Sun, April 21, 2024

Business Lunch Review: Gary’s Hamburgers

Editor’s Note:
Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Thursday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad, and tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”.

Food Quality: 5
Service: 4
Business Meeting: 3
Value: 4

Average Score: 4.0 of 5

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Today, I get to share one of my favorite lunches in Augusta. While it’s likely not the best spot for business, it’s delicious, local and one of the most consistently good places in town. It might not be one of the eateries that our town is known for, but a meal at Gary’s Hamburgers is just one of those Augusta traditions in which you need to partake.

Gary’s has three locations around town, after the pandemic shuttered the doors of the fourth. And while most local chains have certain locations I shy away from, I love that whichever Gary’s I choose, I know what I’ll be getting.

On this particular day, I needed my dad to give me a ride to the mechanic in North Augusta, so he was my lunch companion at the Georgia Avenue location.

In addition to the namesake hamburgers, Gary’s also has delicious hand-breaded chicken tenders.

While hamburgers are literally in the name of the restaurant, it’s generally the chicken tenders that bring me to Gary’s. They are fresh and hand-breaded, with a homemade honey mustard sauce that makes me want to lick the container clean. With a picky wife and 4-year-old twins, I could write a weekly column about chicken tenders, and I’m not sure you will find any better than at Gary’s.

Of course we needed to try the hamburgers as well, so luckily that’s what my dad was in the mood for. He ordered just the quarter-pound burger. It came fully loaded and he says it was delicious. The burgers are freshly made in the store, so you don’t have to worry about the aftermath of a three-times-frozen patty hitting their grill.

Gary’s hamburgers are made fresh and come fully loaded.

Another thing I enjoy about Gary’s is it seems to bring almost everyone from the area to the table. From college students to retirees, blue-collar construction crews to medical professionals, you will see a real cross-section of the city enjoying this local diner almost any day you visit at lunch.

Because the food is fresh and they don’t have the systems in place of chain restaurants, Gary’s can take a few minutes to get the food out to you. It’s especially noticeable if you’re using the drive-through.

And while it’s easy to grab a meal for around 10 bucks, sometimes it feels like the prices are on the higher end for a burger joint. It’s also not a great place for a business meeting as it has counter service and is often crowded and noisy.

The final ding is that I know they are often struggling to find employees, and were even before the pandemic made the problem much worse. So while some of the staff are great and you will consistently see them at their locations, others seems not quite as friendly and not terribly suited to food service.

However, the little problems don’t change the fact that this is one of my favorite spots in town to grab a quick and consistently delicious lunch. And while chicken isn’t in the name, don’t sleep on the fried tenders at this burger house.

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