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Burgers from Burly's; fast and cheap at Tokyo Grill.


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Burly's Burgers Fries & Shakes is just that: 100 percent Black Angus beef burgers, French fries, and hand-scooped milkshakes. In this small, stripped-down burger joint on Madison, there are no frills, no salads, and no chicken. (Burly's motto: "Where the chickens are always safe.")

Owner Johnny Walker, a former engineer, says he just wanted to serve burgers the way he likes them. Burly's beef is delivered fresh every day and mixed with an old, family-secret seasoning rub. "My grandfather, who just passed away, was 99, and it was his great grandmother's recipe," Walker says. "It was used to season steaks."

Now Walker mixes it into his ground beef. He then uses a flattop to cook the burgers. Unlike charbroiled burgers, flat-top burgers cook as they would in a skillet — the grease doesn't drip off.

The Burly Burger is a basic cheeseburger; the Burly Heat Burger comes with spicy mustard, pepper jack, and jalapenos; the Burly Texas comes with salsa, chili, and jalapenos; the Farm Burger is topped with a fried egg; and the Bacon Bacon Burger comes with double bacon, mayo, lettuce, and cheese.

Each patty is cooked to order, so expect to wait for your meal. Still, Walker says, they start to press some of the patties in advance of the lunch rush. "My goal is — without jeopardizing quality — to cater to those people who don't have an hour for lunch."

They also serve specialty fries — garlic, buffalo, BBQ, chili cheese, and sweet chili — and old-fashioned milkshakes made from ice cream without any syrups or shake bases. Naturally, Burly's also has its own competition burger for the brave, burger-loving fools among us: a four-pound Burly Burger and a pound of fries, to be finished in 30 minutes.

If you aren't looking to break any records, Burly's is a place to get your basic burger meal. Walker describes his ideal burger as "something that when you bite into it, it takes you back, something that you want to eat every day even though you know you can't."

Burly's is open from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. They deliver to most of Midtown and downtown. Prices range from $6.50 to $8.50 for a burger and $8.50 to $10.75 for a combo.

Burly's Burgers Fries & Shakes, 662 Madison (521-9200)

Fast, cheap, and tasty Japanese food is the goal at Tokyo Grill, now open on Park near Mount Moriah. The small corner space next to Steak-Out offers all the basics of an upscale-casual Japanese restaurant but faster and for half the price.

Hibachi dishes run from $5.95 for vegetables to $8.95 for salmon, steak, or scallops (the lobster tail is $24.95). Fried rice and udon dishes round out an uncomplicated entrée menu, but Tokyo Grill also offers a number of appetizers and soups — from kimchee salad, seaweed salad, and miso soup to scallion pancakes, gyoza, tempura, barbecued squid, and deep-fried tofu. They also boast an extensive sushi menu and a small sushi bar for those dining in.

There is a nice seating area for a sit-down lunch or dinner, but take-out is equally convenient. Tokyo Grill is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Tokyo Grill, 4978 Park (761-7888)

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