CJ's

Sophomore Caroline Thornell takes a bite of a CJ's burger Feb. 5 while at lunch with friends.

 

 

Usually, you would not be able to see your burger being ground up in front of you, or your fries laid out before they were fried. At CJ’s Butcher Boy Burgers though, their transparency in food-making processes sets them apart from other burger joints.

CJ’s is a family-owned restaurant that started about two hours south, in Russellville. A second location opened Dec. 28, 2019 at 3484 W. Wedington Dr., in Cross Church’s former building next to Slim’s Chicken.

The restaurant takes pride in its cooked-to-order burgers, fresh-cut fries, milkshakes and malts, according to its website.

The environment at CJ’s has an old-fashioned diner vibe, with its interior design resembling a diner from the ‘50s, with its red and white checkered wallpaper, red light fixtures and red leather chairs.

To the right of where customers place their order, there is a large glass window where employees can be seen grinding the meat for the burgers. Customers can see meat and other add-ons such as cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and onions displayed in a deli case up that is kept to the left of the front counter.

The menu at CJ’s has four simple choices. The first two options are combos, including choices of a 1/3 pound burger or a 2/3 pound burger with fries and a drink. The last two menu options are burger-only choices between 1/3 or 2/3 pound burgers. People can additionally purchase cheese, bacon, jalapenos, grilled onions and grilled mushrooms as add-ons for an extra charge ranging from 29 cents for jalapenos to 99 cents for bacon.

However, be sure to read the menu on these prices first as employees will ask for any add-ons without mention of the extra cost.

A kid’s menu is provided for those 12 and under. This menu includes a choice of either burger or grilled cheese along with fries and a drink, and is a generous size for the price you pay.

Nothing on CJ’s menu is over $10.50, this price including the largest burger size, fries and a drink. This is a good deal for the quality and amount of food customers can get.

Compared to Hugo’s, one of my favorite burger places, CJ’s falls in a different category. Where Hugo’s is a more formal, sit-down dinner environment, CJ’s is a fast food restaurant, according to CJ’s Facebook page.  

However, compared to other fast-food burger joints such as Freddy’s or McDonald’s, CJ’s excels in class.

The wait is reasonable, especially for food made fresh to order. I and two friends who came with me, ordered a 1/3 pound burger combo, a kid’s meal with a burger option and a side of large fries with ranch. The food comes out looking appetizing because of its clean presentation on a red and white checkered deli paper inside of a paper tray and mouth-watering smell.

The hamburger meat is juicy, well-seasoned and truly cooked to perfection. The hamburger bun is basic. As a whole, the burger is good. The flavors of the savory hamburger meat combine well with the fresh add-ons and the simplicity of the hamburger bun.  I would even go as far as to say that CJ’s has the best burger in town.

In comparison to Hugo’s hamburger patty, CJ’s patty is much thinner, which in my opinion makes the patty better because I prefer the ratio of meat to bread that comes with a thinner patty, and I like that there is more room for different add-ons.

Its fresh-cut fries are golden brown and crispy, but lacking in saltiness. However, the exceptionally delicious homemade ranch dressing makes up for the lack of flavor in the fries.

A large side of fries costs $2.50, a great price for the quality and amount of fries, especially compared to other fast-food restaurants like McDonald's, Burger King or Freddy’s.

CJ’s serves Pepsi products as well as two other fountain options that are unique flavors of cream soda, including Stubborn Soda’s agave vanilla cream soda and pineapple cream soda.

On top of having great food, employees at CJ’s are nice and helpful when deciding on what to order. The manager even came and checked on my table a few minutes into our meal.

CJ’s has a website or app where patrons are able to place their orders in advance for a shorter wait time when they get to the restaurant.

The atmosphere, kind staff, wait time, presentation and great food make for a great experience at this restaurant. CJ’s Butcher Boy Burgers is a highly recommended place for a filling, enjoyable and quick bite.

 

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