The decor in the place is distinctively retro, if not actually old -- fine dining this is not. But hey, it doesn't need to be, as cheeseburgers know no socioeconomic boundaries. The basic burger at Convention Grill is described as "lean ground beef cooked medium-well on a hearty bun" for $4.95. To this you can add cheese of one of a few varieties ($0.95), get it "California style", with lettuce, tomato, and mayo ($0.95), or with both as a "California cheeseburger" -- for $1.95. Indulge me for a brief moment while I complain: They're charging me MORE for getting two things together? It's only 5 cents, but...that's not how it's supposed to work. Ok. Breathe. Ok I'm good. On to the burger. I ordered the California cheeseburger with "smokey cheddar" and grilled onions.
When it arrived, I took note of the following: Two nice looking tomato slices, a big romaine leaf, and not-fully-melted cheese. As at Smashburger, the nicely grilled onions were placed underneath the cheese. I had thought I had escaped the dreaded pickles, but it turns out they were hiding underneath the lettuce leaf. For those who do like pickles, the three miniscule pickle chips provided would barely cover a third of the nicely-seared patty. The bun was sadly untoasted. Cutting it in half, I saw the patty was cooked to what appeared to my eye to be well-done rather than medium-well -- nary a hint of pink to be found. Not surprisingly, given the "lean" description of the meat used, it was not particularly abundant in juice.
On the flavor front, it was actually pretty good. The meat was seasoned quite nicely, and smoked cheddar really should be mandatory for any cheeseburger. On the downside, it was on the dry end of acceptable. The bun was soft and fresh but otherwise nothing special. And the lack of toasting in my mind really hurts -- why wouldn't you take the opportunity to add another layer of texture, flavor, and, ideally, butter?
Still, I enjoyed the burger. Not great, but the good seasoning and smoked cheddar was enough to elevate it from "meh" to "pretty good" in spite of its shortcomings. While I probably wouldn't make the trip just for it, especially given that I have what I consider to be a better option right in my neighborhood, if I were out there anyway I'd definitely consider it if I was in the mood for a cheeseburger -- as is often the case.
Convention Grill & Fountain
3912 Sunnyside Rd, Edina, MN