When the word gets out about Mad Mike’s Burgers & Fries (6420 Dixie Hwy., Florence, 859-647-6444), you’re not going to be able to push your way through the crowds to get in. Put the paper down now and go, and you can finish reading this when you get back.
There! Was I right, or was I right? No, the place isn’t fancy — far from it — and they are still waiting for their beer license, but the burgers are damn good. And the French fries? Shut up and eat ’em while they’re hot.
I had the Rockefeller ($5.99) burger the first time I went to Mad Mike’s, and I have to confess that I had it the second time, too. Sure, I should have tried something new and it would have been better to have two burgers to write about, but the Rockefeller just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I loved it from the sesame seeds on top to the wrapper on the bottom.
It’s a two-patty sandwich. The Black Angus burgers are cooked through, which is usually not my style, but they are thoroughly juicy with nice crisp bits along the edges and great texture that holds in the tiny puddles of blue cheese and tangy sweetness of the cranberry chutney and contrasts the crisp, juicy fried onions that top this burger. It’s a blissful combination, the kind of shut your eyes and moan flavor that you don’t expect on a $6 sandwich.
If I can ever tear myself away from my Rockefeller crush, there are a few more I’d like to try, especially the “Shroomin’ ($5.99), with a load of grilled mushrooms, pepper jack and more of those onion rings on top, or the Hawaii Five-O ($5.99). Caramelized pineapple. Yes.
There are options for non-beef eaters at Mad Mike’s. No Filet ’O chicken or fish, but my hubby had the Grilled Cheese and Veggie ($3.79), which was loaded up with mushrooms. You can do that with just cheese ($2.99) or just veggies ($2.69) so your vegetarian and vegans are happy. But wait — there’s also a grilled Elvis ($4.99) sandwich on sourdough with peanut butter, bananas and Nutella. Crazy, right? I’m not sure that French fries go with peanut butter — in fact, there might be a whole section of the dietary law prohibiting that combination — but Mad Mike’s hand-cut fries ($1.99 small, $3.79 large) are worth the penalty. A small order easily feeds two grown-ups.
This is an order-at-the-counter establishment, and the food is served as though you’re taking it to go even if you decide to stay at one of the dozen (or so) tables and watch ESPN with the sound turned off. And unless you’re familiar with the geography of Northern Kentucky, get directions before you go. Mad Mike’s is technically in Florence, but don’t head down to Mall Road. It’s really just about across the street from the Elsmere Police department on Dixie Highway. Off the beaten path, but worth it.
CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: [email protected]