If you haven’t heard by now Top Chef contestant Spike has finally opened up his Good Stuff Eatery at 3rd and Penn Ave on Cap. Hill. Last night, I went and checked it out. First impression: Holy Crap! There’s a line!
The line is probably a temporary phenomena. Spike’s self-promotion skills were always as great as his cooking skills (maybe better). The hype for this restaurant was pretty steady leading up to the opening. Even the buns [“buttery soft,” “freshly baked Pennsylvania Dutch”) were hyped and you could find them at Safeway. If you stood in line, you were there for more than just a burger.
Spike’s Dad tried to make things go down easier. As we reached the front of the line, he greeted us and fellow Top Chef nerds with menus and some happy patter. But as he wound up to give his rap explaining the menu, a woman, middle-aged with short dark hair, interrupted him. She told him she didn’t want to hear his menu hype, she didn’t need it. He waved her off muttering something about everyone being too serious, that he had enough of serious in his life. Right on!
But the woman wasn’t having it. She looked at Spike’s Dad all serious and called him an “asshole.”
Once inside, there was another line. But we fan’s could soak up the time by watching such exciting things as burgers being fried, lettuce being put on buns, “Good Stuff Sauce” being applied to buns, and Spike himself showering fries with Rosemary. Yeah, he wore a hat.
Second impression: The place and the menu had the design of Chipotle only with way better piped-in music (vintage reggae). Second impression: Staff did a remarkable job considering the line. Third impression: Jeez, fried burgers, that’s the big deal?
We ordered: a “Vegetarians Are People Too ‘Shroom Burger” ($6.89), a Good Stuff Melt ($6.89), a Toasted Marshmallow handspun shake ($5.25), a Cherry Coke ($1.89), and Spike’s Village Fries ($3.79). Our total: $26. The infused mayo—which we took but forgot to use—was free.
The Verdict: The mushroom burger was damn good as were the fries (if a little soggy from sitting in a bag). The shake had just the right amount of thickness; it was actually perfect. The two toasted marshmallows floating on top held up pretty well considering. My dinner date tried the burger. Her verdict: “Well, it’s better than a burger at Stetson’s.”
The Final, Final Verdict: I can’t believe Spike convinced us to spend $26 on fast food. As we left—around 9 p.m., the line outside was still a good 15 people deep.