Let me preface this blog post by saying that it’s easier for us to eat in the city of Atlanta than it is to eat in Roswell. It may actually be easier to eat in Chattanooga or Birmingham. There’s just not a good way to get there from Paulding County. It takes FOREVER. Nevertheless, today we made that fateful journey at mid-day to 1) shop our way there, and 2) revisit Rhea’s Take Out Foods. Our first, and only visit, to Rhea’s was back in the early 2000s – we were taking our daughters and a friend to a corn maze up in north Georgia and I had recently read about Rhea’s in an article about the best 10 burgers in Atlanta. As soon as we walked in, I remembered the place, down to the non-stop conversation with the owner.
We took seats on two stools at the counter (there are also tables and folding chairs behind where we were sitting). In the course of the banter, I order a double Rhea burger and Jo a single, both with cheese and bacon, and we’re splitting an order of fries. He throws three patties on the griddle, dumps some fries in the basket and starts talking to the next folks that walk in (most of the folks that come in while we are there appear to be regulars).
While were waiting, I looked up at the menu board and saw underneath it the signed photos of celebrities past (Gary McKee, Rhubarb Jones) and also caught sight of the two signs at the right. From what we’ve overheard, they, along with the one in the middle of the wall that says, “If you don’t like the food, there’s the door – Jimmy”, pretty much sum up the place. He has an ongoing dialogue with his only server which makes me wonder why she works for him. We learn as we are checking out that she is his State Farm agent Mon-Fri and just works here on Saturdays. Apparently, she knew what she was getting into when she took the job. And he keeps conversations going on with everyone in the place.
He grabs four slices of French bread (this is what makes the Rhea burger – French bread as opposed to a bun), squirts melted butter onto them and throws them on the griddle. He puts cheese on top of each patty. When the bread gets toasted, he puts the bread on the counter directly in front of us, slaps on the patties
and asks us what we want on them. When they’re finished, he throws them onto styrofoam plates, spins and places the burgers in front of us.
This is a great thin burger. Cheese is just melting over the edges and messy as all get out. If only he had remembered the bacon …..