Checkers Renews My Faith In Fast Food Hamburgers

It’s a rare day that I venture into any mainstream fast food restaurant in the city, because why eat a Big Mac when I can have free reign over the fixin’s bar at Maoz or a banh mi from Baoguette? After passing by the Checkers on Chambers St. (btw. Broadway & Church) one too many times, I finally decided to get lunch from there and eat in the nearby City Hall Park. I stuck with the basics at this somewhat shiny new place, and I was not disappointed. Industrial beef patties after the jump! 

You have to look a little hard to spot Checkers, as its signage is somewhat obscured by scaffolding. It’s the only location in much of Manhattan (there’s also one in Brooklyn), and it’s done up inside in red, black and white. Apparently it also goes by the name Rally’s in other parts of the country.

The menu is fairly lengthy and includes not only burgers, but chicken and fish sandwiches, chicken wings and melts. They, of course, have fries and also something called loaded fries that are covered in bacon, ranch and cheese. Since I wanted to stay awake at work for the rest of the day, I passed that up. I think that would pretty much provide an entire lunch, and is a steal at $2.99. (Anyone tried this concoction?)

Instead of eating fries for lunch, I went with the “burger, fries and cola” combo ($5.99 for a medium) that is in the company’s slogan. Seriously, that’s its entire slogan. My co-lunch’er went with a cheeseburger for comparison (see above). They were both quarter pounders, I believe.

We both went with the works, which included lettuce, tomato, red onion, ketchup, mustard and mayo.

When I bit into it, I was immediately transported back to the time before I ate burgers from Shake Shack made from fancy beef. It was really tasty for a fast food burger, meaning it wasn’t all dried out and fossil-like. The cheeseburger only differed in the slice of yellow, “delicious processed cheese” on it, as my co-lunch’er said.

The fries were an interesting specimen. I’m sure there are some haters out there as they are battered with some sort of spice in it, kind of like the Burger King fries but less soggy and with flavor. I kind of liked them, but only in small doses.

Checkers has several potential gut bombs on the menu with names like the Big Buford, a triple cheeseburger, Baconzilla and Deep Sea Double (two fried fish fillets with cheese in between). Oh, and did I mention you can get two apple pies for $1?

The wings seem to be a marquee item for the chain, so I may venture back to try some as I’m a sucker for chicken with weird sauces like garlic parmesan or Asian kick. We’ll have to see if this place loses all its clientele once that Five Guys opens nearby on Fulton St. in a couple of months.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • They offer a surprisingly decent fast-food burger.
  • It’s a glutton’s paradise with loaded fries, chili-cheese hot dogs and double stacked fish sandwiches.
  • The value menu is surprising in that you can get a shake or two apple pies for $1.

THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I don’t care what you say, it’s still fast food.
  • What’s up with the batter on the fries?
  • It’s OK for now, but I’m holding out for the Five Guys opening downtown.

Checkers, 77 Chambers St. (btw. Broadway & Church streets), (212) 587-8888



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