Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style)

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CajunKing
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2013/11/04 22:32:28 (permalink)

Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style)

The sun shone brightly in the window and beckoned me to roam the back roads around Northern Alabamee.  I was in search of the illusive and wonderful regional specialty in this here part of the woods called... Well that depended on which restaurant you went to, but basically I was looking for the notorious SLUGBURGER aka Dubs Burger aka Breaded Burger aka Dough Burger aka Jumbo Burger.
 
I had planned the day trip out to leave Lebanon, TN around 8am and get to my first stop of the day around 10am as they opened.  Traffic in and around Nashville was hectic as usual, but the inches err I mean miles seemd to disappear before me.  (I actually forgot to get off and take the bypass or I would have been on time to my first stop, however I reached there at 10:20am.
 
Dubs Burgers
204 S Jefferson St
Athens, AL  35611
256.232.6135
 
Hours:  M-F 10am to 4pm, Sa 10am to 2pm
 
   
Located in a strip mall in Athens, AL right noext to the Department of Corrections, Division of Family & Children, and Goodwill.
 
   
Established in 1961 and still going strong.
 
As i walked in the owner greeted me and offered any seat that was available, the waitstaff was made up of grumpy older women, who acted like you interupted their day.  The grill person was johnny on the spot and knew her job well.
 
I placed my order and watched the magic begin, within 3 minutes my burger and onion rings were out in front of me and my un sweet tea was filled to the brim.
 
Dubs is a locals favorite and does a very steady customer flow during their hours of operation.
Here is a look at the menu board and the choices offered when it comes to how to dress your burger.
 
 
Now before we proceed let's talk about the regional specialty.  In Alabamee they are more often called breaded burgers, dough burgers and sometimes slugburgers.  The burger itself is a mix of beef and spices with some sort of filler.  The filler ranges from bread cubes, to potato flakes or even now soy grits.  There is usually more filler than meat quite often about 1/3 meat to 2/3 filler, which makes an interesting "burger" if you dont know what you are getting yourself into.  The patty is most often "deep fried" in a custom made fryer that looks more like a grill with sides to hold oil than a deep fryer itself.  Some places grill their burgers, but as stated before most "deep fry" or "boil" them in oil.
 
The process turns the patty into a wonderful combination of crunchy and chewy crust to a soft and creamy interior.
 
I have many times read funny reviews on yelp and urbanspoon exclaiming "WHAT THE HECK DID I JUST EAT???"  Well you just sampled a regional specific (Only Northern AL, North Western MS, and Southern West Central KY call this wonder home)  The heart of Slugburger territory is considered Corinth, MS (but Booneville, MS is the actual heart and soul and the "original")
 
Well folks around these parts grew up with them and cherish them and this is evident in EVERY single one of these places.  The locals flock to them and order them by the sack.    
 
Dubs is no different, in the time I spent there 44 different customers came and went most fothem getting to go orders and ALL of them served in under 5 minutes.
 
Dubs is the exception to the rule, yes they use a filler (bread cubes), yes these burgers are crunchy and creamy, but they are grilled on a flat grill, not deep fried.
   
As you can see there is a stack of almost done burgers on the grill waiting to be smashed and slapped on the awaiting bun.  Served to the waiting customer wrapped in paper and that is it.
   
Here is the unwrapped thing of beauty
 
Beer battered Ore Ida Onion Rings

 
For dessert they have Chocolate Fried Pies

 
Here are my notes from the experience:
 
Clean, smal town cafe feel
Pleasant, excpet for the older lady who waited on me
Burger was crispy exterior and crispy interior
A little steep $3.00 for a cheeseburger smaller than a McD regular cheesburger
but the Onion Rings and other prices were good.
SMALL TOWN CAFES NEED TO DITCH their microwaves
(why?? cause once again a what could have been a good fried pie was brought out of the walk in cooler, placed in the microwave and DING DING served hot) which makes the pastry not flaky and kind of doughy
 
My Bill:
Cheeseburger all the way $2.98
Onion Rings  $1.38
Unsweet Tea $1.38
Fried Pie $1.65
 
I set up a rating system so that I could compare apples to apples so..
 
