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» O’Charley’s Firecracker Burger Wrap
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O’Charley’s Firecracker Burger Wrap

By • Oct 25th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog

O’Charley’s is one of those places that I never think about, although I could hit it with a baseball from the grocery store, the Target, and the drugstore I frequent.  There are 230+ locations in 20 states, but even if you’re listing just the “apostrophe-s” casual dining joints (Applebee’s, Chili’s, Friday’s, et al.), O’Charley’s is an afterthought.

Maybe that’s because their claim to fame is the hot rolls they serve when you’re seated.  Don’t get me wrong; they’re damn tasty rolls.  Over 129 million of them were baked last year.  But if the single best thing you’ve got going for your restaurant is the free pre-meal bread, that’s not a ringing endorsement for what’s actually on the menu.

ocharleysextsign

But I have this friend, Joe.  Joe and I meet for lunch 2 or 3 times a year.  The first time, we met at O’Charley’s because it was geographically convenient to us both.  Now it’s our go-to place.

This last time Joe and I met, I realized that I’d never tried an O’Charley’s burger.  Word is that they do a pretty mean chili cheeseburger.  (But it wasn’t on the menu, so how good was it, really?)  I skipped the standard cheeseburger variations: Mushroom Swiss Bacon, Three-Cheese Bacon, a grilled turkey burger.  I also passed on their mini-burger platter, the Good Time Grillers.  (I swear I just don’t get this fake-slyder trend and can’t wait for it to run its course.)

Then I noticed the Firecracker Burger Wrap, obviously a holdout from the last big food fad, the wrap.  (“Of course it’s healthy!  It’s in a tortilla!”)  Here’s how O’Charley’s menu describes the Firecracker:

“A juicy all-beef patty covered with melted Monterey Jack cheese, then sliced and wrapped up burrito-style in a warm flour tortilla with lettuce, fresh Pico de Gallo, jalapenos, crispy onion tanglers, and zesty Cajun horseradish sauce.”

ocharleyswrap

It was different enough to pique my interest, despite clearly being a way for the kitchen to unload ingredients already lying around.  (That strategy can lead to some real disasters, like this.)

ocharleyswrapCU

When it arrived, Joe expressed order envy; always a good sign that you’ve chosen wisely.  And I have to say, it tasted awfully good.  The pico and the onion “tanglers” provided crunch and added what food nerds like to call “mouth feel.”  (Which, coincidentally, sounds like a move you’d try as a hormone-crazed teenager in the backseat on prom night.)  The horseradish and jalapenos brought some zing to the party- just enough heat to please, not enough to bite back.  And the burger itself, although having it sliced and rolled up amidst the other ingredients made it tough to tell for sure, was really very good.  It’s a juicy little sandwich.  If anything, perhaps a touch too juicy:

ocharleyswrapdrip

Not sure if that’s juice from the meat itself, or the melted cheese, or moisture sweating out of the pico, or the horseradish sauce, or all of the above, but the bottom of my tortilla was so soaked that it had sprung a full-blown leak way before I got to the last bite.  Like the way ice cream starts to drain out of a waffle cone on a hot day.  The equivalent of a soggy hamburger bun, I suppose.  Messy, yes.  But not a deal-breaker this time.

In short, the Firecracker Burger Wrap is something I’d definitely get again.  I’m not sure it lures me into an O’Charley’s all on its own… but that’s OK.  I’ve got another lunch with Joe in a few months.

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