What started so promisingly, ended with disappointment.
Knowing it served hamburgers, ribs, dirty fries, SuperSundaes, American breakfasts, triple decker sandwiches and so much more, we entered 81 Hamburger Heaven knowing we were skipping starters, going in big on the burgers and making sure we sampled the desserts.
Located on the A45, near Grange Park, this funky diner looks like it is straight out the US. Stacked from floor to ceiling with American memorabilia, its vibe is amazing. The walls look great, but menu is probably too vast, with too many options, and the service was very slow.
Upon entering the venue, you ring a bell and someone comes out to greet you before taking you to a table, the majority of which are booths, so they are nice and comfy with a lot of privacy. We were asked for a drinks order straight away, although these were not on the main food menu, and we were not informed where the drinks list was. Once found, we opted for two milkshakes to match the setting and, in fairness, these were lovely.
After spending a long time looking through the food menu we finally decided, then changed our minds, then returned to our original choices.
Given we were both firmly set on a burger, we had 36 to choose from. We finally ordered our Hell’s Kitchen and Schwarzenegger burgers. These were both intended to be complemented with fries and choice of sides; we both went with the coleslaw but had different fries toppings. Known as wet fries, we had a good selection of toppings, but thankfully not as many as on the burger list. We opted for the cheese and hickory barbecue toppings, but in hindsight we should have both had the cheese.
When the burgers arrived, they looked amazing. They matched exactly to what we wanted, a big dirty burger with loads of toppings, plenty of fries and a good chunk of coleslaw. The topping cheese over the fries was lovely but the hickory barbecue was disappointing, it was effectively barbecue sauce from a pot. That being said, the burgers were full of flavour and we struggled to finish them. We only opted for the 8oz burger, but those with bigger appetites could have taken on the 16oz version!
Unfortunately, this is where things went south. Our empty plates sat on our table for around 15 minutes, which didn’t feel particularly necessary as the diner wasn’t at capacity. I may be the only one, but when I have finished eating, I do not want a dirty empty plate left in front of me. Eventually, they were cleared, but we were not asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu and we had been restrained enough to leave a small amount of space for this.
After another five or 10 minutes we eventually got someone’s attention and asked for a dessert menu to look through. Another 10 minutes went past and at this point, enough was enough, and we asked for the bill so we could leave.
We picked 81 Hamburger Heaven as it was somewhere different and maybe would be a great place for our readers to visit with younger family members, as it isn’t expensive and there is lots to look at but, given the poor service and slow timings, we would definitely think twice.
If you have the time and are not in a rush then it may be worth a visit but I would imagine if the venue was busier or you’re in a bigger group, the service may match what we experienced and you may leave disappointed.
This was a real shame as the food was good but having to wait and not get our desserts after choosing what we’d like left us feeling rather underwhelmed.
This visit was booked anonymously and the food and drink was paid for by the writer.