Ventured to Roy’s Big Burger today. I saw some thing on public TV not too long ago about the place and was intrigued. So much so, I got in my car and tried to find it the next day. (That was about two weeks ago). After getting a little lost, which is shockingly easy to do even when the place is just 10 minutes away, I found it. It looked exactly like what I expected — a little shack of a place with a line of folks out front waiting for some grub. However, I had no cash and didn’t want to venture up without any for fear it may not be a debit card taking kind of establishment.

So, on Wednesday I made my way back there. This time, it was easy to find. However, once again, I didn’t have any cash. Being unemployed has taught me that keeping cash on me is a bad idea because it gives me the ability to spend it easily.

This place is supposed to be one of the landmark joints in the Richmond area to get a cheap bit to eat. So, naturally, I’m a bit excited.

I get to Lakeside Ave., where the place is and I’m glad to see a bank across the street. It’s, obviously, a BB&T, so I’m thinking I’ll have to spend the extra $2 for a service fee. Oh, the perils of modern life. Luckily, before I turn in, I spot a Bank of America just down the road! Ahhh…the simple pleasures of modern life.

After getting my cash, I pull into the parking lot. There are lots of people sitting in their cars, reading newspapers (gasp!) and such. A couple of ladies sat at one of the five (there used to be six, but one is falling apart) concrete picnic tables located in a yard behind the place. The house in which these tables sit, appears to be abandoned. Such a shame. Or maybe the folks couldn’t deal with the flies. Here, there are more flies than folk. But I’m here at 1:30 p.m., so I definitely missed the lunch rush that I witnessed on my last drive-by.

I wander up to the front order window, glance at the menu and make my order — cheeseburger, fries and a small mountain dew. It costs me $6.40. The lady behind the greasy window writes my order down on a notebook. That’s cool. But the price was a little more than I expected after hearing how it was a “cheap” joint, where you got a great meal for the buck. Well, I’ll reserve that judgment until I receive my food. I wait about five minutes with seven or eight other souls — mostly older men — to get my order. I wonder how many are regulars, and whether I stand out? But, that’s the way my mind works.

You do get to watch the ladies inside prepare your meal. And the meals of all others in the kitchen. I watch the burgers being made, and much to my dismay (and own stupidity) they all are slathered with onions — chopped onions. That’s the one thing I can’t stand on a burger. But, I should have watched and observed the natives before ordering, so I only have myself to blame. And hey, I can scrape them off.

I get my order — in a nice brown paper sack — and head back to my car.

Here’s my meal:

xxxxx PHOTO HERE xxxx

Now, to the food…as you can see, the burger isn’t anything special looking. Neither are the fries. It’s a good road-side burger joint burger. It wasn’t burnt. It was juicy. It was better than a McDonald’s or Burger King one. Not better than Andy’s. And it was bigger than one you’ll get at a baseball game.

But…it lacked that special or original flavor that would set it apart from the average roadside joint. There was no special sauce. Nothing rocking about it. But maybe that’s the appeal? It’s just a working man’s burger. No frills. Just meal, cheese and some veggies? It also came with mustard and ketchup. More heavy on the mustard. The fries are the short, thick variety. A little soggy. Not salty.

Overall, I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10. The atmosphere certainly raised that number a little as I love hole in the wall places that have been around forever. Plus, being able to watch the two older ladies eat, which dozens of flies swarmed their faces and their food was priceless. Yet they stuck it out at the picnic table, not ever thinking of getting back in their car. My car, by the way ended up with two flies in it — i shooed one out, but the other was cantankerous and stuck around.

If I lived in the neighborhood behind the joint, I’d probably defend the place and its honor to the death. That’s the way you do with your neighborhood…

So, do I recommend? Certainly. I’d love to try some of the other menu items, and maybe strike up a conversation at the order window next time…