Mystery Diner: Adventure beckons at HB Jones in Elmhurst
My research into the Elmhurst restaurant called HB Jones, aka Hamburger Jones, started last month. Normally, I rarely research an unfamiliar restaurant beforehand, other than to see if there's a dress code, but the stories surrounding HB Jones and its menu are as entertaining as the eatery itself.
A backstory has been created around the adventures of fictional character Horatio B. Jones. One tale has him descending Mount Everest until his expedition is snowed in, and then credits his "unyielding hunger for his favorite food" for inspiring his trek to safety. Back at base camp, he was rewarded with a burger of "Everest proportions."
For my adventure, I checked the online menu and went to the burger section where I saw the "Jones Climbs Everest" burger – three 10-ounce patties, cheeses and an array of toppings, accompanied by fries. This was the burger waiting for Jones after he returned, and if I finished one, I would get my name on the wall and a T-shirt.
At that moment, it became my goal to consume that burger and make the metaphorical climb.
As I walked in with hunger on my side, the first thing I noticed was the atypical setting. The restaurant features a greenhouse-style section, where light floods through walls of windows to turn the expansive dining area into a creatively inviting space. The restaurant is replete with big screen TVs and colorful decor touches.
As staff escorted us to a table, I started having second thoughts about my contemplated burger challenge, when I saw the copious amounts of food others were enjoying.
It wasn't just the burgers, but the sandwiches, too, that were generous in size, ranging from the Cajun chicken sandwich to skirt steak and a classic BLT. More than 20 sauces provide tantalizing options to shake up flavor profiles.
Beyond meat-dominated dishes including ribs, the restaurant has a variety of choices, such as a salad bar, complemented by an array of craft beer and draft options. The connecting pub room whips up cocktails and milkshakes. One almost gave me brain freeze, because I couldn't put down the rich vanilla concoction.
After the last slurp, I knew I wouldn't make the summit of Everest on this visit – mostly because I couldn't pass up an appetizer and shake. For added decadence, the menu also highlights shakes fortified with rum. I started with the zesty chicken strip appetizer, and then ordered the "Country Road to a Coronary" burger, a tasty melding of melted cheddar and juicy beef amped up by the creamy yolk of a sunny-side-up egg. I couldn't resist picking mac and cheese as a satisfying side dish, which helped push the summit just out of reach.
Meanwhile, my mom worked on her British burger, named for criss-crossed bacon strips meant to resemble the Union Jack flag, and commented that the meat was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of bacon. We finished off the meal with a piece of killer chocolate cake.
The enthusiastic friendliness of the staff and the warm atmosphere make it a fun destination.
Not only do I suggest you check out HB Jones for the addictive comfort food, I vow to return by this summer to try for the Everest burger, and claim that T-shirt and my name on the wall as "Mr. E. Dyner" with all the glory that goes with it.
I could also go for another milkshake. The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Suburban Life Media. The diner's identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. Only positive dining experiences will result in published reviews.
(To view the Mystery Diner's photos taken at HB Jones, go to http://shawurl.com/150d