Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 9: Gabby's - Mary's Notes

The International Culinary Tourism Association defines a destination restaurant as a "restaurant so interesting, different or special that people travel just to eat there." If sitting in the middle of one of Nashville's last remaining dead zones, within city limits, doesn't automatically qualify a place to claim that distinction, then perhaps Gabby's Burgers & Fries has enough of its own bizarre charm to carry it over the threshold.

Situated a block or few down Chestnut past Greer Stadium, the building that houses Gabby's reminds me of the makeshift cabins my friends and I sometimes fell across while exploring the woods of the Adirondack foothills. A base. Some two-by-fours covered over with the thinnest plywood imaginable. This shack takes it further by slapping a coat of paint on, adding a few tables, and hanging photos of country stars, probably leftovers from the days when the building housed Hap Townes, a legendary meat & three. Higgins and I have written of some places as divey, with cheap wood paneling. What separates these places, as classic burger joints, from Gabby's is that the more typical operation tries to hide the cheap surroundings by dimming the lights. Gabby's waves its freak flag high, in florescent glory.  On with the meat.

Juiciness: 3. Gabby's didn't fare well here. It probably didn't help that it was a five ounce patty, squished thin.

Flavor: 7. In spite of the dryness - and I don't know if it would have made a difference if I'd ordered medium rare, as I wasn't asked how I wanted it - the hand-formed patty was plenty tasty.

Attractiveness: 7. With the small size, the burger did threaten to get smothered in bun but overall it was a nice package. .

Atmosphere: Eeeeesh. Tough call. I'm still not sure if it's so awful it's great, or if it's just plain awful. The people behind the counter are a treat, though, absolutely. Staying neutral. 5.

Digestivity - a little after-burgerness is lingering, but not bad. 8.

Overall experience - 7. This is a place I'd return to, especially if I wanted to avoid certain people. And I would return for a burger at least once, to see if I could get it a little less well-done. 

Gabby's Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

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