Total Possible Points (100 +10 Bonus) (1 low - 10 high)
 
Restaurant Appearance                7
Service                                        6
Selection                                     8
Food Appearance                        8
Taste (worth double)                  8
Fries/Onion Rings                        7
Drink                                          10
Dessert                                       6
Overall Value                               8
 
Subtotal                                    76
 
Bonus Roadfood Worthiness       7
 
Total Score                                83 / 110
 
I will post the other 4 burger stops and the bbq stop tomorrow, my back is hurting and the dog is telling me it is time to go to bed.
 
#1

25 Replies Related Threads

    buffetbuster
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/04 22:50:05 (permalink)
    And it begins.....  Sorry for the cranky waitress and the microwaved fried pie, but everything else about the place looks good.
     
    Looking at the menu, what do you think is a chuck wagon?
    #2
    JB-ME
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 01:42:38 (permalink)
    Thanks for asking about a chuck wagon. I had the same question.
    post edited by JB-ME - 2013/11/05 01:43:44
    #3
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 07:45:45 (permalink)
    Nice start...but you're not making me hungry! 
    #4
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 09:39:29 (permalink)
    CK, I noticed that Dub's menu board lists only a hamburger and a cheeseburger.  Does this mean that all they serve are slugburgers and it's not possible to get an all-beef burger?
     
    #5
    TnTinCT
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 10:12:18 (permalink)
    WOW. Funny, I just mentioned this place in the thread from the Memphis trip. My sister actually lives in Athens and we hit this place a few years ago as she had heard they had great burgers.
    I have to say - not a fan. Neither of us realized that we weren't getting beef burgers, so imagine my surprise when I lifted the top of the bun and saw something that more resembled a chicken croquette patty than a burger. (I make them squished like that for maximum exterior crunch). The color immediately clued me in that this wasn't your "standard" burger. Unfortunately, I must declare myself not a fan of whatever it is you want to call it, but they really shouldn't call it a hamburger without some additional disclosure
    FYI - I also have a recollection of less than hospitable service.
    #6
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 14:26:53 (permalink)
    I hope Slugburger hoodies will be available in the future!
    #7
    CajunKing
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 14:32:32 (permalink)
    BB & JB ME - I wil make some inquiries as to the nature of the chuck wagon, I am not sure what it could be.
     
    SC - Nope you want real meat there is a McDs just down the street
     
    CTD - Come on you know you want some more sluggies, you are just jealous you didnt get to go with me to the 5 Alabamee stops + BBG BBQ yesterday all for LUNCH!
     
    TnTinCT - Dub's is the closest to actual burger than you will get in the slugburger world, they make their patty with beef and then a bread liquid concoction they hand mix and then form into balls.  The other places the "beef" patty is a pink mashed potato like consistency glop.
     
    Much more to come I will post the other stops later today
    #8
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 14:34:17 (permalink)
    I wasn't prepared for Dub's bready burger when I visited earlier this year.  I'd had a labeled-properly-as-a-slugburger crispy slugburger at White Trolley in Corinth the day before.  The two don't taste anything at all like each other, however, which was pretty neat.  I enjoyed the chance to enjoy something regionally specific, but did not like either.  I would, however, like to return to Athens to visit the original location of Whitt's BBQ.
    #9
    CajunKing
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 14:35:17 (permalink)
    CCinNJ

    I hope Slugburger hoodies will be available in the future!

    3 out of 5 places i went to yesterday you could get a T-Shirt, but NO hoodies (they are in the south) Although it was SO cold here the other night, LONG Pants and Sleeves were in order, myself thought it was wonderful and enjoyed it in my short sleeves.
    #10
    CajunKing
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 14:38:36 (permalink)
    Ok just spoke to Dub's
     
    Chuckwagon = Breaded "Veal" aka beef patty deep fried
    (Think country fried steak)
    #11
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 14:44:06 (permalink)
    Since Decatur is just down the road did you have a chance to try Big Bob Gibson's Slug-B-Q?
    #12
    CajunKing
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 14:54:17 (permalink)
    SC - BBG has no such thing on their menu (thank goodness)  I have ALWAYS enjoyed BBGs.  Their food is top notch (as you will see in the coming posts) (Oh and so are their pies)
    #13
    CajunKing
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 17:02:29 (permalink)
    After leaving Dub's I hit the road and headed south to my next slugburger adventure.  It was only about 12 minutes away so no real time to digest the first of 6 lunches on the day.
     
