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CJ’s Butcher Boy Burgers in Russellville is my kind of place—one thriving on simplicity with a tiny menu consisting of burgers, fries, and shakes, all prepared right behind the counter for all the world to see. That’s it. Nothing more.
I mean, what’s not to love, unless you’re a vegetarian?
As most folks already know, CJ’s is related to the ever-popular David’s Burgers, a local chain that is slowly expanding its burger dominance throughout Central Arkansas. Both share similar menus, white-tiled, red-tabled interiors, and an overall similar concept based on the aforementioned straightforward menu items composed with quality, well-executed ingredients.
House-ground chuck shoulder is the star of the show. It is formed into balls and stored in the chilled case at the front of the restaurant. The balls of beef eventually make their way onto the flat top, given a good smash job (which I imagine is quite therapeutic for the attendant), flipped, seasoned, and topped with cheese of choice. Go with American. The process is completed within a few minutes, but just in case you are a little impatient, there is a sign above the counter that reminds you “Patience: Real Burgers Take Time.”
The result is a local version of a fast food-style burger that costs a couple of bucks more than the national chain restaurants. But it’s well worth the extra investment. What makes these patties better than most is the crusty exterior, a product of an experienced attendant who has mastered the ways of a searingly hot flat top. I recommend dressing each patty with some grilled onions, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. Those grilled mushrooms wouldn’t be bad either.
Not to be overlooked, the fresh-cut fries have a hearty potato interior and practically beg to be dipped into CJ’s “fry sauce,” an addictive concoction of ranch with a subtle punch of heat, which I am assuming comes from cayenne pepper. Dipping one of the fries into a vanilla shake is probably pure bliss, although, admittedly, I forgot to commit this joyous act. Chalk it up to inexperience and a lack of focus due to a desire to get back onto the road for the long drive ahead. No worries, it just gives me something to shoot for next time around. And there will definitely be a next time. CJ’s close proximity to Interstate 40, along with fast turnaround times on food prep, means this restaurant is the perfect stop to and from visits to Northwest Arkansas or Oklahoma.
But you already knew that.
Did You Know?
CJ’s menu includes a No.1 (1/3-pound burger combo with fries and drink), No.2 (2/3-pound burger combo with fries and drink), No. 3 (just a 1/3-pound burger), and No. 4 (just a 2/3-pound burger), all ranging from $6.99-$10.99. Toppings of cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and grilled onions all cost extra. Kid’s meals (12 and under) are $7.
CJ’s Butcher Boy Burgers
2803 N Arkansas Ave (Russellville)
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Closed Sunday
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