50 Burgers, 50 Days: Jo's

Day 49: Jo’s
242 W. Second St. 469-9003, www.joscoffee.com.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 09.28.11
The burger: The people who think sweet hamburger buns are the work of the devil? I’ll ask you to cover your ears for a minute. Because the ridiculously sweet kolache style bun that hovers around this burger like a doughnut halo makes this one of the best-tasting unions of beef and bread in town. It’s not toasted so much as caramelized, and if you ask for fried onions, the sweetness factor rises above novelty and into a real catalyst for the well-seared Angus and elastic cheddar ($9 with fries, plus $1 for cheese). Somehow, even the shredded lettuce adds something, and I’m starting to wonder if they’ve slipped something into my coffee, like that scene in “Sudden Impact” where the waitress loads Dirty Harry’s coffee with sugar so he’ll come back and shoot catchphrases at people. Go ahead. Make my 50 Burgers, 50 Days.
Fries or rings? I didn’t expect to watch Fries Vs. Rings on pay-per-view, so both of these things need to get less delicious before trouble starts. The fries are irregular in size and shape and color but uniform where it counts: the right blend of hot starch and salt, with a few skins in the mix to remind you where they came from. A coffeeshop should not have better french fries than 90 percent of the burger places. And neither should a coffeeshop make onion rings with a South Beach tan and a North Face jacket of breading that turns oil and onions into the shattered dreams of almost everybody else who bothers shedding tears at the cutting board. For that reason, onion rings get the edge. But if you can’t spare the $3.25 for a basket of rings, dance with the fries that come with the burger basket.
The coffee: The house specialty is called a Turbo ($3.25/small), with iced coffee, espresso, chocolate, hazelnut and milk. It’s sweet and tan as a liquefied coffee shake. The barista let me try it, then offered to make a Bomber, which is a Turbo mixed half and half with iced coffee to make it more Eastwood-appropriate for a guy who takes his coffee black.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)