    Next Up:
     
    CF Penn Hamburgers
    121 Moulton St
    Decatur, AL
    256.355.0513
     
    M-F 8am to 5pm
    Sa 8am to 3pm
     
    When you drive up to the place the store front just screams out ROADFOOD
     
    Here is the 411 on CF Penn's:
     
    Originally founded on April 22, 1927 by Charles Franklin Penn in Hartselle, AL.  Then opened the Decatur location in 1939, one in Birmingham in the 1950's and Cullman in 1966.  Decatur is the last remaining location.
     
    CF Penn ran the place untl 1958, then his son Hugh ran the place until 1997, and now the third generation runs the place and runs it well.
     
    Lunch time is HUGE for this fairly small place, and the line out the door gets served quickly and efficiently.
     
    Here is the menu board

     
    Special of the day was 2 Hamburgers, Fries and a Fried Pie for $5.00
    So I ordered a special, onion rings and an extra pie
     

    The food supplyer must own stock in Ore Ida
     

     
    and the inside
       
    Fried Pies (only $0.99)
           
    Here is where the magic occurs
       
    Notice the pile of burgers to the right, the "grillman" drops a few in at a time, because some want theirs extra brown.  She then moves them down the fryer and dips them straight from the hot oil and onto the awaiting bun, so soft and fresh that the excess oil is slurped up and into the softness fo the bread.
     
    I would have a pictue of the inside but I sat next to a Michael Hoffman wanna be, and he barked at me that "I dont want my damn picture taken" when I asked the owner if it was ok to get an inside shot of the place.
     
    It was bright and clean, reminded me of a 50's style malt shoppe or burger joint, bright colors, stainless steel
     
    Ok here is the score sheet:
     
    Restaurant Appreance             10
    Service                                   10
    Selection                                  9
    Food Appearance                      8
    Food Taste    (double)              9
    Fries / Onion Rings                    8
    Drink                                        10
    Dessert                                     8
    Overall Value                             8     (would have been higher but was overcharged)
     
    Subtotal                                    89
     
    Roadfood bonus                        10
     
    Total                                         99 / 110

    DING DING DING WINNER WINNER SLUGBURGER!!
     
    If I have a chance I am going back and would like to do a RF review of this place.
     
    Well i am already in Decatur, AL and as many of you may remember I LOVE Big Bob Gibson BBQ and since it is only about 5 minutes from CF Penns my next drive was a VERY short one.
     
    Big Bob Gibson BBQ
    1715 6th Ave (Hwy 31)
    Decatur, AL
    256.350.6969
     
    http://bigbobgibson.com/
     
     
    I have eaten here many times and each time I have never been disappointed, and Chris and company did not let me down again today.
     
    Now my goal was to just do slugburgers today, but I couldnt be this close to BBG and not get some of their wonderful BBQ.  So I splurged and got a 3 meat sampler with potato salad and potato salad.
     

     
    My Sampler of smoked turkey, smoked turkey and pulled pork

     
    Now before you all go off and say something about the sauce, I would not normally put sauce on my BBQ.  Especially BBG BBQ, but I was sent a sample of the Habenaro BBQ sauce and OMG it was addictive.  Sweet and smokey and FULL of heat.  I got a few bottles to take with me.
     
    After WOOFING this plate or inhaling it I had room for dessert

     
    Homemade chocolate pie - YUMMMMY
     
    Now in my mind I was channeling my inner CTD or BB, but my stomach and mind was going NAP TIME, but there were still 3 slugburgers out there calling my name.  A 20 minute drive later and I arrived at my next adventure.
     
