By Meredith Munk Special to The Herald
My husband, Tom, and I couldn’t wait to check out Nutty’s Junkyard Grill in Arlington. With a name like that, how could you not?
The red building visible from the street transforms into a refurbished old gas station from the entry side. The three large gas station roll-up glass doors, mercifully closed in cold weather, fill the interior with daylight.
With the walls covered with all manner of antique gas station signs, license plates, hubcaps, antique radio flyer wagons and myriad antique pedal toys, there is much to see.
Your head is constantly on a swivel to take in everything: tables on barrels with bar stools, a giant table sitting at the back end of an antique, a rusty-looking old truck, gas pumps, oil pumps and an old battery charger.
Beyond the wide counter is the kitchen with a huge grill area, necessary for the menu of burgers and a few other items. The burger menu, posted overhead, consists of clever theme names like dual quad, Shelby bleu and trunk junk. The quarter-pound and half-pound burgers run from $4.59 to $8.49.
I ordered the big block burger ($6.49,) a quarter-pound hand-formed beef patty with pepper bacon, fresh lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion and American cheese on a sesame seed bun.
It was good and it was filling.
My burger had that slightly seared dark edge all the way around, which reminded me of a backyard-barbecue burger. I liked that it did not look like the perfectly shaped cookie-cutter burgers that you get some places.
My husband ordered the Trunk Junk ($8.59) which was a half-pound patty with pepper bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickle, as well as sauteed mushrooms and onions, on a sesame seed bun.
He said it was delicious, although a bit messy with drippings from the saute.
We shared the generous servings of onion rings and fries ($3.25 and $2.25 respectively), which do not come with the burgers.
The onion rings are hand dipped in beer batter to order, each slice about an inch thick. The coating was light, crunchy, and flavorful, although a bit greasy for my taste. The hand cut French fries were OK, somewhat inconsistently prepared, with some darker and dryer than the rest.
Dipping sauces (also extra) include tarter, ranch and house sauce, which is similar to 1000 island with a smoky twist to it.
I think the best part of the meal was my husband’s rich, hand-dipped chocolate milk shake ($4.50), which actually tasted like chocolate. Topped with real whipped cream, it was a soda-shop type treat.
Besides the burgers, they offer fish and chips ($7.99 or $10.99), a chicken breast, a chicken club, a garden burger, a grilled cheese and a bratwurst.
As we were walking in, a couple was walking out and said to us, “It’s real good; hope you brought your appetite.” That’s exactly what I would say to anyone in the mood for a big burger and some atmosphere.
Nutty’s Junkyard Grill
6717 204th St, Arlington; 360-403-7538
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Vegetarian options: Limited.