Main Location: Events
A very rare Truck to find, this Luther Vandross-honoring establishment only ever seems to appear during Local Fairs. I, myself, experienced them at the Canterbury Food Truck Day. Anxiousness is not uncommon, then, when one learns about this unique truck ahead of time. But as they very rarely come out, it can make the visit very special.
Which is probably for the best, since this isn’t exactly the kind of truck one wants to become addicted to; and believe me, you WILL get addicted.
Eli’s serves two things: Donut Burgers, and Fried Food to go on the side. All the traditional cholesterol-destroying dishes can be found; fried pickles (spears and chips), fried macaroni, fried asparagus, fried potato, really whatever they have for the day.
The burger is a slightly thick (not huge, but not a wimpy-little fast-food knockoff) patty, topped with cheese and, if you want, bacon (oh… you want the bacon). This is then sandwiched between a housemade donut bun sliced in half. It has to be handmade, the donuts look, feel, and taste completely different than donuts found in the store. At the end, the sticky-sweet white sugar glaze is spooned over the top in a thick drizzle.
Wrapped up and served from a tiny window, it’s time to enjoy your life-shortening, heart-cloggening, finger-stickening piece of True Americana (Seriously, what other countries would dare make something like this? Use tons of butter, suuuuuuure… but a donut burger, apparently that’s disgusting).
For those who’ve never had a donut burger, it can sound strange… most may assume any desire to consume one is derived from the simple equation of “fatty + bad for you = people want to eat it.”
… not that it’s not true, of course.
However, in reality, the combination of these two foods is just… sinful genius. The thick, meaty fat of the burger and cheese with the saltiness of the bacon both contrast and are cut by that slick, sticky sweetness of the glaze. They made a perfect donut for it as well; it is a little softer than others, somewhat like a cross between a nice bread slice and that well known krispy kreme texture. The bottom slice soaks up all the burger’s juices, and you end up squishing the top slice down to make this compact, concentrated experience of the best, most unhealthy bacon cheeseburger ever.
The fried items are all good, but their quality seems on the same level as any random bar’s offerings (I have it on good authority they don’t even make the fried mac n cheese, just buy it pre-made and fry), maybe a little better; the pickle chips WERE good. As for the burger, the only thing I could think to make better would be trying to griddle the donut flats for a bit more texture and flavor.
One its own, the burger holds very well. It’s seemingly small, and despite the perceived mess, the only problem is one’s fingers getting sticky from the glaze. However nothing actually falls out. Fried sides are in baskets, but they’ve always been good finger food.
Everything on the menu is only $5; I believe if you want bacon and cheese on the burger it’s only 50cents-$1 extra, well worth it. The only thing of note is that, with the temptation to get a couple different fried foods along with your burger, the overall cost can add up QUICKLY. I, myself, would suggest a burger and something else anyways, so an automatic $10 that is.
Though if you’re doing a fair, one gets into the habit of sharing food often, so an extra $5 for group food is a good deal.
Fried foods come out immediately or almost so; most being fried a bit beforehand and kept warm (I know, it sounds a bit horrifying, like a fast-food franchise’s habits… but at least it’s fried food, can handle it). Considering you almost always have a huge line of people and orders in front of you, they get their burgers out pretty quickly.
The TOE: 10
Taking a hold of our innermost desires and letting us experience something sinful we would never even think of treating to ourselves, good food trucks once again allow us a way to transport to a different experience. Even the healthiest of daily lifestyles will get put on a bench (it can do the horse betting while we get the food) for that one day just so one can eat at this truck.
I mention nostalgia every now and then in my TOE reviewals. Well, sometimes that nostalgia isn’t triggered by a familiar food, but by the FEELING that good food can give you. Eli’s Donut Burgers brings back that sweet, sinful feeling when you know you’re eating something that, simply put, is NOT HEALTHY. Not only don’t you care, but you revel in it, you dance around the sugary-meaty bun, and are filled with the resulting happiness. Allowing us that experience, there are no real points I feel I can take off.
… then again, it could have just been a sugar high.
The only time you’re going to get this is at a Fair, where you no doubt have so many other food stops ahead of you. In which case, this is yet another reason Eli’s is such a perfect stop. Grab yourself a single, non-filling but so-satisfying burger, WITH bacon and cheese, and head to your next stop.
If you’re sharing with a group, grab one or two fried side baskets and a couple extra burgers (you won’t be sharing yours… will have to pry from our cold, fat, sticky fingers).