by Saeed Alkurdi
Burgers are not typically a complex meal. At their core, they’re an everyday kind of meal and as such, it’s easy to assume that they could ever be taken as seriously as a sophisticated or refined dish but you’d be wrong. Take 3 Burgers in downtown Fresno is doing something special with what would otherwise be considered a simple favorite.
First, Take 3 starts with 1/3 pound patties that are enormous and add to it cheese, lettuce, onions, tomato and a plethora of other additions suitable for building the ideal burger. For those who dare to dream, you can customize your burger almost any way you can imagine with avocados, chili, a fried egg, pastrami, an all-beef hot dog… all these and more, if you can handle.
The location of Take 3 is nestled in downtown Fresno inside the Fulton Mall. Because of this, parking poses as a bit of a challenge since most of the area is under construction due to the Fulton Mall Street Project to bring in more traffic to the storefronts and businesses there. Navigating the mall during this time is a little difficult. However, once you’ve stepped inside you can’t help but stand and admire the surroundings. On the walls inside Take 3 are some fantastic black and white murals depicting some of Hollywood’s greatest scenes from famous films. Bruce Lee and Marlon Brando are among the faces of many of the featured performers.
Once I had fully taken in the sights, it was now time to get down to business. Today, I choose to be bold and I order a pretty standard burger with just cheese, lettuce, tomato, and grilled onion. Boring, you say? That might have been true except that I then say “Make it a double.” No strange yet wonderful condiments for me today, no guessing if chili and pastrami go together, oh no, just give me more beef stacked high on that beautiful bun and throw in a chocolate shake on the side.
The shake arrives first and it is gorgeous in its simplicity. It comes in a sizable plastic cup with a rich, thick looking mixture on the inside topped with a chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I take a pull from the straw and it is heavenly, not too thick and a balanced delivery on flavor between the chocolate, sauce, and whipped cream. It will be the perfect finisher to what I hope will be a fantastic burger.
About ten minutes later the burger arrives with a great portion of fries along side it. I bite into the burger and the response is juicy, delicious, and perfectly cooked. Unfortunately, however, I realize that I have made a calculated error during my order. The burger, being a double at a 1/3 pound per patty, is too much beef for me. The cheese, lettuce, and grilled onion are all being drowned out by the robust meaty flavor. Not to worry, all is not lost because Take 3 has a great selection of sauces available to their customers. On the floating shelf behind me are the vast assortment of sauces, from A-1 to Tabasco to Sriracha and back. I crack open a bottle of A-1 and pour a small dab onto my burger for the next bite and the result is fire! The tang of the sauce was exactly what this burger needed in order to cut through all the beef and allow the rest of the condiments to shine as they were meant to. Now, with every subsequent bite, I can appreciate all that this burger has to offer. I should also note that the fries were hot, crispy, and delicious adding great starch to cleanse the palette.
After tackling the mountain of beef that was the burger along with the fries and the tasty chocolate milkshake to boot, I’m ready to retire to my trailer (aka my car) for a quick nap. I’m sure someone will call me when I’m needed on set again.
Saeed is a local ‘foodie’ always on the hunt for the next great find of the Valley’s best-hidden gems. Twitter / Instagram: @kurshjak