    NeSmith's Hamburgers
    14396 Court St
    Moulton, AL
    256.974.9806
     
    M to F 10am to 4pm
     
    Oldest hamburger joint in Moulton, opened in 1966.
    Ms Helen NeSmith still runs the place and greets everyone as they come in the door.
     
       
    Now "Jumbo Burger" is a misnomer like "jumbo shrimp" so if you are thinking 1/3 or 1/2 pounder go elsewhere.
     
    The local denizens chowing down

     
     
      The grill

     
    Here is the subject of our adventure
         
    This place cries out small town cafe, 6 stools, and two tables.  Food prep right in front of the counter, the front door constantly opening and closing with incoming and outgoing customers.
     
    The overall mixture needed salt and pepper, but was good none the less
     
    Here is the scoresheet
     
    Restaurant Overall Appearance                         7
    Service                                                            9
    Selection                                                         7
    Food Appearance                                            7
    Food Taste     (double)                                    6.5
    Fries / Onion Rings (nope chips only)               5
    Drink                                                              10
    Dessert                                                          6
    Overall Value                                                  7
     
    Subtotal                                                         71
     
    Roadfood Bonus                                             7
     
    Total                                                            78 / 110 
     
    I wanted to like it more but chips only, bland meat misture, little debbie pies for dessert  
     
    I was starting to hit a wall and was really thankful that the next stop was  about 30 minute drive away, chance for ALL my lunches to settle.
     
    Busy Bee Cafe
    101 5th Street
    Cullman, AL
    256.734.9958
     
    M to F 6am - 2pm
    Sa 6am to 9pm
     
    www.busybeecafealabama.com
     
    Orignally established in 1919, it is Cullman's oldest restaurant.  Milford Ford opened the place and was originally called Ford's Cafe, but the sign for the business had a bee hive in a tree and the locals all called the place the "Busy Bee" and the name stuck. 
     
    The Spears family owns the place (since 1967)  Kyle Spears was manning the grill when I came in.
     
    The original building was destroyed by fire in 2011 and this building was built in it's place.  While the old building probably had the small town charm, this place was rocking.
     

     
    Their menu was full wonderful choices and even the "Atomic Hellfire Burger" which sounded painful and would be EXTREMELY painful the next day.
    The menu:
         
       
    Here is the drink menu:
     
       
     
    So what to order???
     
    Fresh Fried Potato Chips
    Busy Bee Burger
       
    Busy Bee Hand Dipped Corn Dog
       
    For dessert fried pie
     
    Inside dessert

     
    Once again I must say, SMALL TOWN CAFES should LOSE their microwaves.  The pie would have been wonderful, but DING DING the microwave went off and out comes the microwaved pie :-(
     
    Overall this place was awesome, best food of the day (except BBG)
     
    Here is the score sheet
     
    ROA                                                      10
    Service                                                   9
    Selection                                                 9
    Food Appearance                                    9
    Food Taste                 (Double)                8
    Fries / Onion Rings                                   10
    Drink                                                       9
    Dessert                                                   8
    Overall Value                                           8
     
    Subtotal                                                 88
     
    Roadfood Bonus                                     9
     
    Total                                                     97 / 110
     
    WINNER WINNER ATOMIC HELLFIRE BURGER
     
    The last stop of the day was a little place in Hartselle, AL
     
    Willie Burgers
    205 Main St
    Hartselle, AL
    256.773.0112
     
    At this point I was running on empty and the photos and report suffered for it.
     
    Outside Willie Burgers
       
    Once again, small town cafe, bright and efficient.  Friendly service, the menu was identical to many of the other places.
     
    I got the cheeseburger and onion rings
       
    The taste was very similar, crunchy exterior with a creamy interior, there was just enough salt and pepper in the mixture to make it flavorful
     
    Scoresheet
     
    ROA                  9
    Service              8
    Selection           8
    Appearance       7
    Taste      (x2)    7
    fries / onion       8
    Drink                 8
    Dessert             6
    Value                 8
     
    Sub                  76
     
    roadfood bonus  8
     
    Total                  84
     
     
    After this stop I crawled back into the car and heaed north back to Lebanon.  It has been 24 hours and I still havent eaten anything.
     
