids to have those same memories as I did growing up.
So in early 2005, I set out on a mission to bring a 50’s and 60’s style Burger joint to Utah! Why, you may ask when there is already a Burger joint in every state across this great country including Utah! Because, to me they all seemed to be the same!”
Honestly, Chad? Do you expect us to believe that you brought us Chadder’s so youngsters could have fond memories of shakes and burgers? I think the story is charming, but seriously? If the place was 13 percent original, maybe I would grant you legitimacy. Then there is his comment about other burger places being the same. I always felt that the best way to be original was to adopt the ideas of someone in a different state and then claim them as my own. Works like a charm.
I guess I can’t expect Chadder’s to be upfront about this, because a truthful Web site would be rather condemning. I could go on, but I think you have the point by now. Chadder’s is a shoddy clone of In-N-Out. Do I recommend that you eat there? If the word “cliché” describes your lifestyle, then yes, go for it. If you really want a good original burger, then don’t. If you fall into the second category, go across the street to Stan’s and check out their menu. At least it will be something different.
For suggestions on where you’d like to see the Munchmobile head next week, send an e-mail to email@example.com or send a message on Twitter to @rhombusmag.
Jake Welch is a sports and food correspondent for Rhombus. He has problems with Chad Stubbs’ allegedly disingenuous nostalgia. Tell him your thoughts on Chadders by sending a tweet to @jraywelch.
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