    The highlights of the adventure
     
    CF Penn
    Busy Bee Cafe
     
    Lowlights
     
    NeSmith's (although Ms Helen was a treat)
    Dub's grumpy old servers 
     
    #14
    Pancho
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 17:13:05 (permalink)
    "Starting to hit a wall"....THAT has to be about the best quote I've ever read on here. I got bloated just reading about the slugs AND bbq. You sir, are a true champion.
    #15
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 18:57:25 (permalink)
    A little sauce & cheese would make it a Chuck wagon Parmigiana.
    #16
    joerogo
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 19:53:31 (permalink)
    Hey joerogo, I'm doing a slugburger tour!
     
    Hey CK.........WHY? 
     
    EDIT: Love the rating system!
    post edited by joerogo - 2013/11/05 19:54:32
    #17
    CajunKing
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/05 22:50:44 (permalink)
    Joe -
     
    I have been keeping track of everything in my.....
     

     
    Here is the score sheet I came up with (on word file)
    Page #1
    Name - Address - History....
     
    Page #2
    Food Ordered - Score...
     
    I was trying to make it so I would be comparing these equally, with a good foundation to make things fair for all
    #18
    HollyDolly
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 08:06:06 (permalink)
    Never heard of a slugburger.At first I thought you found a REAL slug on your burger. My dad used to make something similar. He would saute some chopped up onions and celery.Then he would take an egg,and soak a slice of torn up bread in the egg to get soft. Then he added the onion and celery and hamburger meat.Mix it up good with a fork and form it into patties.Then he would just fry them in a pan.NO deep frying, just in the pan .
    They would come out with acrunchy crust. I guess you could say it was like you made a meatloaf, but formed it into a patty and fried it instead of putting it in the oven. Daddy said it was a recipe of his mother.It must have been a way my grandmother used to extend meat back during the Great Depression,so the recipe had to be over 40 or more years old.And that is what this burger may have started out as,even for cafes and homemakers back then.It was a way to make hamburger meat go farther.
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 08:20:45 (permalink)
    CK-
    This is just tremendous the way you are documenting a food that most people have never heard of until this thread.  By the time you are through, you may end up the world's foremost expert on slugburgers!  Very much looking forward to future installments. 
    #20
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 08:48:26 (permalink)
    CajunKing

    At this point I was running on empty and the photos and report suffered for it.
    An ironic choice of words, as you were anything but by now.
     
    This has been a very informative report.  If I'm ever in this part of the country and thinking about a hamburger, hopefully I'll remember it!
    #21
    agnesrob
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 17:05:50 (permalink)
    Fun report CK! Thanks for posting it!
    #22
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 18:10:14 (permalink)
    What, no chicken with White Sauce at Big Bob Gibson's?  Gotta say, I'm a little disappointed.
     
    Other than that, looks like a lot of fun.  Nice report.
     
    Buddy
    #23
    Louis
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 21:24:47 (permalink)
    I am enjoying this.  I had never heard of a slugburger.  I keep wondering if I've eaten it before under another name but didn't know it.
     
    #24
    CajunKing
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 22:25:56 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse

    What, no chicken with White Sauce at Big Bob Gibson's?  Gotta say, I'm a little disappointed.

    Other than that, looks like a lot of fun.  Nice report.

    Buddy


    Budreaux - I really want to like the white sauce, but I find it best to dip their hush puppies in.  The sauce I got a sample of was not their normal Hab sauce, this was something that a certain pitmaster is working on, for a new flavor profile for their sauce line.  Don't know what all was in it, but OMG was it good, and fit pork, turkey, beef and probably chicken too (didnt have any to sample)
    #25
    CajunKing
    Sirloin
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    Re:Waitress Excuse Me but There is a SLUG In My Burger (Alabamee style) 2013/11/06 22:29:02 (permalink)
    Louis - Slugburger - Dough Burger - Week's Burger - Dubs Burger - Breaded Burger - Bread Burger are the most common names for them.
     
    Slugburger has become the more popular name during the depression days when a "real" hamburger cost you a dime and a slugburger only cost you a nickel. (slug)
     
     
    #26
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